Just add water: Here’s how to explore 100 Mile House, the land of thousands of lakes

 
Photographer
Rebecca Bollwitt

Just add water: Here’s how to explore 100 Mile House, the land of thousands of lakes

FestivalSeekers and Miss604 want to challenge you this summer to #ExploreCariboo. The Cariboo region is home to an array of vibrant and creative communities like Wells, Quesnel, 100 Mile House, Williams Lake and Horsefly. Explore more, see the links below and #ExploreBC.

While taking in Hot July Nights, stay for the fishing, boating and birding, too

Rebecca Bollwitt (aka Miss604)

The Hot July Nights (July 13-15, 2018) car and bike show is fast-approaching but as you head up or down Highway 97 this season, consider exploring 100 Mile House from a unique angle - from the water. Whether you’re out at the family cabin by the lake, or right in town.

“Green Lake, Canim Lake, Sheridan Lake, no matter where you’re going you can still experience 100 Mile,” said Julie Gilmore after I walked by the world’s largest pair of cross-country skis and entered the South Cariboo Visitor Centre. 100 Mile House is a hot destination for Lower Mainlanders with family cabins on lakes so for my visit, I wanted to find out all about the water.

Check out our FestivalSeekers story on Hot July Nights to learn more about the event.

#ExploreCariboo this summer. Plan your trip to 100 Mile House...

100 Mile House
Photographer
Rebecca Bollwitt

Birders (and anyone else stopping by) can visit the 100 Mile Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary behind the South Cariboo Visitor Info Centre

To start, Julie and I walked out the back door of the visitor centre and started my quest. Right there, between Highway 97 and the 100 Mile Municipal Airport, is 100 Mile Marsh. Developed by the Nature Trust, it’s becoming a hot spot for birders, where you could see 100 different species of waterfowl and migratory birds.

Surrounded by swooping swallows and armed with a pair of binoculars was Lydia De Groot from a local birding club. She joined us and was able to spot warblers, red winged blackbirds, bald eagles, woodpeckers, and loons during our stroll around the marsh’s paved path. Migratory birds like pelicans and sandhill cranes also stop by the marsh from time to time.

100 Mile House
Photographer
Rebecca Bollwitt

Local birder Lydia De Groot spots redwinged blackbirds along the 100 Mile Marsh

“Ravens flap, flap, glide but crows will continuously flap their wings,” Lydia said as we walked the marsh loop, cottonwood and cattail fluff floating in the air like slow-motion snow on a warm spring day. “You can also tell the difference because crows caw and ravens gurgle and mimic.”

Locals around here love their birds, and there have been several guidebooks, publications, and a recent Our Canada magazine feature published about the hobby. Lydia keeps a quick reference book in her pocket to mark down when she has a sighting. “Sometimes you’ll see the same bird reappear on the same day every year.”  We also spotted an otter, to the surprise of the visitor centre team.

Just a few minutes away, and in the heart of downtown 100 Mile House, is Centennial Park. It’s home to playgrounds, fields, tennis courts, picnic amenities, Hot July Nights in July, and the impressive Bridgecreek Falls that you wouldn’t imagine could be found in a park in the town centre. Walk 500 metres down a forested trail from the parking to find them. It’s probably 100 Mile’s best kept secret!

Photographer
Rebecca Bollwitt

“Everyone has a boat on top of their truck,” said Joanne Doddridge, director of Economic Development & Planning for 100 Mile House. She drove me down through the Imperial Ranchettes neighbourhood at Horse Lake to continue my quest for water adventures. “It’s a Cariboo thing!”

Down at the Horse Lake boat launch - just 10 minutes away from Centennial Park -  we met up with the neighbours: A fun group of ladies who just literally paddled over from their backyards to join us for some kayaking. The crew led us down the west side of Horse Lake to where it flows under Highway 97 and into Bridgecreek.

100 Mile House
Photographer
Rebecca Bollwitt

Neighbours from Imperial Ranchettes paddle Horse Lake over to the Bridgecreek outflow. 

Paddling through the cattails, past lily pads, and always looking up at the shore to see if I could spot deer, or a lucky local sitting in their bright red Muskoka chair sipping their morning coffee, as our pack cruised by.

Back at the boat launch, Mark Roseboon of Lone Butte Sporting Goods - who supplied me with my rented kayak - was waiting in his boat to take us fishing.

“There’s a lot of blue on the map,” Mark commented as we bounced east on Horse Lake past impressive log homes (100 Mile House is the Handcrafted Log Home Capital of North America, after all). “There are over 8,000 lakes in the Cariboo. They say you can fish a lake a day and you’ll never fish ‘em all!”

Horse Lake is located along the “Fishing Highway” in the Cariboo, where you’ll find 3,000 of those lakes along Highway 24, between 100 Mile House, Lac de Roche, and Barriere.

100 Mile House
Photographer
Rebecca Bollwitt

Rainbow trout caught (and released) on Horse Lake with Lone Butte Fishing Adventures

Mark spends his days guiding fishing tours, on the hunt for trophy rainbow trout, lake trout, burbot (freshwater lingcod) and Kokanee, which is a landlocked sockeye. You can catch and release, or you can keep it for your supper. “Lake trout is really oily so they are good deep-fried or smoked,” Mark said after he reeled up a little rainbow trout and released it.

We cruised back to the boat launch at Imperial Ranchettes as I took another look at how green and lush everything was along the lake. Lodgepole pines and Douglas firs, rolling hills covered in grass dipping down to meet the lake grass. I think those bright red Muskoka chairs are strategically placed in an esthetically pleasing manner by the residents to make this setting look even more like a painting.

If you’re looking to whet your whistle after a day of enjoying 100 Mile House’s offerings in, on, and around the water, finish up with a pint at a local watering hole: Jackson’s Social Club and Brew House. Enjoy a craft beer and socialize - you may even get a fishing tip or a new recipe for cooking up a fresh-caught trout.

If You Go

Search #ExploreCariboo for more inspiration. Be sure to tag #ExploreCariboo while exploring the region as you could be featured on our social media channels! 

Start planning your adventures in the Cariboo region at the Cariboo Regional District website and South Cariboo Tourism Website.

Start exploring your Cariboo region options with Destination BC.

Learn more about Hot July Nights.

Rebecca Bollwitt is a Seekers' correspondent and award-winning blogger based in Vancouver. Follow her travels on Instagram and Twitter @Miss604.

Community
100 Mile House
Region
Cariboo Chilcotan Coast
Province
British Columbia