Just add water: Here’s how to explore 100 Mile House, the land of thousands of lakes
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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 seeing 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 the lakes. So for this visit, I wanted to find out all about the water activities that draw people here.
Check out our FestivalSeekers story on Hot July Nights to learn more about the event.
Birders (and anyone else stopping by) can visit the 100 Mile Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary behind the South Cariboo Visitor Info Centre.
Walking out the back door of the visitor centre I 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 a hot spot for birders, where you can spot 100 different species of waterfowl and migratory birds.
Surrounded by swooping swallows and armed with a pair of binoculars, Lydia De Groot, of the local birding club, was our guide. She helped us 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.
Local birder Lydia De Groot spots red-winged blackbirds along the 100 Mile Marsh.
“Ravens flap, flap, glide, but crows will continuously flap their wings,” Lydia said. “You can also tell the difference because (a) crows' caw and ravens gurgle and mimic.”
Just a few minutes away, and in the heart of downtown 100 Mile House, is Centennial Park. It has playgrounds, fields, tennis courts, picnic amenities, Hot July Nights in July, and the impressive Bridgecreek Falls that you wouldn’t expect to be found 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!
“Everyone has a boat on top of their truck,” said Joanne Doddridge, director of Economic Development & Planning for 100 Mile House. She drove me 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, 10 minutes away from Centennial Park, we met with the neighbours: A fun group of ladies who had 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.
Neighbours from Imperial Ranchettes paddle Horse Lake to the Bridgecreek.
Paddling through the cattails, past lily pads, I kept 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 we glided by.
Back at the boat launch, Mark Roseboon of Lone Butte Sporting Goods, who rents kayaks, was waiting in his boat to take us fishing.
“There’s a lot of blue on the map,” Mark said 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.
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,” he said after reeling in 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 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 exploring your Cariboo region options with Destination BC.
Rebecca Bollwitt is a Seekers' correspondent and award-winning blogger based in Vancouver. Follow her travels on Instagram and Twitter @Miss604.