RETURN TO MOLY
A Tale of Murphy’s Law
We had 36-hours, five trucks and a lot of ground to cover; a few years back I’d made my first attempt at Molybdenite Lake; a trip that went so spectacularly well, in between the snow and off-camber slippery sections, that I thought let’s try this again! Over the years, I’ve learned it’s important to go back and revisit the challenges that almost stopped your heart.
We headed up the canyon towards the Lytton reaction ferry, our first stop being for the legendary Deroche Beef Jerky! Reaction ferries are living proof that rudimentary functionality is all that is generally required, and it is a quite often a better return on our investment.
It turned out our timing was impeccable, after half of us crossed it was afternoon coffee break for the ferry men, and I had a good chuckle waiting for the others. It was a reminder that life and time work differently here, and you appreciate it differently in these remote locations.
The slower, more picturesque west side of the Fraser canyon provides that “almost home” feeling for me as wild horses greet me through my window, ghosts of decaying structures call my name, and time stops. We reached the Texas Creek forest service road (FSR), turned off, and as we approached the four-kilometre marker I got my first ever, flat tire while wheeling. As we stopped and swapped out my tire, I carefully read the signs speaking about fines for environmental damage and
closures during breeding season.
We continued along the FSR surrounded by pristine mountains, however none of the area seemed familiar. We explored several of the side roads, and in the distance, could see the mountains cascading down into a valley, which I was certain contained Molybdenite Lake. Becoming confused I pulled out the GPS to load fresh batteries, at which point I realized the map chip was now likely floating around in the bottom of the Jeep. Taking the latitude and longitude, and comparing it to the Backroads Mapbook, I realized we were somewhat off.
We headed back taking the correct turn off to Molybdenite Lake, with further adventures in Murphy’s law occurring. Shortly after it became apparent that Adrian did not have 4WD, and was attempting the climb in 2WD, so they attached a tow rope to bring him through the rockier sections. As this comedy of errors was ensuing, another one my tires seemed to be sinking below the low tire pressure that I’d normally suggest on this run. I’ve travelled 150,000 km on dirt roads and never had a single tire issue. But today, I get two flat tires within an hour of each other. As we plugged my tire, the tell tale signs of overheating struck Shaun’s Jeep, so he had to leave it running so the fans would keep working – and it didn’t help that his e-brake wasn’t at its best when parking uphill.
It was late and I made the executive decision to create base camp for the night. It was obvious that continuing to the lake would push our luck to an unsafe level. As I parked the Jeep, I could see that the patch job on my tire was failing.
We started up the fire with the spare wood I carried, as it turns out the chainsaw I was given will need a bit of work before it can be depended on. A few stories were shared around the campfire, as people got to know each other, and then we retired under a perfect star filled sky.
The next morning, we got up to finish the work we needed to continue our trip. Shaun got his drone up and running, however in the attempt to charge the batteries the inverter had shorted out his
Work started on my tire, taking it off its bead so Jody could patch up the sidewall, along with re-plugging the other puncture. We were then back on the trail, heading up a road where even riding as a passenger can raise your anxiety level. Half way up, Jack’s rear track-bar bracket imploded, so Jody secured it by attaching ratchet straps to the various tie points to allow a safe journey.
The rugged areas of BC are breathtaking, with narrow roads, and small slides that increase the off-camber sections; the kind of roads that you can feel decay as you pass.
The road snaked along the mountain side, with the earth’s ore sliding onto the roadway in front of us. To our left we could see the rocks scattering down the steep hillside to the valley floor far below. As much as that makes your heart skip a beat, it is quickly offset by the serenity of an experience that mixes the child in your heart with the adult in your soul.
We slowly made our way to the lake, spots of snow still clinging to the walls of the surrounding mountains. One I called the Spirit of Moly, as it resembled Casper the Ghost. Shaun brought out his drone, smiling like a kid in a candy shop.
I sat on the shore of the lake, my knees up to my chin, arms wrapped around them, feeling at peace; the drone passed over head, zipping along the mountain sides and river, heading out over the lake. It was time to head back. Shaun wanted the tail gunner spot so he could capture some footage to put together a video.
Back at base camp, we swapped out my Jeep’s tire, Jody then tackled the next project; an on-the-trail welding job! Bringing out two batteries from the trucks, they were connected with jumper cables. Adrian had a few welding rods on him and I got a lesson on the science behind welding. Several variations in the set up were made to get the voltage correct, alternating between two and three batteries. After some trial and error, Jody was successful in getting a firm weld on Jack’s bracket.
In the meantime, Jack realized he’d lost his phone where he’d stopped to recheck the ratchet straps. Shaun drove him back up, but over shooting the location, they ran back all the way back to the lake; luckily the phone was found unharmed. We headed into Lillooet, gassed up, grabbing the ice cream required at the end of any good expedition; then it was time to make a bee line for home.
As we neared Lytton, the very familiar big horn sheep were at their five o’clock spot, I pulled over with Shaun to grab a few shots of them. As I entered town, I sighted the waving metal giant, faded by decades of service. He has faithfully greeted me each time I’ve passed, and I realized at that moment where home was; the open road amongst those who refuse to settle for comfort.
For video of the trip please visit www.shotbyaninja.ca
Special Edition 1
The Mistaken Moly.
4x4’s in a row.
0 PSI. Eternal H20.
Off Camber Humps.
The beauty of Moly.