22-Aug-2001 -- This was my eighth stop on a 7-day, 3200km confluence hunting trip to the BC interior,
Having just successfully visited 54N 125W, I continued west on Highway 16, through Vanderhoof, towards
Fraser Lake. I turned left off the highway onto Francois Lake Road. The maps showed a road leading off this
road, leading "right to" the confluence, so I was watching for this. Just as Francois Lake Road starts to run
alongside the lake, I saw a gravel private driveway, which I thought might be the road on the maps. I drove a little bit
further along the paved road, then pulled over to check my position with the GPS.
The satellite reception inside the car wasn't great, so I got out to place the GPS on the hood for better
reception. As I was doing this, I heard a noise behind and to the right, and turning to look, saw I was about 15
feet from a bear that was coming out of the woods and down the bank next to the road, on the passenger side
of my car. I quickly got back into the driver's seat, not because this bear appeared to be a threat, but to grab
my video camera. I managed to get a bit of video before the bear went into the bushes on the other side of the
road, but didn't have time to get any still pictures. As this bear disappeared, I saw that another bear was going
across the road a few hundred yards further down the road.
I drove a bit further along beside the lake, but didn't see any more bears. Just around the corner, the road
crosses the Stelako River bridge, where the river starts, as it leaves the lake. I went back to the private
driveway, to see if the owners were home, so I could ask for permission to cross their proerty.
It turned out that the owners, the Houstons, were home, and I was invited into their house to explain what
it was I was doing. There were aware that 54N passed through their property, having recently had some survey
work done to resolve some questions about the bounds of their property. Mr. Houston speculated that the
confluence may be in the lake. While talking about things, I mentioned the bears on the road, and they did warn
me to be on the lookout for bears, as they were around a lot, browsing on the saskatoon berries growing on the
banks above the lake. They had a picture on their wall of the tree shown in picture #4, but this showed a bear
up in the tree. It turns out that a number of years ago, a dog they used to have was outside, and seeing the
bear in the tree, went over to the base of the tree, dropped the stick he was playing with, and stood there
barking, as if to say to the bear "come down and play with me"!
I walked down the short road from the driveway down to the shore of the lake, then went just a little ways
along the shore to where 54N crossed. Mr. Houston was right - the confluence is 157m out in the lake. I placed
my marker flag in the bank, right on 54N, and took some pictures. Just back between there and the end of the
road sits a wooden fisherman, complete with pole. The actual confluence spot is in the picture to the West(#5),
and may also be in the picture of the fisherman, as well as the one of the view from the Houston's driveway.
After going back to tell the Houston's of my findings, and to thank them for their hospitality, I departed at
1:30PM. I now had to decide which way to go - Francois Lake is almost 100km long, and there is another
confluence near the lake, further to the west. Of course, the further west or north I travelled, the longer the
drive back to Vancouver. I had had a good trip so far, but had done a lot of driving, so I decided to head back
towards Vancouver, possibly trying a confluence on 53N.
At 1:45PM I was back at the junction of Francois Lake Road and Highway 16. Prince Rupert is 566km in one
direction, and Prince George is 162km in the other direction. I headed towards Prince George, stopping at the
Forest Service office there at 4PM. There was the possibility of heading East, to try and reach 54N 122W, but
the weather reports kept talking about rain and thudershowers, and the skies looked dark in that direction, so
I decided to continue south. As I was driving, I was feeling tired, so I decided that I was going to stop in
Quesnel, which I reached at 6PM.
I checked into a motel, and once again, the weather forecast was talking about rain for the next day, so I
figured that I would decide in the morning - if the weather was bad, just drive home, or else try and visit