One of the drawbacks of a dammed lake is that you can’t count on things being the same as they were the last time you were there. That’s what Hope residents Jacob and Miranda Cowan found, when they headed to Jones Lake last Friday evening.
The two had planned to camp overnight and watch the Perseid meteor showers. Their plans didn’t match those of BC Hydro, which is storing up water for later use in their Wahleach hydro plant.
“We were going to canoe to the far end and camp on the sandy beach — but the lake was at full pool,” said Miranda, Monday. They switched gears and stayed at the BC Hydro campsite at the north end of the lake.
“When we got there, we saw an empty spot. The people had left it, with the fire still going in the firepit.
“It’s a nice looking campsite, with garbage cans and outhouses. There are maybe 40 camping sites and it’s all free,” she said. “It’s beautiful — but it’s a party spot. I wouldn’t recommend it for families.
“The woman in the site next to us was up to see the meteors, too. We sat by the lake at 10 p.m. and saw a few but the moon was up, so we set our alarm for 2.
“By that time, the moon was down behind the mountains, so we saw quite a few — and lots of small ones that we wouldn’t have seen in town,” said Miranda. “There was still kind of a glow from the moon, though, so it wasn’t as dark as it would have been with a different timing of the moon.
“We actually wore our toques. It was pretty chilly.”
With glaciers at the south end of the lake, the chill is understandable. Still, Miranda said, the lake is warm enough for swimming. “I’d say it’s warmer than Lightning Lake.”
Even if camping with partiers isn’t your thing, Miranda said the lake offers a good day trip for picnicking or boating.
“It took us about an hour and a half to canoe down to the other end of the lake, the last time we were there. I think it’s about seven kilometres. You can’t drive to the end.”
To get to the lake, turn south where Jones Creek intersects the old highway, now called Laidlaw Road.
“A two-wheel-drive could make it up,” figured Miranda, though she recommended a 4×4. “There’s no cross-ditching, because they’re logging up there (Monday to Friday). The first part is quite dry and loose and there’s some exposed rock and lots of potholes.”
The Cowans hiked up Mount Cheam with a group of friends on Sunday and had a clear view of Jones Lake, water still covering their intended campsite. The 60-megawatt Wahleach power station was completed in 1952, including a 4.2 km tunnel through the mountain, to deliver water to the plant near Herrling Island.