As seen in the July 2008
issue of Outside Magazine.
In the heart of British Columbia just a one-hour flight north of Vancouver and Whistler, is Chilko Lake and the Chilko River. The lake is about 65 km long with a southwest arm stretching almost 10 km to the west. It is one of the largest lakes by volume in the province because of its great depth, and the largest above 1,000 meters in elevation.
The inland equivalent of the many fjords which line the British Columbia coast on the other side of the Coast Mountains, Chilko Lake's glacial valley opens not out onto the ocean, but onto a broad lava plateau that lies inland from the highest section of the main range.
The mountains at the head of Chilko Lake are among the highest in the province, and two broad, deep glacial valleys connect east to the smaller Taseko Lakes which drain northwards parallel to the Chilko River, both of them converging with the Chilcotin River which is a tributary of the Fraser River. The Chilko River contains the longest stretch of commercially navigable white-water rapids anywhere in North America. Tatlayoko Lake lies to the west of Chilko Lake, just one range over, and is part of the Homathko River drainage emptying into Bute Inlet on the Pacific side.
Author Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote the best-selling Eat, Pray, Love eloquently describes the Chilko Region of British Columbia in her article for Travel & Leisure Magazine:
"Chilko Lake, which adjoins the Chilko River, is a rare find. A 55-mile long, 1000-foot deep, clear-as-truth, miracle of glacial run-off, buried deep in the mountains that Americans call the Cascades and Canadians refer to as the Coastal Range. The Lodge at Chilko Lake is the wonderful gateway to this incredible waterway and offers many excursions into the park for sightseeing, hiking, kayaking and wildlife viewing as well as adventures – like rafting, kayaking and fishing – revolving around the Chilko River that runs through it."
Chilko Lake is a rugged and untouched wilderness region with little to no services. Bear-Camp, ROAM Adventures’ version of deluxe-camping or “glamping”, is an upscale waterfront safari-style camp with a “Canadiana twist” built right at the juncture of Chilko Lake and the Chilko River.
A unique and outstanding facility, Bear-Camp is the only private land adjacent the lake and is the ultimate location for world-class hiking, biking, kayaking and fishing -as well as viewing more than 80 grizzly bears who come to feed on 2 million spawning salmon in the front yard.
To say the least, Bear-Camp is a wonderful wilderness escape, away from ringing cell phones, backed up traffic and hectic daily schedules. The serenity of being perched riverside and the majestic B.C. landscape that surrounds it will melt your tension away.
To get here, you must fly in from Vancouver over wilderness that you cannot see the end of-staggering mountain ranges, eternal glaciers, epic pine forests, mythic water-falls, lakes so pale and blue they look like miniature tropical seas. (Stick a toe in, of course, and the temperature will quickly remind you that you're in Canada, not the Caribbean.) The camp can also be accessed by gravel road off Highway 20 between Williams Lake and Bella Coola.