History Photo Gallery for the West Chilcotin
Legends and Lore

Below, middle is a photo of the remains of Pan Phillips' first cabin built in the Chilcotin. For some of the most 'interesting'
reading you will ever do about the West Chilcotin, check out Rich Hobson's three books about himself and the famous,
or according to some locals, the infamous Pan Phillips. Start with the first book, 'Grass Beyond the Mountains' for one
of the best stories going. If you would like some excerpts on these stories, start with Wilderness Adventures Oct 3
of the Wilderness Adventures articles which gives a few little tidbits on what these two men were up to.
Wilderness Adventures Feb 2 , Wilderness Adventures Feb 3 , and Wilderness Adventures Feb 4 continue the story. Just
don't forget to start at the bottom of each web page and work your way to the top according to the dates

so that you get them in order. More than one family has been lured to the Chilcotin because of those books, including
mine! Some of the longest, most brutal, and famous cattle drives in Canadian history had these two men behind them.

"The Freedom Highway" was so named to commemorate Bella Coola's inclusion with the rest of British Columbia by
road - or by two ruts - as most described it.
The government refused to help build an overland route from Bella Coola
to Anahim Lake where Highway 20 continued to Williams Lake. Locals got together with $250, dynamite, equipment and
two years of sheer determination and backbreaking work to build a road up the rock face of mountains in the Coast Range.
On September 26, 1953, the catskinner from Bella Coola touched the blade of his cat to that of the cat driver moving the
last of the boulders out of the way from Anahim Lake above.
It still took 10 hours to drive the 90 miles from the port of
Bella Coola to Anahim Lake but it was enough to convince the government that it could be done, and they took over
road improvements in 1955. It is still an 'interesting' drive and the steepest highway in Canada with an 18% grade.

Some of you, depending on age group, may have read 'Crusoe of Lonesome Lake' in grade school - about a man named
Ralph Edwards who frontiered Lonesome Lake in 1912 and lived in the wilderness for over 40 years. He is credited with
nearly single handedly bringing back the Trumpeter Swan from extinction. The old homestead in which his son still lived
was burned out by the largest forest fire in BC in 2004. His son John has moved back to the valley and will rebuild.


Steve Dowling replaced the old Hudson Bay's property in Anahim Lake with a General Store in 1938. 'Chilcotin - Preserving
Pioneer Memories' carries an exerpt where Steve describes some of the horrendous trips involved in stocking the store.
Steve who was also a rodeo enthusiast along with a few others, was behind the first Anahim Lake Stampede in June 1938,
which is still an annual event and well known in its own right. Mclean's Trading (shown below) operated by John Mclean has said he would be more than happy to
answer questions about the area and some of its history and help visitors out with directions if you would like to call (250) 742-3266. The area has a long, colorful history that can only be touched on here.
Holding your mouse over each image will give its description, however, for now this only works in Explorer.

     
Stocking up on supplies from Anahim Lake Trading First cabin built by Pan Phillip's of 'Grass Beyond the Mountain' fame Now Mclean's Trading, it still isn't unusual for shoppers to come by horseback - picture taken  2004
 
 
 
There are quite a few local events including the Anahim Lake Rodeo Wintry cattle drive reminiscent of days of old Russel fence is a style particular to the Chilcotin
 
 
 
An example of just how steep the country would be to build a road over Atnarko River at the foot of the Freedom Highway Harbour at Bella Coola, the end destination of the Freedom Highway
 
 
 

 
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