BC Backroad Tips

We've had the pleasure of travelling from one end of this province to the other and while we would be the first to tell you how beautiful BC is, we will also be the first to tell you how dangerous it can be if you're not prepared. Travelling the backroads of British Columbia should not be taken lightly. It could literally cost you your life.

We've had a few close calls ourselves and most of those times we were prepared, but there have been a few times when we looked at each other and said "Now what do we do?" From those experiences (and many more) we've come up with our 'Must Have Along list'. We'd like to share it with you. We hope you find it useful.

  1. your Backroad Mapbooks
  2. handheld GPS (global positioning system) - turn on your 'breadcrumbs' so that you can always find your way back home
  3. auto GPS preferably loaded with the Backroads maps
  4. compass
  5. extra batteries for your GPS
  6. cell phone - you may not have cell coverage but you never know
  7. auto cellphone charger - you may go days without electricity, keep your phone charged
  8. extra auto battery - to run the lights, etc in your camper
  9. spare tire - for very rough roads we take two spare tires
  10. hydraulic jack - On one of our trips the front tire of our truck fell into an abandoned mine shaft... a hydraulic jack would have been very handy at the time. Needless to say we always have one with us now.
  11. a shovel - even 4x4's can get stuck and you may need to dig yourself out somewhere
  12. a chainsaw or handsaw - we have been so happy going down a mountain road only to have our happiness cut short by a downed tree across the road
  13. a jerry can of gasoline - As much as we love the Backroads Mapbooks it would be impossible that they not have a few mistakes. One such mistake nearly cost us a whole day of travelling and if we had to turn around we would have run out of gas. It would have been a LONG walk back to the main road.
  14. snow chains for your tires... we have been in a snowstorm in August, the weather can change in a heartbeat in the mountains.
ON THE TRAIL - these are the top 10 essential items as listed by North Shore Search & Resuce. Click here for more information. Their website is very informative.
  1. A flashlight or headlamp
  2. signalling device like a whistle
  3. matches (waterproof) or a lighter
  4. extra clothes
  5. swiss army knife
  6. shelter - tarp and large orange garbage bags
  7. food (high energy bars) & water
  8. first aid kit
  9. navigation - compass & GPS
  10. cellphone in ziploc bag
tackle box first aid kit
IN THE CAMPER - we have a large canopy on our truck and we keep it stocked with following, no matter if we're planning to be gone for a day or a week.
  1. extra food - preferably canned and/or dried - we store these in a large Rubbermaid container
  2. extra water - for you or for your vehicle if it overheats
  3. extra blankets - we have a wool Hudson's Bay point blanket that is just perfect for the outdoors
  4. extra clothes
  5. first aid kit - ibuprofen, band-aids, splint, Tylenol 3s (for extreme pain), cold medication... we saw this idea on Pinterest and loved it --->
  6. campstove & propane
  7. propane lantern
If you're TRAVELLING THE SUNSHINE COAST &/or BC ISLANDS add these things:
  1. preprinted BC Ferry Schedule - you really don't want to miss your ferry
  2. extra cash - many of the smaller islands do not have banks or even an ATM
  3. food for planned meals - grocery stores and restaurants can be scarce - they can also be very expensive. Graham Island (Haida Gwaii) has only 2 grocery stores and a 4L of milk was almost 7 dollars!
  1. Know where you are going before you get there. Is your vehicle sturdy enough for the trip? Do you need a 4x4? Will you need extra gas? Checking the road and area conditions before you leave is essential.
  2. Tell a friend exactly where you are going and when you will be back. Do not deviate from your plan without telling someone.
  3. Don't go alone.
  4. Be prepared with all your supplies... whether you're going for a day or a week.
  1. Don't panic and stay where you are.
  2. Use your signalling device every 5 minutes.
  3. Build or seek shelter but make sure you are visible during the day.
If you have any questions about travelling around BC we would love to help you out as best as we can. Leave a comment on this page and we'll get back to you as soon as possible. 


Unknown said...

Hi there, I'm hoping you're still active on your blog. I actually noticed some of your Pinterest images included the "Drowned Warrior" and "Prisoner" pictographs out near Hedley, BC. I was wondering if you could provide some directions to these, especially the "prisoner" pictograph. I'm having no luck finding any strong indication where to look, and worry the Prisoner paintings are now on private property. Thanks!

Dawnelle said...

Hi! Thanks for your comment and for reading our blog. We are still travelling BC but haven't posted for a while. Searching for pictographs is what inspired us to travel to so many unique places in BC but it can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. I can tell you that the Drowned Warrior paintings are on Old Hedley Road right beside the highway (along with so many others). Look for a spot on the north side of the highway with a cliff face... just a few steps from the road but easy to miss if you're not looking for it. There are 4 paintings there and they are one of our favourite sets of paintings in the province.

Unfortunately the Prisoner Paintings are on private property. After a lot of research I did narrow it down to where I believed the paintings to be and we went and asked permission to view the paintings. Even after we had permission they were pretty difficult to find and we almost gave up. I wish I could tell you exactly where they are but I don't have permission to do that.

What I can tell you is there are some great books out there that helped us with our research. The Backroad Mapbooks indicate many pictographs in their maps. Although they give vague reference to where the pictographs are located we still found them very useful. Once you get close to a location look for large boulders, cliff faces, etc. Most are painted under overhangs, caves and/or facing water. We found that very few were painted on a north face. Most are in painted in red. There are a few in black.

Other books are pretty old but still available. Bill Barlee's book "Similkameen, the Pictograph Country" was very helpful. John Corner's book "Pictographs in the Interior of British Columbia" is a great resource but might be harder to find. I found one copy which I borrowed from the Vancouver Public Library.

I know from experience that when you do find an elusive painting it is a great feeling, like stepping into a living museum. Every one of these paintings is an integral part of our history and should be protected. Maybe the hard work it takes to find them is a good thing; those who work so hard to find them will treasure them.

Good luck and please let me know if you have any other questions.