The upper grasslands and forests near Lac du Bois are an inviting place to hike in the fall. Fall color is abundant and the hills are quiet. We have a number of different routes to hike right from a parking area at Lac du Bois, tuning our choice to the season and the conditions. On this October day, we chose to visit some old homesteads, pastures, ponds, and aspen groves. We followed the north side of Lac du Bois on the route toward Hanging Valley, but then we turned up an old overgrown wagon track through the mixed forest.
Along this old track were 4 homesteads. A few remains can be seen here and there – rusty buckets, pipes, pieces of stoves, logging equipment, some timbers, a portable sawmill stand, and remains of homestead cabins and outbuildings. Many of the homesteaders were active with horse logging in the winter. They hauled lumber and logs down to the sawmill at Lac du Bois. On a good day, 50 – 60 trees could be felled. This activity started about 110 years ago so there is still lots of evidence of felling, scaling, cutting, and stacking in the forests along this track.
Just past the first gate is the Dumont Homestead. He was a carpenter and built the home and outbuildings in the pasture there, now overgrown. There are still some old vehicles left from a later time, but with some looking around, there are a number of artifacts to be seen in the forest detritus. After the original homesteaders left (about 1916), there were more occupants of the old homesteads, mostly unrecorded unless there was a financial transaction to sell and register the property.
We looped down through the open grasslands on the quarter section owned by Bill Arnald, a prospector and a teller of tales, noted in the Kamloops Sentinel in the early 1920’s. We have found many of his test pits on the hillside and at one spotted some old apple trees still bearing fruit.
We crossed Lac le Jeune Road and followed another old track up the sidehill to Stony Lake. There was another homestead there built by Maurice Scott who lived there from 1914 – 1919, farming and ranching on the open hillsides to the east. The cabin was still there about 10 years ago but it is gone now. After coming there in the spring one year, it was gone, with the wood used for bonfires in the winter by snowmobilers in the area. It is now part of the Nature Conservancy of Canada so any remaining relics are safer now. Stony Lake is a quiet spot in the upper grasslands.