The Guidebook

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hurley Canyon

The Hurley River near the town of Bralorne is a cool river on the very edge of the Coast Mountains in southwest BC - I guess you could even argue that it is actually in the Chilcotins. It's worth reading the beta out it to find out some more about what the river is like. There's a big canyon, some big rapids and a ton of old mining debris hanging out by the edge of the water. The whole area is famous for gold mining - Bralorne still sports an active gold mine.

One of the most striking features of this area are the massive reserviors made by the Bridge River Hydro Project; the Hurley is a trib of the Bridge. This is one of the biggest hydro complexes in British Columbia, and it's obvious that a project of such scale has a huge environmental impact. This whole thing was built before environmental assessments were required of such things.

If you've ever heard of or paddled the lower Bridge Canyon, you might have wondered why such a huge riverbed has so little water - it's because this hydro project diverts the whole river - several hundred cms during snowmelt - into another drainage. If the full flow of the Bridge were allowed to flow back through the lower Bridge Canyon, it would certainly be one of the best big water runs in BC. It's likely that will never happen on a predictable basis though. C'mon BC Hydro, will you provide full flow releases for us one day?

Anyways, whatever you think of this hydro project, here are some photos of the Hurley itself to get you fired up.

Near the top of Hurley pass in early fall.

Ali and Steve trying to sort out where to go.

Downton Lake.

Heavy frost after a night camped out in Bralorne. Hurley is a late season run!

On the river, just below the Cadwallader.

A sick boof near the start.

Scouting the first class V stretch - the wall on river left is huge.

A typical rapid made by gnarly boulders.

The end of another gnarly section.

Orange cliff mean you're nearing the end.

The clear water of the Hurley, consumed by the heavily silted Bridge River.

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