During the early days of the Cariboo Gold Rush in British Columbia, getting there presented a serious challenge to the miners as Barkerville was located 400 miles north and east of Yale. Thick underbrush clogged the mountainous route and some of the mountain passes still had five feet of snow in April. Parts of the journey north were extremely dangerous and horses and their owners would often fall to their deaths over the mountains or drown in the swift and deep waters of the Fraser and Thompson Rivers.
However, the success of the gold fields and the great influx of people made it necessary to improve access. The governor at that time, Governor James Douglas, determined that a safe road was required and the Royal Engineers were engaged for the task. In October of 1861, Colonel Richard Clement Moody recommended that the Yale to Barkerville route through the Fraser Canyon be built for the benefit of the country. The Royal Engineers assessed the route and suggested it be built in sections: Yale to Spuzzum, Spuzzum to Lytton, Lytton to the Lilooet Junction, Lilloet to Fort Alexandria, and Quesnel to Barkerville.
When it was completed, some people called it the "Eight Wonder of the World."
While doing research for the book, my sweetie and I took a bit of a road trip through the Fraser Canyon. You can still see a portion of the original road in the Skihist Campground, just outside of Lytton on the Trans Canada Highway.
We followed the highway all the way through the Fraser Canyon and stopped to take these photos at the summit of Jackass Mountain. Far below you see the Fraser River.
Rose and Harrison meet on the final section of the road between Quesnel to Barkerville. It was a particularly difficult section to construct because of mud, swamp and fallen trees.
For more information on the Cariboo Gold Rush, this is a wonderful website: www.cariboogoldrush.com
You can read all about Rose and Harrison's gold rush adventures in Barkerville Beginnings, available at your favourite online store HERE.