Atlas of Canada Link: Jim Mitchell Lake
Degrees, Minutes, Seconds: 49° 31' 5" N 125° 36' 1" W
Decimal Degrees: 49.518° N 125.601° W UTM
Coordinates: 10U 311780 5488306
Topographic Map Sheet Number: 092F12
Trip Date: July 29, 2011
The Road up to Jim Mitchell Lake is actually pretty good -- but steep, really steep. Virtually no pot holes or washouts and several stretches of new gravel and fill. Someone is doing a good job of keeping this road in shape.
Near the top of the road, on a level spot, sits the parking lot for the steep hike in to Bedwell Lake. We pass a large silver Chrysler sitting in the parking lot and look at each other in disbelief. We turned the hubs in on the Tracker 10 minutes ago because of deep loose gravel on a steep hill.
We continue to the lake. It isn't much to look at from the put in. A smallish body of water under the shoulder of nearby Mount Myra, the summit hidden behind the nearness of the slope. There is snow within sight on some of the surrounding hilltops. A wind blows at us and a few drops of rain hit our faces. We sigh and unload the canoes in silence, having driven up that steep road when we could have had a perfectly nice paddle at the bottom of the road in Buttle Lake.
|The Put-in at Jim Mitchell Lake|
We turn and head towards the western end of the lake.
Dark forest gives way to steep slopes of fractured stone.
As we near the first curve in the shoreline the colonization efforts of the flora is impressive.
Both the forest and the water have a feeling of great depth.
We paddle around the corner to a part of the lake that is hidden from the parking lot view and discover another waterfall, and the amazing ability of trees to grow in very rocky conditions.
At the far end of the lake we find the spot where Thelwood creek flows in from Thelwood Lake.
Paul practices his eddy turns in the current.
Then we sit and listen to the whiteness of the water, the silence of the sky, and the gentle lap of waves against stone.
Back at the put-in the Tracker seems small on the exposed road down to the water's edge and the snow-chilled air reminds us of how quickly the elements can turn on you in the mountains.
James Scott Mitchell was described as a "six-foot youngster of quiet habits and a good bushman" who left the main camp of the British Columbia Topographical Survey for a camp near a lake known then as Crystal Lake. The main camp was situated where Price Creek joins Thelwood Creek, in the wide delta at the head of Buttle Lake. Mitchell made his way to "first camp," slept the night, and headed on for "second camp" in the high country beyond. He never arrived. No trail existed beyond first camp, so he was following blazes. He had packed supplies in 11 times already so knew the way well. At a place known as the "upper ford" the 17 year old Jim set down his 50 lb pack and surveyed the creek to find a way across. How he received a concussion and died, is not known, but most likely he fell on the slippery rocks. The creek washed his body downstream where it was found lodged on a sand bar.
in 1947, 10 years after the accident, Crystal Lake was re-named Jim Mitchell Lake.