The Highland Valley is not really a valley but rather the crater of a long extinct volcano. It is located in the same chain of mountains as Mt. St. Helens, the recently reactivated volcano in Washington State.
In 1877 when Dr. George Dawson surveyed the Nicola region he produced a map which included two features of the Highland Valley area, listed on this map were Mt. Glossy and Mt. Forge. Mt. Glossy and Forge Mountain are the remains of the northern side of a volcanic cone and Gnawed Mountain forms the south side. Within the crater were lakes. At least two and possibly four glacial periods descended upon the whole Nicola area. The final glacial period receded about 10 thousand years ago. As the ice receded a lake in the Highland Valley formed and a natural dam was created. Gradually the land in the Highland Valley became alive with the growth of flora and fauna. The lakes supported abundant fish life.
Highland Valley is aptly named because at 3900 feet, it is high and with the peaks of Glossy and Forge on the north and Gnawed to the south every appearance is given of a valley. The site from these three peaks gave the forestry department a view of the whole basin. The appearance of a forest fire could be quickly located and dealt with. In the early days access would be by horse and several trails wound their way up through the valley and to the top of each mountain.
Hawks, eagles, crows, coyotes, rabbits, Blue Grouse, Franklin Grouse, and even mountain goats could be seen in the valley in the early 1900’s. By the 1930’s J.N.J. Brown an Ashcroft miner and poet wrote of his concerns to the Ashcroft Journal about the decline of some of the species of wildlife in the Valley. Mountain goats and rabbits saw a rapid decline in population and even the deer life were not so abundant. However bear numbers were on the rise and grizzlies could be found around Mt. Glossy. Opportunities for guiding, hunting and fishing parties were not lost on the local inhabitants.
To the south of Glossy mountain runs Woods Creek and it was here in 1948 that the Owens built a cabin. This cabin served the family as a base camp for their guiding expeditions. Glossy Mountain area was alive with vegetation, and the Mule Deer were prolific. America hunters would flock to the area and the Owens family would act as guides. The cabin was used for this purpose until 1968.
Although today the trees of Glossy Mountain have been devastated by the Pine Beetle the flowers and berries still thrive. Tiger lilies, wild roses, lady slippers, and Indian Paint brush are just a few of the many wild flowers that can be spotted through the forest. Berries such as gooseberries, raspberries, and strawberries are plentiful. Shaggy mane mushrooms grow here as well. The fresh water creeks are alive with frogs and the occasional salamander. Grouse, deer, moose, chipmunks, bears, wolves, cougars, coyotes, lynx, bobcat, mink, and porcupine continue to inhabit Glossy Mountain.
|Detailed access information:
Nearest Communities: Ashcroft, B.C., Logan Lake, B.C.
Altitude: 1.171 m/3,841ft
Ownership: Crown Land
Accuracy: 3 metres
Access and restrictions: From the Old Fire Hall in Ashcroft follow Highway 97C towards Logan Lake for 13kms. Take the left dirt access road. Follow trail to gate and close behind you. From gate follow 4x4 trail to the right for 1.9km. 4x4 only and must have high clearance. Road can be walked. 2 km hike. Be prepared for back country.
Parking Advice: Park at cache spot, open meadow.