Hat Creek Valley
Travelling the back roads of the Cache Creek area takes you to the scenic Hat Creek Valley. Turn off the Trans Canada Highway near Ashcroft Manor and head up the Cornwall Mountain Lookout road.
There was a proposal at one time to turn this beautiful valley into an open pit coal mine...the ground beneath contains a coal seam more than 2000' thick. Personally I'm glad it never went through.
Dave's Cache Creek Page
Cache Creek lies at the junction of the Trans Canada Highway and the Cariboo Highway. Heading north from here takes you to Williams Lake and Prince George, heading east takes you to Kamloops, Jasper and Revelstoke, heading south takes you to the scenic Fraser Canyon and to Hope and Vancouver.
It's a small town in the middle of Canada's interior "desert" country with sagebrush, prickly pear cactus, and open rangeland. This area east of Cache Creek is also a growing region for ginseng, used in herbal medicine. You will see many acres of it in this area under special screened farms to keep the sun off. Nearby, the Thompson River winds it's way through the dry valley on it's way to join the Fraser River at Lytton about 60 miles downstream. Lytton is one of the hottest spots in all of Canada. In the hills above Cache Creek are these beautiful aspen forest parklands. This spot is now called Oregon Jack Creek Provincial park.
Aspen Clone: World's Heaviest Living Organism?
An aspen clone in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah is composed of 47,000 stems of genetically identical aspen trees (Populus tremuloides), with a total weight of 6 million kilograms (6,500 tons). Since the aspen is a dioecious species (with separate male and female individuals in the population), this monstrous clone is the same sex, in this case all males. The clone has developed asexually by suckering, where new adventitious stems arise from a gigantic spreading root system. Suckering is a common method of asexual reproduction in the willow family (Salicaceae), which includes cottonwoods (Populus), willows (Salix) and aspen. The above-ground stems appear to be separate trees, but they all arose from a genetically identical root system. Like the creosote bush clones in the White Mountains of California, it is quite likely that some of the root systems have broken away, so that some of the trees are no longer directly connected to the clone, but they still share a common genome.
1. Grant, M.C. 1993. "The Trembling Giant." Discover: 83-88.
2. Mitton, J.B. and M.C. Grant. 1996. "Genetic Variation and the Natural History of Quaking Aspen." BioScience 461: 25-31.
Presumably, many of the groves of aspen in B.C. like these, are also massive clones.
"Sagebrush and rangeland"
Cache Creek is a great cattle ranching area with hundreds of thousands of acres of rangeland.
About 15 km north of Cache Creek you see these colourful eroded cliffs off the west side of the highway.