To Tsintsunko Lake – Kamloops Trails
Posted on: October 2, 2019 2:39 am
by: Doug Smith
Tsintsunko Lake Provincial Park is a 333 hectare park on the Bonaparte Plateau at an elevation of 1603 m (5260 feet). The B.C. Parks lands are along the eastern side of the lake and adjacent interconnected wetlands. The area to the west has been extensively logged. Access is on a combination of Forest Service Roads (Jamieson Creek Road > Deadman Road- Beaverhut Road) requiring some navigation to get to the right access area. The lake can’t be seen from the backroads and access is by primitive walk-in trails/tracks only. We had previously hiked on a designated trail to Jolly Lake, then on faint tracks over to Tsintsunko Lake and back by the Beaverhut Road (link to article) so we knew the area enough to want to return to paddle the lake. There are a couple of rough tracks into the lake from the road so we chose to mount our kayaks onto a portage cart and pull them on a 0.75 m route. This was hard work, but we got our boats to the lakeshore for a day of paddling and exploration.
A paddle around the lakeshore is a 6.3 loop. With exploration in each bay, it took about 2 hours.
Englemann spruce, alpine fir, and lodgepole pine surround the lake on the high plateau.
A number of glacial rocks (erratics) stuck up out of the lake’s surface. The largest “shark-tooth” guarded a narrows between islands.
On the west shore is an old fishing cabin, built before the park was created. It was still in active use this summer.
Another older-yet cabin was found in the forest along the overgrown trail. A tree had fallen on the building, crushing the old timbers, splitting it into two.
The lakeshore trail was clear near the cabins, but it is overgrown and indistinct farther along.
We drove the long road to the access point, portaged the boats in, paddled and fished, had lunch on the lakeshore, and then portaged back out, a long day, but well worth our efforts to have paddled this remote lake. On the way out a pair of spruce grouse perched by the side of the track. Were were alert for bears and moose, but we only saw birds.
On the way back we spotted a BC Parks sign, the trailhead for the Jolly Lake Trail, now situated in the middle of a cut-block. We wondered whether some of the lands to the west of the lake could be added to the park at some time in the future?
Tsintsunko Lake will have very few visitors in any year. We are not sure if anyone else has brought a kayak into the remote spot before us, and having done this (hard and difficult work), we are not surprised if the number was very small. Next time I paddle this lake, though, I will be bringing an inflatable SUP with a kayak seat conversion in a backpack. In that area, I will use it for Shelley Lake and Adler Lake too, with more to be added in the future.