Palmer’s Pond

Photo by Mary Masiel

“Palmer Pond, near the Cascade Divide, is named in respect of Lieutenant Palmer of the Royal Engineers. He crossed the divide in 1859.

The pond is situated alongside a portion of historic Hudson’s Bay Brigade Trail. This trail was used in the mid-1800’s to transport goods by horse between Hope and Tulameen. The trail is easy to follow — courtesy of literally hundreds of forefathers’ day pack horses that, in places, have trod the trail knee-deep into the soft earth.”

There are some things that you need to know about Palmer’s Pond. It is exactly 2 hours drive from Princeton to the trailhead. From the turnoff to Jacobsen Lake,you will see homemade sign that points out FALLS, presumedly Tulameen Falls because it is in that general area, and a highway sign advertising Vuich Falls. You will pass Vuich and Sutter Creek Campsites.

Stutter Creek is a lovely camping area, but at the moment occupied with hunters. The trailhead for Palmer’s Pond (at kilometre 46) is just beyond Jacobsen Lake. The hike to the pond is 3.5 kilometres if you’re feeling in top shape but 4 kilometres if you are not. It is all in the perception! The round trip will take 3 to 4 hours, either way it is a worthwhile hike that gets a hiker to the alpine very quickly and thus to the incredible views that one experiences in that habitat.

However, our experience on Saturday, Oct. 14th was somewhat different. We had overcast skies; the weather forecast did say that conditions would improve by afternoon, but it did not. We started to experience snow even before the turnoff to Jacobsen Lake; beyond Vuich Creek the snow deepened to about 6 inches; past this point hunters are not allowed to drive. Since we were not hunters, we continued on the road. We did see some hunters walking about, a most unusual sight.

We did have snowshoes but left them behind in the truck and trudged on the snow filled trail. We reached Palmer’s Pond at 6100 ft. with a snow accumulation of 12 inches or 1 foot of snow! Meanwhile, a very heavy mist moved in and nothing was visible; we could just about see the edges of the pond. In spite of this everyone’s spirits were high and we were congratulatory having reached our destination regardless of nature’s lack of cooperation.

Having the Lahaies with us was a bonus because they can always identify birds. We saw Gray Jays, flocks of Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Pacific Wren, and Black-capped Chickadee. It is now definitely winter in this part of the world.

Photo by Mary Masiel