Tyax Lodge BC Animals Wildlife

Category: Tyax Lodge

Our Wild Neighbours – Part 2

Tyax Lodge BC Animals Wildlife

Following on from our last article, Our Wild Neighbours – Part 1, where we looked at the bears and birds in the area; this week we’re taking a closer look at the fish and mammals that live in the region.

Fish

Thanks to the pristine lakes and picturesque streams surrounding Tyax Lodge we’re blessed with having some incredible fishing on our doorstep. Book a stay at Tyax Lodge and explore the waterways of the Gold Bridge area. Make sure you have the appropriate licensing and safety gear before you go!

Fishing at Tyax in British Columbia, Canada

Rainbow Trout

The rainbow trout is a very popular and common fish in North America. Their colouring changes depending on regions and subspecies. Some are found with a darker, olive-green to black shades, while there are others with more earthy green and even blue colouring. However, no matter the colour they all have a strip of red lengthwise down their body on both sides.

Rainbow trout are strict carnivores and are often seen gulping at insects that land on the water’s surface. While they also like to eat mussels, small fish and shrimp, these are rarer occurrences. Some rainbow trout migrate from freshwater streams and lakes to saltwater. Here they turn into steelhead trout. The fish then grows bigger and eats larger prey, such as octopus.

One of the reasons why rainbow trout are so popular is because of their excellent suitability as a sport fish. Rainbow trout are the easiest trout to catch and can be caught with a relatively low-weight setup. A thin line is best as rainbow trout have excellent eyesight and are able to spot thick fishing lines. They are attracted to a range of lures – people have success with spinners, plugs, jigs, and spoons. PowerBait and worms work best for bait while fishing for rainbow trout.

Kokanee

Kokanee spend their whole lives in freshwater environments and do not migrate to saltwater, like some rainbow trout. Kokanee have large eyes, an absence of black spots, and have blue backs and silversides. As they are strictly freshwater fish, they tend to be quite small. They range from 30 cm and 1 lb to 50cm and 5lb. While rainbow trout are the most popular fish in BC, kokanee is a close second. They’re just as much fun to catch and taste even better!

Thanks to modern advances with fishing technology, Kokanee can now be caught with a light setup. Kokanee are known to be aggressive fish. So instead of using a natural looking lure, its best to use a lure that is alien to the fish environment so the fish attacks it. Pink maggots and shrimp are the best baits to use.

Mammals

Due to Canada’s sheer size and variation in habitat, we have a wide variety of different mammals in our country. BC is home to some true Canadian icons such as beavers, wolves, and horses.

Beavers

Beavers are truly unique and synonymous with Canada. They are the only mammal, besides humans, that create their own living environment. Beavers are semi-aquatic animals and fell trees by gnawing at them with their extremely strong teeth. Their teeth contain iron, never stop growing, self-sharpen and are orange! The trees are then used to create their dams. The main purpose of the dams is to protect the colony of beavers. They build their dams in slow-flowing streams and create an underwater entrance to their lodge, this helps to deter predators.

Beavers are important in Canadian culture. Without beavers, there would not have been such an interest in the fur trade and exploration in Canada. This would’ve had knock-on effects on companies such as the Hudson Bay Company and the development of Canada as we know it today. Such was their importance at the time, they were included on the coat of arms of the Hudson Bay Company in 1678. At the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, the official mascot was a beaver and the beaver is also used as a symbol in many Canadian Forces organizations.

Wolves

Wild wolves are found in remote parts of North America and Eurasia. The wolves found in the BC wilderness are grey wolves and are truly majestic creatures. They can weigh up to 45 kg with the females weighing up to 35 kg. Wolves are reclusive animals, they are most active at night time and try to stay hidden for the most part. While many imagine wolves being aggressive hunters who take down large moose and deer, they are also known to scavenge for animals that have recently died.

Even though they are fierce animals they very rarely attack humans. When they do hunt, wolves like to avoid hunting in the heat, so they usually wait until dusk and hunt in packs. They are predators who predate on the weakest members of a group of animals. They are known to stalk their prey until launching an attack on the weakest member.

Horses

Horses have been central to the growth and development of the Gold Bridge area. Without horses, exploration of the area and discovery of gold in the area would’ve been much less successful. The trails that the pioneers used still exist today. On your visit to Tyax Lodge, you can take a step back in time with a horseback ride on historic trails.

Wild Horses

There are a number of pockets of isolated wild horses in Canada. Most of these groups have descended from the first horses that Europeans brought to the New World. However, the wild horses of the Chilcotin Plateau north of Gold Bridge have Russian ancestry. This makes them truly unique. The home of the wild horses here is protected by Xeni Gwet’in First Nation in Western Canada’s only horse preserve.

Our Wild Neighbours – Part 1

Hiking South Chilcotin Mountains

Tyax Lodge and the surrounding areas of BC are home to some iconic Canadian animals. From small birds through to grizzly bears, this area is home to all size of creatures. A visit to Tyax Lodge is taking a step into the wilderness. The creeks and lakes are streaming with fish. The treetops are bustling with eagles and owls. While in the remote, distant peaks and valleys, bears and wolves roam.

In this first part of a two-part article, we’re going to take a look at some of the birds and bears that live in this region.

Bears

Mention Canadian wildlife to anybody and immediately they’re going to think of bears. Bears are synonymous with the Canadian wilderness and Canadian culture. The mountains and forests around Tyax Lodge, and BC are home to some of the most well-known bear species. So don’t be surprised if you see some bears in the far distance when you’re mountain biking at Tyax Lodge!

Grizzly Bears

Grizzly bears live in the most remote parts of the mountain ranges around Tyax Lodge and the Gold Bridge area. Grizzlies fish for trout in the streams, hunt for marmots and forage for skunk cabbage and berries. They are solitary animals who love to live in regions far away from humans and other disturbances.

Black Bears

Black bears are a much more common sight than grizzly bears, in fact, they are the most common bear in the world. They are smaller than grizzlies and have a more pronounced pointed nose. They also love to fish as well as having a large number of berries, nuts, and fruits in their diet.

Kermode Bears

Now, this is a rare one! Kermode bears have near legendary status, particularly in First Nations folklore. They are sometimes referred to as ‘Spirit Bears’. Kermode bears are an uncommon variation of black bears, with only a small percentage of them having white fur. It has been noted that their white fur could help with fishing. White bears are harder for fish to see that their black fur counter-parts.

Birds

There’s no shortage of birds at Tyax Lodge. From small, plentiful ptarmigans to wise owls and large birds of prey, Tyax Lodge has it all. So next time you’re out for a hike at Tyax Lodge keep an eye on the skies above you!

Ptarmigan

The ptarmigan is a common sight in the mountains around Tyax Lodge. They are a small-medium sized game bird who make their home in the higher reaches of the mountains.

Their feathers molt as the season changes and help to camouflage them with their surroundings. In winter they are mainly white with a black tip on their tails, while in summer their feathers are a mottled brown. This helps to hide them from larger birds of prey in the area.

Birds of Prey

Numerous birds of prey hunt from the skies of British Columbia. Golden eagles and bald eagles nest high in cliffs. They hunt smaller animals and can be seen swooping for marmots and squirrels.

Keen observers will also be able to spot gyrfalcons as well. These are the largest members of the falcon family. Their plumage coloring varies greatly within the species. They can be found with pure white feathers, to a speckled brown, with some females having all black feathers.

Owls

Some of our most common year-round residents are owls. Great grey owls have piercing yellow eyes and incredibly accurate hearing. They hunt at night from low-hanging perches and use their excellent hearing ability to locate their prey. They are one of the very few species of owls that dives into the snow to attack their prey.

The great horned owl is the most widely distributed owl in the Americas. Their coloring depends on where they live. The great horned owls in this part of BC have a patchy dark brown and black plumage. They get their name from their distinctive ear tufts that resemble horns.

Make sure you check out our next article which will cover fish, horses, moose, and beavers!

History of Tyax Lodge and the Gold Bridge Area

Chilcotin Mountains Winter Alpenglow

Natural History

Location

Tyax Lodge is located in British Columbia in Western Canada. The province’s major city is Vancouver, which is approximately 300km south of Tyax Lodge. On route to Tyax Lodge, you’ll drive north on Highway 99, which is one of Canada’s most beautiful drives. You’ll see The Chief in Squamish, the world-famous resort of Whistler and the sleepy farming town of Pemberton.

The Mountains

Tyax Lodge is situated in The Chilcotin Mountains, which are part of the Pacific Ranges which are part of The Coast Mountains. The mountains are over 4 million years old and were created by volcanic activity, due to the tectonic plate movements of the Juan De Fuca Plate. The area is full of interesting geological features, such as calderas, stratovolcanoes and even isolated patches of lava.

Spruce Lake Protected Area

Spruce Lake Protected Area is a protected area directly west of Tyax Lodge. It’s a massive 71,347-hectare in size and has been protected since the 1930s. The area is home to grizzly bears, wolverines, and even bighorn sheep.

Canoe Tyaughton Lake BC Canada

First Nations

The Tsilhqot’in Nation

The Tsilhqot’in Nation are the indigenous people of this area. Tsilhqot’in translates roughly into ‘The people of the red ochre river’. The name Chilcotin is the English derivation of the name Tsilhqot’in. They were known as both shrewd traders and fierce warriors. They traded obsidian which was the material of choice for arrow and axe heads at the time.

The Tsilhqot’in people first encountered Europeans circa 1800. They met with traders who by 1808 had built fur trading posts for the North West Company from Montreal. In 1821 The Hudson Bay Company had established a large fur trading post on the eastern limit of the Tsilhqot’in territory.

With the fur trade, the Europeans also brought devastating disease with them. The isolated location of the Tsilhqot’in people meant that some diseases took longer to arrive than others. Eventually, the diseases arrived and whooping cough, measles, smallpox, and the Spanish flu decimated the Tsilhqot’in people.

Tyax Lodge Gold Bridge Hiking

Hunter Jack

Hunter Jack is the most famous Tsilhqot’in person from this time period. He negotiated the end to a war between the Chilcotin and Lillooet people. He was widely regarded as a fantastic trapper, ran his own guide-outfitter business and became chief of the area.

He had many notable clients including British Rear-Admiral Michael Culme-Seymour, who recognized him as the leader of the local people and bestowed the land upon him. Hunter Jack was involved in the local gold rush and was said to have died without telling anybody of the location of his secret gold mine. The mine remains undiscovered to this day.

Tyax Lodge Chilcotins Hiking

Pioneers

Like many other regions on the west coast, the South Chilcotins had their own gold rush. While many went to the Klondike Gold Rush in the Yukon, there was enough gold found in nearby Bralorne that a gold mine was opened.

Initially Chinese and Italian prospectors came, but they were driven out by Hunter Jack. He did, however, allow certain crews to investigate on his land. One of these crews discovered Cadwallader Creek. Three men hiked along this creek from Lillooet and discovered three gold deposits which would form the Bralorne Gold Mine. In a seven-year period during the Great Depression of the 1930s, it is estimated that $37,000,000 of gold was extracted from the mine.

Tyax Lodge Horseback Riding

During this time there was also a boom in the logging industry in BC. Areas from Vancouver through to Pemberton were heavily logged. However, due to the difficulty of road building and transportation, the logging industry didn’t extend to Gold Bridge.

Tyax Heliskiing Helicopter

Tyax Lodge

Heli-Skiing

Fast-forward to the late 1900s, the region left behind its pioneering past and became a destination for mountain adventures. Heli-skiing and epic mountain bike rides became very popular activities in the area. We’ve been running world-class heli-skiing tours from Tyax Lodge since 1991. Our extremely experienced guides and pilots will take you to various peaks in the South Chilcotins. With deep, dry powder, you’ll see why people come from all over the world to ski with us.

Tyax Mountain Bikers Single Track

Mountain Biking

In the summer you can come and mountain bike some of the trails the original pioneers built during the gold rush. The trails take you into truly remote regions and feature rugged, natural trails that encompass all of what riding in BC is about.

Tyax Lodge Spa Summer

Tyax Lodge

After your activities, you can relax in Tyax Lodge, which was renovated in 2010. There are rustic, comfortable rooms as well as an exciting dining options and a fully stocked bar. There’s also a full spa on site, with therapeutic massages, outdoor hot tub, and hot stone treatments.

Come experience the area’s history for yourself. And while you’re here, you can do some world-class heliskiing and mountain biking.

Relax At Tyax Lodge

Dining at Tyax Lodge

Morning

Waking up in your luxurious bed in Tyax Lodge is the perfect start to your relaxing day. Tyax Lodge was renovated in 2010 and finished with high-end features that make your stay here extra special. Our Sealy pillow top mattresses and feather pillows make our beds some of the most comfortable that you’ll ever sleep in. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready for your day.

But first coffee. Your room has a coffee machine to make your own fresh brew as you watch the sunrise above the mountains surrounding around Tyax Lodge. Log-on to the complimentary Wi-Fi or turn on the flat-screen TV to check in on the outside world. Or if you’d rather leave it all behind, you can use the iPod docking station and listen to your favourite music instead.

Tyax Lodge King Bedroom

Breakfast

For breakfast at Tyax Lodge, you will be served fresh, tasty food, grown in our unique setting. The region surrounding Tyax Lodge allows us to serve you locally grown organic vegetables and stone fruit. Our kitchen garden has fresh herbs and fruits that are served to you within minutes of being picked. We also have a culinary team here who forage for fresh ingredients daily just for you. Enjoy your breakfast knowing that your food is sustainably and consciously sourced from the land around you.

 

Tyaughton Lake

After breakfast, you can take a short, leisurely stroll down the gravel path to Lake Tyaughton and continue your day of relaxation.

In summer the water of Lake Tyaughton is the perfect temperature to take a dip and cool off. With views of the lodge and Nea Peak in the background, this might just be the most scenic swim you’ll ever have. You can also enjoy the lake by fishing and basking in the sunshine. Or if you’d rather spend your day on the water, feel free to use any of our paddleboards, kayaks, and canoes.

Tyaughton Lake and Tyax Lodge

When winter comes Lake Tyaughton freezes over and becomes the perfect place to skate and to try ice-fishing. If you’d prefer to stretch your legs a bit more, you can take advantage of the cross-country skiing and hiking trails around the lodge. Tyax Lodge is a hive of activity no matter what time of year.

 

Lunch

By now you’ll be looking forward to another delicious meal. Lucky for you Chef Marco Duarte is on hand to serve up another memorable meal.

Chef Duarte is originally from Montreal and has honed his craft by travelling and working all over the world. South East Asia, Australia, Alaska, Montreal, and his Portuguese roots have all influenced his culinary style and philosophies. He believes in utterly passionate people creating food with the freshest ingredients possible. All his years of experience and dedication translate into a lunch that you’ll remember for a long time.

 

Spa

After a hard day of dining and exploring Tyax Lodge, you’ll earn some “me time” at the spa. Lucky for you there is a wide range of treatments and facilities on hand.

Head on over to our yoga studio to limber up and find your inner calm. This sunny studio has beautiful views of Lake Tyaughton, allowing you to further connect with the nature around you.

Tyax Lodge Spa Sauna

Our massage therapies will relieve whatever tension and makes that you may have. We have massage treatments designed specifically to soothe your stiff muscles, to help you fully relax and a neck massage to help alleviate any stress in your body.

Our highly-trained staff is on hand to create a treatment plan that is just for you. They’ll select the best locally sourced ingredients that will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

After your massage therapy, you can unwind even further in our infra-red sauna, eucalyptus steam bath, and an outdoor hot tub. By the end of your spa day, any stress and tension will have melted away.

 

Dinner

What better way to round off your relaxing day at Tyax Lodge than a seasonally inspired menu. Chef Durate creates his menu with locally sourced, in-season ingredients. All our bread is made in house and our meat comes from local organic farmers, which we butcher ourselves. Allow our sommelier to pair your meal choice with a fine wine from our extensive wine menu.

Tyax Lodge Chef Cooking

Night-Time

After dinner, you can stop by the bar and have a nightcap of your choice as you cozy up by the fireplace. Chat with the other guests and share tips on where to explore tomorrow.

After a long day of relaxation and dining, you’ll be delighted to return to your comfortable room. A good night of sleep is much needed for you to get up and do it all again tomorrow.

 

What is Heli-Skiing? And Other Frequently Asked Questions.

Tyax Heliskiing Partners

What is heli-skiing?

Heli-skiing is when you take a helicopter to access backcountry ski runs that are otherwise very difficult to reach. It is one of the most exhilarating, and unique, ski activities that you can do.

Loading up a helicopter with some of your best friends and heli-skiing at Tyax Lodge is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Our experienced pilots and highly qualified guides take you to some of the best powder runs in the world in a stunning setting.

Tyax Heliskiiing Red Helicopter

How difficult is heli-skiing?

Heli-skiing may seem like it is only for expert skiers and snowboarders, but actually, if you’re a fit intermediate skier, you can have a blast heli-skiing. If you’re comfortable skiing any in-bound resort run, then you’ve got what it takes to come heli-skiing at Tyax Lodge.

Do I have to jump out of the helicopter?

Getting our guests out of the helicopter is one of our main safety concerns here at Tyax Lodge. Our helicopters land safely on the snow and you exit the helicopter under supervision. The helicopter then collects you at the bottom of the run.

Tyax Heliskiing FAQ Canada

What to bring heli-skiing?

When you come heli-skiing at Tyax Lodge, you only need to bring your ski/snowboard boots and whatever else you wear on a cold day of resort skiing. We recommend that everyone brings their helmet too, but it’s not mandatory. We provide you with skis, boards, bindings, and poles.

We also provide all of our guests with Backcountry Access BCA Float 12 backpacks. In the case of an avalanche, these backpacks recognize the impact and discharge airbags that help to float you to the top of the snow, which increases the chances of rescue. We also have training for the use of transceivers, shovels, and probes.

Powder Heliskiing BC Canada

Where can I go heli-skiing?

There are fantastic heli-skiing destinations all around the world, including Japan, Georgia and even India. However, ever since heli-skiing was invented in Canada in the 1960s, it has remained the premiere heli-skiing destination in the world.

Tyax Lodge is nestled in between the Coastal Mountains and the South Chilcotin Mountains in the Goldbridge area of British Columbia. We’re 180km north of Whistler and accessible by road throughout the year. Our ski area spreads over 830,000 acres and we have an annual snowfall ranging between 5-25 meters. This part of BC is famous for having a wide variety of terrain, champagne powder and gorgeous sunny days. This area has such incredible conditions that we’ve been heli-skiing here since 1991.

When can I go heli-skiing?

You and your friends can come heli-skiing at Tyax Lodge between December and the end of March, give or take a few weeks depending on conditions. For December and January, you can expect low temperatures and regular storm cycles passing through. This all leads to dry, deep, powder runs all day long.

In February and March, there are generally fewer storms, but the days are sunny and bright. There’s still plenty of powder and the added bonus of some fantastic conditions for photographs. No matter what dates you come heli-skiing at Tyax Lodge our team will ensure that you have a fantastic experience.

Tyax Heliskiing Hellicopter BC Canada

Is heli-skiing safe?

We work alongside the Canadian Avalanche Association to analyze weather and snow data to reduce risks and avalanches as much as possible. Based on this analysis we are able to decide on the safest possible areas to go heli-skiing. We are also a member of HeliCat Canada and we adhere to their strict safety standards for the heli-skiing industry.

All of our heli-skiing guides at Tyax Lodge are qualified members of Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) or International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA). With decades of experience between them, they are able to bring you on some unparalleled heli-skiing, while maintaining the highest safety standard throughout.

Our helicopters are flown by pilots from Wildcat Helicopter. Not only are they expert heli-skiing pilots, but they also have experience in fighting forest fires from the air and conducting nature surveys in the Arctic. Our talented team of on-site engineers keeps the heli-skiing helicopters in top condition, ensuring that all facets of safety are comprehensively covered.

Photo Credits: Guy Fattal

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