Nemiah Valley, British Columbia

On a work trip this past weekend up to Nemiah Valley, in British Columbia’s central interior, I got the chance to visit Chilko Lake. In short, it is STUNNING. Clear, turquoise water, breathtaking colours. Reminds me of Banff’s Lake Louise. Easily the most beautiful body of water I’ve seen to date.

Gettin’ my Simba on

My view from there (photos really don’t do it justice):

The reason I was there was to cover the Nemiah Valley Rodeo and Mountain Race. There’s an extended intro about it here, which ran with a page of photos from photojournalist John Lehmann, but those are not yet online. An audio slideshow is in the works; I’ll post that up when it’s ready. (EDIT: Here it is.)

In the meantime, a description of the mountain race, which takes place during the rodeo intermission on both Saturday and Sunday, and is the highlight of the event:

The mountain race, founded by the Xeni Gwet’in band of the Chilcotin nation, sees riders barrel down a steep hillside, over rocks and gravel, into creeks and beaver dams and around dangerous turns through blinding plumes of dirt and dust. Some riders emerge dripping wet, some are stalled in the swamp and mud and some are tossed from their horses along the way.

It takes riders about 20 minutes to reach the starting point up the hill and, on average, 90 seconds to get down the three-quarter-mile trail.

This is cowboy Howie Lulua, who won on both days:

His brother, Jimmy Lulua, ended up falling off his horse on the second day of the race, breaking his leg. He had to be medivaced out; his horse shot.

A few other miscellaneous shots from the trip:

John Lehmann realizing he’ll have to lug thousands of dollars worth of equipment through two bodies of water to properly shoot the mountain race.

Tie-down roping

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