What A Convoluted Way To Catch Your Dream!

5:39 p.m. on November 6, 2012 (EST)
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Helloooo everyone! It's been a while since I posted any news about Butedale. It's been so long that many of you probably have no idea of what I'm talkin' 'bout. So, here comes one of the longest posts you will ever have the... pleasure??? ... of reading.

About 25 years ago I began actively searching for abandoned towns or villages on the west coast of BC. I was looking for a chunk of BC that I could call my own and live as self sufficiently as possible, making occasional forays into "civilization" for things that I can't produce myself, and to make some money to buy those things. (I was a kid, and very naive.) Anyhoo, the search was fruitless until Google Earth came about. Then, what took me a day or two with old coastal maps and publications, I could now do in a minute or less. Very quickly I found Princess Royal Island and identified several former mining, logging, and fishery town locations. My first attempts to gain access to any of these properties began in 2005 or there'bouts, and my attempts to do so through "proper" channels, (ie: the Government) met with zero success.

So, In 2007 I decided to do a double objective hike on Princess Royal Island, and have a chat with the sole resident of that one thousand square mile island. First objective was the hike, second objective; the chat.

In the Summer of 2009 I began the hike with a couple of guys I met through Backpacker Magazine's online forum. Unfortunately a damaged knee buggered the first objective, but allowed for an EXTENDED chat with that 1 guy in Butedale on that 1000 sq. mile isle. During the chat it came out that he desperately needed help around town, particularly with some jobs that one person cannot do by themselves. Perfect! So I told him that I'd be back.

In Aug. 2010 I moved to the ghost town of Butedale on Princess Royal Island off the Coast of British Columbia. The year I lived there was without exception, the happiest year of my life. But then, an abscessed wisdom tooth brought the happiness to an end when I spent most of my for-winter savings on trying to get the tooth fixed. However, during my stay at Butedale I met a guy from Kitimat who told me to give him a shout if ever I'm in town and we could hang out and do some fishin' and whatever. So, when I got into Kitimat on a quest for a place to stay, and some leads on a job I gave this guy a shout. Turns out; he was in town for one day for the first time in four months, and that he was in town EXCLUSIVELY to find someone to live out at his gold claim in exchange for room and board and a share of any gold findings. Can you imagine? The odds of such a coincidence are nearly incalculable. Of course I go gold mining with him, and in the course of the next few months I became best of friends with him and his wife. They even moved me into their place when the mining season ended. 

This year, we did a bit more gravel digging, then called it enough. (We now know why that section of the creek has never been worked since the 20's. Because you can't! Effectively anyways. There IS gold in them thar hills, but it's deep, and it's small. Enough to keep ya in grub and gas but not much more. 

So, we packed up the camp and moved back to town. Back in town my buddy goes frequently to hang out with and do BBQ's and Halibut fry's with a couple who are literally two of the most important pillars of the community of Kitimat, and I naturally come along. I get to know these folks fairly well, well enough indeed for them to "take me under their wings" and do everything in their power to help me out in my quest to return to Butedale. 

Hmmm? You ask. Why would they do that? It's simple really, but the coincidence again is one of those incalculable ones. You see, this couple are as in-love with Butedale as I am. So much so, that they had actually tried to buy Butedale 30-odd years ago when it was first put up for sale; in order that they could spend the rest of their lives there. And now, at the beginning of their retirement years they still want to be able to visit Butedale for a few months each summer, and wanted to ensure that there would always BE a Butedale for them to go to. Which is where I came into the picture. This couple have offered to give me a gorgeous 40 foot welded aluminum cruiser/tug to make my return to Butedale possible and safe, and have even moved me into one of their properties where I can work on their and my projects to prepare for returning to Butedale. 

And THEN... Just a few days ago, Lou, the current caretaker of Butedale came into Kitimat for a grocery run, and I had a chance to speak with him. Turns out; Butedale has just been bought by a gentleman from here in BC. AWESOME! A local owner can only be a GOOD thing! And it is! Lou was planning on leaving Butedale to molder by itself after this Autumn. But when the new owner showed up and asked Lou to stay, well, Lou's to nice a guy to say no. Plus, he adores Butedale as much as I do. So, Lou is staying on until NEXT Autumn, when in all probability (As in; almost guaranteed.) I'll be taking over as caretaker of Butedale and delighting in watching the old town be reborn. And how am I so certain that I'll be the next caretaker? First; Lou was already planning on strongly recommending me as his replacement, plus, I'll have a kick-a$$ work boat annnnnnd, the same folks who offered me the boat have also suggested that I adopt a float camp from a friend of theirs who can't use it, and who never will be able to use it. 

So, with me having already lived at Butedale for a year, with Lou boosting me up for the new owner, with my own boat, and with that floatcamp, it looks like I might be spending my foreseeable future living my dream in absolute paradise. 

But my GOODNESS! What a convoluted way to get there!

Here's a video of Butedale and the area surrounding it. I imagine that y'all'll understand why I am SO desperate to get back.

Thanks for reading/watching such a long post!


12:41 a.m. on November 7, 2012 (EST)
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I'm pretty sure WOW!! can't even come close to expressing how frickin amazing that place is!!! You my friend have found "it".

8:20 a.m. on November 7, 2012 (EST)
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Good for you TJ!


I remember reading your posts and it's nice to get an update.

9:51 a.m. on November 7, 2012 (EST)
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Oh. My. Word. 

Congratulations on the awesome position there, TJ! 

So, if someone wanted to visit this awesome place, say for a week or a month of inexpensive awesomeness, might they contact you to discuss?

12:41 p.m. on November 7, 2012 (EST)
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I have always liked rural BC.  It seems to be a more or less universal human trait that we are social.  Prolonged isolation wears on people even in paradise.  We also like variety.  Having access to the wild and also to town satisfies all of the human needs.  Best wishes for continued success in your wild BC adventures.


11:55 p.m. on November 7, 2012 (EST)
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gonzan said:

Oh. My. Word. 

Congratulations on the awesome position there, TJ! 

So, if someone wanted to visit this awesome place, say for a week or a month of inexpensive awesomeness, might they contact you to discuss?


Absolutely! There are a couple different folks from the Backpacker Magazine forum who are going to be visiting Butedale while I'm there. Plus, anyone from this forum, the Backpacker Magazine forum, and the Outdoors Adventures Canada forum are more than welcome to come and stay for free for as long as desired... Within reason; A month or three, awesome! A year or three, not so cool.  ;-)  

Cheers! And thanx everyone!


12:42 a.m. on November 8, 2012 (EST)
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Cory great to here from you again and really great your plans for Butedale are working out.  To bad on the gold though, it always fun to dream about striking it rich!! 

Well maybe you did with Butedale!  :)

Someday I really hope to make it up there.  I did the West Coast Trail this spring (May 2012) and really loved the area and the trip.  Great area and great adventures.  I really would like to do more exploring up in that neck of the woods.  I guess I need to get into Kayaking or get a small sailboat......   More Dreams.  Beast of luck and stay in touch as you can.


2:08 p.m. on December 12, 2012 (EST)
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Looking for permission to come to Butedale on Sat Dec 15th 2012 if the weather is good. Doing a x-country flight from Vancouver in a Beaver. Is there a place to tie up a beaver on floats there, Will there be anybody there? We will only be there for 30 min.

Need anything brought up from Vancouver?



9:44 p.m. on December 12, 2012 (EST)
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Hi Dave! Yup! No problem with tying the plane up to one of the docks. I won't be there myself, but Lou will. Since I'm not there I won't need anything. LOL!  ;-)  But Lou... Hmmm... He might like a mickey of wodka. Actually, PM me and I'll send you a money order for whatever a REALLY good bottle of vodka costs. Oh! and a pack of grape Kool-Aid!  (His drink of choice; Wodka and Kool-Aid.) You can tell him Cory sent it. He'd probably bust a gut laughing; A bottle of vodka and one pack of Kool-Aid hand delivered by float plane. Heck! I'm laughing my a$$ off right now! 

Anyhoo, thanx for thinking of us! Yer awesome! 

P.S. If you have a small trout rod ye just might want to spend an extra hour at Butedale Lake and catch yourself a dozen cutthroat. Fantastic fishing on the log jam, and the fish are delish! 

Righty then, enjoy your flight. And stay safe!



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