We had been driving a while and were not far from Pemberton when we saw ‘the sign’. Head right for ‘D’arcy’, it told us. D’arcy? Neither of us had ever heard of D’arcy before – not ever.
Of course, we turned right. Immediately we found ourselves in the middle of a ‘tin settlement’ (as we would say back home). A bit ramshackle, a bit abandoned looking, rather derelict.
But abandoned it was not, many locals walked the main road. Apparently this was part of an Aboriginal reserve in Pemberton – an area I had not visited before.
The settlement was small, and before long we were traversing through wilderness again. The roads were not impeccably maintained, as often is the case in these small out of the way places, so we took our time.
We had no idea what to expect from D’arcy, but we were certainly enjoying the beautiful drive.
I am a big lover of abandoned architecture and the temporary melancholy it provokes within me.
I never look at an abandoned home without feeling sentiment toward the last owners, who certainly had to give up their dreams (however small) to leave – and end up with something inevitably LESS than what they once struggled so hard for.
What I figured out pretty quickly though, was that not all of the abandoned looking buildings were lifeless. Some of them, (windows blown out and covered in plastic) were still inhabited.
It looked as though life was hard for some of the people in this area – but there were also the many woodsy mansions spattered around the various mountain lakes. Along with the odd fishing/hunting resort, and even a few spas.
There is money here, just a great (and obvious) divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’.
It certainly wasn’t all McMansions and shacks – there was also the incredible scenery. The mountains here are wild, untamed and primarily un-trekked.
There is plenty of wildlife with bears, cougars and wolves, coyotes and the like, roaming like loose dogs around the local homes.
The air was crisp and fresh, and we felt like nature was literally on top of us. It was a good feeling – a great battery recharge.
There was no welcome sign when we entered D’arcy – we weren’t even sure we were in D’arcy at all – until we followed the road to its (unmarked!) end, and knew we could be no place else.
It was immediately clear that many of the residents of the small town were Aboriginal. The church signage strongly validated these findings.
There wasn’t much else in town. A few abandoned commercial buildings, one convenience store, and the cemetery.
Though a bit run down, the cemetery had many cool old wooden markers, and a prominent one for ‘Tommy Jack’, who must have been someone respected.
I love looking at old cemeteries and finding historical reference to the local community.
At the end of the road was the gem worth driving for – the reason D’arcy exists at all (no offence D’arcians!). A gorgeous glacial lake with public parks flanking all sides.
And that’s where the people were too.
Many VW’s and RV’s were parked in the free lots.
People reading in their reclining lawn chairs, a few elderly ladies sun tanning, a couple of dreaded hippies and their dogs, even an older couple clearly doing the exact same thing we were – driving out just to see what was ‘up’ in D’arcy.
We spent quite a while admiring the incredibly clear water of Anderson lake. We ate some food and watched the other travellers. It seemed there was a small tourism thing happening here in this remote, isolated, UNDER SERVICED location – all revolving around the gorgeous lake.
Though we were happy to have had the adventure, it was time to backtrack toward Pemberton.
Additional photos in the slideshow.