Eccentric Vernon Pick. A strange project.

We’ve all known an eccentric person. The dictionary describes an eccentric as “one that deviates markedly from an established norm, especially a person of odd or unconventional behavior.”

Vernon Pick was a person who fit the bill exactly. A retired personality who made a fortune by being involved in giant uranium holdings that were sold to the US government before WW 2. Apparently he had a complex about the dangers of an oncoming nuclear war and searched high and low for areas that would be least likely to be involved should it come.

Somehow he decided that there were two places in North America that were radiation proof. Cayoosh Canyon and another place in Arizona.

Where is Cayoosh Canyon?

From whistler you turn north on the Sea to Sky highway. The area we are talking about is reachable from Whistler by turning north onto highway 99 and driving towards Pemberton. At Pemberton you turn right and drive through the beautiful Mount Currie Reserve area, along the Lillooet river and lake. Turn right onto the Duffy Lake road. It’s about a 45 minute drive to this point from Whistler. You can read the history of Cayoosh Creek here.

Drive on this road for about an hour and you will enjoy the beautiful sights of Duffy Lake and Matier Glacier. As the glacier melts it feeds the other rivulets that collect water from the valleys beyond as well as the melting snow that blankets the are with more than 30 feet in winter. This water enters Duffy Lake and leaves as Cayoosh Creek.

After you pass the lake and drive along the flat area with the boisterous creek on your left you will notice the mountains on each side gradually closing in. You will cross the creek on a bridge and start to ascend the steep canyon a couple of times, finally reaching a high point when you may see the town of Lillooet ahead of you in the valley. This is the area Vernon Pike decided to create Walden North, his fortress against the possibility of a nuclear holocaust.

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The construction of Walden North by the eccentric Mr. Pike was a significant one considering where it took place. The place was so remote back in the 1960s that the road between Lillooet and Pemberton existed as a very rough gravel road with almost no traffic to speak of. It is still wilderness today as there isn’t a house or a building between Lillooet Lake and Lillooet itself. For 50 miles all you may find is an emergency telephone.

On the Lillooet side he was closer to civilization but it too is well off the beaten path.

Vernon Pick was a mysterious gentleman, yes, eccentric, but operated very secretly. Local stories abound that in his conclave he supplied his own power generated by the creek, (true) by erecting a dam. Supposedly the complex had rooms for hundreds of scientists, that the place was set up with bunkers, there were great hi-tech laboratories and a particle accelerator deep within the mountain. The stories abound.

It has been reported that photocopier drums and microchip components were produced.

Like a bat in the night Vernon Pike came and went quietly and mysteriously, doing his own eccentric thing, on his own, without government help or interference. He died in the late 1980s and mostly every technical piece of equipment was gone by the way of the auctioneer, after the estate changed hands.

This then is the strange story of the Lillooet multi millionaire eccentric.

"Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact."

-- William James

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