Monday 20 May 2024

May 20, 2024 - Day 21

Today will be the first day of 4 that we will be backtracking over the same ground we covered coming up here. Leaving Stewart made us so very grateful that we had beautiful weather coming in - because it was a different story as we left at 8AM. Beautiful in its own way.

The Bear Glacier also looked totally different in this weather - also somewhat hypnotic.

These signs appear all over the highways here. The Whitehead wildlife myth seems to override them most times. My impression is they're all lies. It wasn't until 300 kilometres later in an area totally devoid of signs that this guy ran across the road in front of us. Obviously, it's the signs that are the curse.

I had to laugh out loud when this showed up on our GPS. Apparently it was a premature warning, just a slight glitch but it got me thinking. I guess the children in this part of BC are incredibly agile and athletic if the speed through their school zones are rated like this.  😅

Even the rest stops are pretty here.

As mentioned, we'll be covering a lot of the same ground over the next few days so if I don't have enough to make it interesting I may choose to post every other day. Don't worry I will continue to advise you via your email and will pick up my routine once we get to Kelowna on Friday.

Sunday 19 May 2024

May 19, 2024 - Day 20

 I forgot to mention yesterday that reality went against history and we actually did see some wildlife on the way in to Stewart. I forgot because I did not get any photos so it kind of makes me think it didn't happen. The speed limit is 100 on Highway 37 so by the time the beasty is spotted, I stop, turn the car around and go back three transports have passed and scared the poor thing away. First was the moose. I actually did take a very distant, very blurry shot (not worth posting) - it would be easier for you to find Waldo in my shot than the moose. Shortly thereafter we saw two bears in two different locations - same story with the traffic and the same results; though in these cases there are not even any bad photos. So here it is, my record of my wildlife sightings yesterday.

They talk a lot about bears up here so after yesterday's experience we couldn't resist getting this for Karen. It's for Karen because she'll wear it as a night shirt thus getting good use from it.

I mentioned yesterday I expected to see horses in this turn of the century frontier town. Sadly I cannot get that far back in time but this brought me a little closer - no horses just horsepower.

There's a nearly kilometre long boardwalk called the Estuary Boardwalk. It takes you out into the eco-zone protected and inhabited by local birds and plants. Nothing terribly unusual there but the background was certainly a pleasant addition to the walk.

After lunch we decided to take a walk to Alaska. It's an 8 kilometre return trip; we could have driven but we weren't sure if our rental policy allowed it. Flashback to a similar experience we had with Karen and Murray in 2012 on our trip to Arizona. We weren't sure what the policy did and did not allow so avoiding an errant trip into Utah we walked just to set foot in the state.

It's a bit odd; you can walk or drive freely into the US, no check points or stopping required but you cannot return without the proper procedure. Don't forget your passport!

Hyder, Alaska is an old gold mine town that has certainly seen better days. Referred to as a ghost town, it certainly is. The only thing open was a gift shop so we bought some fudge to keep everyone happy - especially us.

I'm so rarely in the photos - just had to prove I was there.

Time to start making our way back south tomorrow.  😞

Saturday 18 May 2024

May 18, 2024 - Day 19

We left New Hazelton headed for Stewart, a small BC town on the Alaskan border. We stopped to take a photo of this sign and a woman offered to take one of us - thank you, people are so nice.

As we passed the Junction at highway 37 and 37a we found where some of BCs biggest and most beautiful mountains are. This was the only time today the sun was out so nicely. Talk about lucky. It's hard to put this beauty into words. Stunning!

The toe of it is in BC with the balance in Alaska; no matter how you express it, it's an impressive sight. 
The Bear Glacier about 40 kilometres before you reach Stewart, BC.

Stewart welcomed us with an interesting sign. It was so nice we decided to have our lunch there.

We're staying at the Ripley Creek Inn, an accommodation consisting of 20 something rooms spread over several period buildings. Very different and very cool. Internet is hourly so I have to hurry. 

Guess I won't need to set that alarm...the neighbours should take care of that.

Our room is rather cool but it's a good thing that sofa is there because as soon as you step into the room the floor slopes steeply toward the window. The couch effectively provides a soft landing.

Somewhere along the line I swear we made a wrong turn and ended up in the 1890s. Where are all the horses? It feels like we're in an old western epic. Gorgeous town.  😎

Pretty busy eh? Don't worry it will get busier as evening approaches.

Friday 17 May 2024

May 17, 2024 - Day 18

The weather looked pretty iffy again but if it's like yesterday we'll get some breaks. With that in mind we headed out early for the Hagwilget Canyon. They say the view from the bridge and of the bridge is not to be missed.  

The peaks of the surrounding mountains are made of hard granite rock, which resists erosion relative to other rocks. Of the peaks visible here only the tops of two mountain ranges are sharp and irregular, indicating that they alone rose above the highest limits of the last Ice Age. Reading the interpretive signs really does give the illusion of intelligence.  😅

I'm used to seeing the odd homestead with an abandoned car or two in the front yard. This guy takes things to extremes. The guy walking his dog owns the only operable vehicle in this photo - none of the others are going anywhere soon.

There's what looked like (and was) an interesting pair of hiking trails about a kilometre from our hotel so after lunch and a short nap we walked over to the trailhead. The bear warning caught our attention right away but history dictates there is not a chance one will be anywhere to be seen while we're around.

The Waterfall Trail was not bad until the end then it became rather steep and rocky with several fallen trees to climb over. As is usually the case, the reward awaited us at the end.

Then there was the Lookout Trail. It was not a hill climb; it rose steeply and steadily along a rough, rocky, rooty trail straight up to the top of a mountain. Karen wisely (given her medical history) decided to stop and turn around at the half way point. I demonstrated no such intelligence. Was it worth it? Maybe - I must say it was a nice view of the town of Hazelton - that's our hotel in the upper left third of the photo.

So should a 72-year-old man in moderate shape at best be doing this? I guess I really am growing older but not up. Perhaps the tee shirt I changed into after a shower upon our return to the hotel says it best.

Tomorrow we'll be leaving for a two night stay in Stewart, the northernmost point we'll get to in BC on this trip. Hang with us - this is fun yes?


Thursday 16 May 2024

May 16, 2024 - Day 17

Today was a smorgasbord of all that BC has to offer in springtime mountain weather. Our journey started early in the rain but as we left Vanderhoof behind the clouds started to separate and the sun peeked through.

As we rose higher into the mountains the weather became more varied...and the scenery became more beautiful.

The culmination of the weather game was early winter - wet snow, sleet and hail! Just a little something to make the day more interesting.

The scenery peaked as we peeked upon entering Smithers. The traffic was a little nuts; wasn't expecting that. Where are all these people going...and where the hell did they come from? None of them were here as we entered the town.

We are staying in New Hazelton. Or is it Hazelton? It's all a blur. Our "mountain view" is partially obstructed by what I'm sure one day will be a low housing development. We're here for two nights so I sure hope tomorrow brings some decent, stable weather.

Wednesday 15 May 2024

May 15, 2024 - Day 16

 After a fabulous waffle and bacon breakfast we left Dave and Christy's just after 10AM. On the road again...a great song and even better sentiment marred today by what can only be described as crappy weather. For the first time this trip it rained the entire time we were driving. I'm guessing there were some gorgeous views out there amongst the rain, cloud and mist.

We landed at the Siesta Inn in Vanderhoof (I'm not making these names up). It is so dated it's cool. Definitely reminds me of Route 66. 

We were alone when we arrived...sadly that ended rather quickly.

We have had a couple of stays on this trip where the deadbolt lock on the door did not work. So imagine my surprise when I saw this indescribable system. I have stayed in hundreds of hotels and motels over the last 60+ years and have never seen anything like this. As I said...Route 66.

The motel comes with an unexpected bonus. There is a train that I swear runs through the back of our room bringing with it an unbelievably loud horn and a rumbling not unlike a 5 on the Richter scale earthquake. That should disrupt my sleep faster and more frequently than my crushing calf cramps.

Stay with us, we're still having a ball.

Tuesday 14 May 2024

May 14, 2024 - Day 15

 We have reached the half way point of the trip and this was a good way to celebrate it. Much of BC has a place in history for a gold rush, like so many places in Canada. The Bullion Pit Mine was an inspiring story of man's tenacity for extracting wealth from the ground in his search for gold. Although it was threatening rain and indeed did rain that did not spoil our day in any way.

The town of Likely is located where Quesnel Lake empties into the Quesnel River and is one of the few remaining Cariboo Gold Rush settlements. The descent from there to Quesnel Forks is a rugged ride down a steep 2 kilometre long gravel/dirt road.

Quesnel Forks is a ghost town in the Cariboo Region of BC. It is located at the junction of the Quesnel and Cariboo Rivers and is a very interesting, educational representation of the Gold Rush in general but the Chinese immigrant involvement in particular.

The restored pioneer buildings and historic cemetery are there to be explored. I found that very appropriate because when we were in Haida Gwaii with Dave and Christy in 2018 I dubbed us collectively the explorers.

I suppose I was a little larger in stature than the great people who helped build this country of ours.

Sadly, tomorrow we'll be leaving Dave and Christy. We cannot thank them enough for making our three days with them magical. We are headed for points north - exactly where remains to be seen - not even we know at the moment. I can only promise it will be an enjoyable journey.