Saturday, 22 September 2018

Tuk Trip - Day 29

     I may have left the impression that I did not enjoy Hope. Not so. It is a pretty mountain town. My disappointment is the TCH being part of it. We were here in the early 80s before the highway arrived. At that time Hope was charming. Today it is busy and overrun with people. The way around that is to get up ahead of everyone as we did this morning around 7AM. That's the secret...but I'm still ticked that they demolished the Rambo bridge.
     I have never seen a speed limit like this in Canada (see 2nd photo below). It really is a shame it is through a scenic mountain pass just north of Hope. What are you guys thinking?
     Doh! a deer! Actually about half a dozen of them. We drove by in the pouring rain, turned around, went back and sat watching them. As more cars went by they all got spooked and effortlessly jumped over the fence and headed into the woods. All but the fawn who knew where to go and crawled under the fence. Even the deer have an escape plan.
     It rained all day but finally stopped when we arrived in Cache Creek. It sits in the middle of a sage brush landscape unlike anything I ever anticipated seeing in BC. As a matter of fact I felt like I was in Texas or New Mexico. Beautiful!
the Fraser River in Hope, BC
certainly don't need this in such a picturesque (not so much today) spot
took getting to BC to see any wildlife
sure not what I expected to see in BC

Friday, 21 September 2018

Tuk Trip - Day 28

     The BC weather finally caught up to us big time. The rain overnight was torrential and minus some timely breaks it continued throughout the entire day and into the evening today. The Trans Canada Highway from Vancouver to Hope is not exactly stimulating so we got off at Abbotsford. As good a plan as that was there seemed to be more bloody people on the secondary road. I knew where I wanted to go but the Canadian road sign conundrum reared it's ugly head. I decided following a utility truck would get us going but we soon stopped behind it to ask where the hell we were.
     Back at the TCH we took a very short hike up to the Bridal Veil Falls. A steady climb to the foot of the falls, the result of a moisture-challenged summer, it was a nice break in the drive.
     We arrived in Hope mid-afternoon just in time for the skies to open and damn near drown us. Hope is a victim of the times. Many people in Vancouver told us there is no hope for Hope. Like countless towns along Route 66, Hope has suffered by the Trans Canada Highway passing through it. Why does progress always seem to destroy history? We were here in the early 80s and it was a charming mountain time. Now you have to get off the highway and search for the remaining signs of the old Hope. The ultimate blow came in 2011 when the Rambo bridge was demolished - a beloved piece of history gone forever.
Bridal Veil Falls
Karen on the Bridal Veil hiking trail
the approach to Hope, BC
old Hope - the appearance before the TCH brought hordes of people and ruined the ambiance

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Tuk Trip - Day 27

     Many people have told us the Museum of Anthropology at UBC should not be missed. It is raining here today so the ideal time to go. I'm not much of a museum person but the MOA, founded in 1949, is Canada's largest teaching museum and occupies a picturesque setting on the university campus.
     The MOA houses one of the world's finest displays of Northwest Coast First Nations arts and I was impressed with the enormous selection of artefacts on display. A few highlights are pictured below. I especially enjoyed the carved welcome figure The Cedar Man. I noticed immediately that this had obviously been incorrectly identified as it is unquestionably The Macarena Man.
     The fact that we spent 10 days on Haida Gwaii proved to be an asset as we found our understanding of the culture and art was increased as a result. Every little bit helps when you are trying to get an education.
a symbol of strength and leadership the eagle sits atop the poles
The Cedar Man? No, the Macarena Man!
Bill Reid's the Raven and the First Men
MOA grounds crown a perfect visit

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Tuk Trip - Day 26

     Sorry - a little late today but it's not every day you get such a beautiful one in Vancouver. We were originally going to walk to and across Granville Island then take a bus to meet an old school friend. However, it was such a great day we ended up walking all the way downtown to the Harbour Air depot on the waterfront.
     Vancouver is a beautiful city in the Coastal Range. Sadly I can't now or ever will be able to afford to live here - I can barely afford to visit. Granville Island is an older, charming Vancouver. The waterfront is entrancing. The Olympic site brings a wave of pride to our 2010 prowess in the winter. Harbour Air is the way air travel should be - I'll bet they don't lose much luggage.
     Paul Cote is a Vancouver lawyer and a school friend of both Karen and myself and a lot of people reading this blog. He is in good health, extremely happy and quite content working - he takes great pride in the commitment he has to his clients and rightly so. Paul makes a difference - that's special.
     We took the bus back to our B&B and met the best bus driver on the planet. He waved us through when we got on (maybe he just didn't want to deal with any more dumbass tourists) and at an intermediate stop walked back and handed us a couple of transfers. "This one's on me." He also asked us what street we wanted to get off at. It was a regular stop but he was prepared to stop where we needed him to. What a city!
view from the Granville Island bridge
Olympic memories
Harbour Air on the waterfront
Vancouver lawyer Paul Cote with Karen and Eric - old friends

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Tuk Trip - special edition

Well it took just about a month but our wayward bag was waiting for us at our B&B in Vancouver. It looks like it has been around the world. Thanks Air Canada, just what the hell am I supposed to do with this NOW?! Better late than never I guess.

Tuk Trip - Day 25

     Travel days are usually not exciting and often (at least for me) stressful days - we are presently in the Sandspit airport (for 7 hours) awaiting a 4 o'clock flight, hence the early posting. The timing on holidays does not always work, therefore, we were up at 5:15AM to get to the docks in Skidegate by 8. Lucky we did because it was dark, raining and the traffic was horrendous - I think we passed 10 cars in 100 kilometres.
     We each made our connection; Dave and Christy the BC Ferry to Prince Rupert and Karen and I the local ferry to Sandspit. As when we arrived on Haida Gwaii it was windy and raining. The amazing thing is the weather was almost perfect between those two events.
     So we bid a fond farewell to Haida Gwaii, on our way to Vancouver for a few days. It was a cultural experience in a beautiful part of Canada that few see. We are blessed to be amongst those who did and the journey has touched us - the natural beauty of Canada is second to none and one can never run out of opportunities to participate in life from coast to coast to coast.
it was a delightful 10 days
a little less than 7 hours in the Sandspit airport and nothing much changed

Monday, 17 September 2018

Tuk Trip - Day 24

     We awoke to the news that Air Canada seems to have located our luggage; they were informing me that they planned to send it to us in Inuvik. Well, we haven't been there for two weeks now. They just keep amazing me.
     Our home in Masset looks even nicer at sunrise. It has been a wonderful place - not much of a view but the house is perfect.
     Created by molten lava being forced up in cracks in the earth's crust Tow Hill has the best hiking trails I have ever seen. Plank boardwalks sealed in shingle-like slip-proof covers with a visible leading edge made the stairs safe and manageable and the flatter surfaces wheelchair accessible. The network is about 4 kilometres long but leads to some very interesting, beautiful sites.
     This is our last day together on Haida Gwaii - not counting the drive back to Skidegate at 6AM tomorrow. We plan to go out to dinner to celebrate our good fortune. Thank you Dave and Christie for making this such a meaningful and memorable vacation. Old friends are the best friends and I don't mean age I mean duration.
Eagle's Landing sunrise
that's Alaska in the background - it really is
the blowhole
the Haida Gwaii explorers for the last time
Dave on the Tow Hill Trail

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Tuk Trip - Day 23

     Once again today was a perfect weather day. Clear blue skies and about 15 degrees - it actually got hot walking in the sun. The drive up Tow Hill Road was beautiful through heavy forests emerging through tunnels into the sunlight at times. We passed a nudist camp sign but as much as Dave and I looked we couldn't find anything. Maybe someone tampered with the sign as was evidenced when we got to the Old Ass Road.
     The hike at Agate Beach was on comfortable hard-packed sand so seemed effortless. Not so for the salt marsh hike that followed as we circled the marsh on an nondescript circuit of roads and trails. When I asked the guy in the centre how far it was he indicated, "Oh, it's quite a ways." He was right.
unusual moss pods in the branches on Tow Hill Road
Agate Beach
it was a peaceful walk - notice the crowds - I feel like I'm in Nova Scotia
Christy and Karen finishing the beach walk
the sign says it all

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Tuk Trip - Day 22

     It didn't take long to get to Massett and we found out quickly it depended where you were as to whether there was one T or two in the town name. It is definitely the largest and most populous town in Haida Gwaii. One thing that is undeniable - it was a glorious day; sunshine, gorgeous blue skies and a temperature of about 14 degrees.
     There's an Old Massett as well. It is more cultural being on the reservation. All street signs are in Haida and sadly, the homes are quite dilapidated in spots. There are totems everywhere and most of the people we saw live there. Not a lot in the way of tourists and crowds. Awwww.
cranes swarm the chicken ranch to get to the grain feed in the ground
totems galore in Old Massett
a serious decision on nutrition
designated locations for hitchhiking in Haida Gwaii

Friday, 14 September 2018

Tuk Trip - Day 21

     A calm river setting resplendent with reflections is a relaxing way to begin any morning. Port Clements is a short 21 kilometre drive from our current home in Tlell so didn't take us long to get there. The Golden Spruce Trail is short but awe-inspiring with its huge cedar trees and mossy green rainforest appearance.
     It was overcast with some sunny breaks and actually rained for a while but it was difficult to tell under the heavy canopy. It's hard not to be thankful and revel in this almost haunting beauty.
Tlell River reflections
Golden Spruce Trail
end of the trail - near where the golden spruce used to be
the Haida Gwaii explorers

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Tuk Trip - Day 20

     The Pesuta was a 264 foot barge shipwrecked in a winter storm in the Hecate Strait in 1928. The remains lie north of the Tlell River on East Beach in the town of Tlell where we are staying.
     A hiking trail leads out to the ruins. It is a moderately difficult trail of 10 kilometres round trip (though at times that certainly felt like 20) but it is a beautiful hike and well worth the effort. The first 2 kilometres is through a beautiful BC rain forest; some steep hills, a few roots and some muddy sections but by and large a very enjoyable journey on soft moss pathways.
     The forest trail leads down to the beach which is a gravel roadway that continues for 3 kilometres to the site of the wreck. The ship did not miss the open ocean by a lot - missed it by that much! The return trip was a little dicey as the tide was coming in quickly and spots we easily crossed on the way in were now underwater. We made it back to the van, weary but very happy we made the attempt.
The Pesuta Hiking Trail
The wreck of the Pesuta
                                                                Eric and Karen at the Pesuta
the cranes visit our cottage each night to steal the chicken feed for the resident fowl

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Tuk Trip - Day 19

     Today was a beautiful day right from the sunrise. It's the first day since we left home where it has been sunny all day with absolutely no threat of rain. We spent some time in the museum which is not something I normally do but thanks to our trip yesterday we knew something of the history and culture of Haida Gwaii and that made all the difference in the world.
     The town of Tlell is only about 40 kilometres north of Queen Charlotte so it didn't take us long to get there once we got going. A stop at Balance Rock was a tourist must and a picnic lunch at Jungle Beach rounded out a leisurely trip to our second home on Haida Gwaii.
the start of a beautiful weather day
mid-section of a monumental pole from K'uuna
the ladies at Balance Rock - two days ago this was nearly underwater

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Tuk Trip - Day 18

     Today was a fabulous introduction to the real Haida Gwaii. A wet and wild zodiac tour (wet from the weather at the beginning of the day, wild as I swear we were airborne at least part of the time) took us to the Haida village of K'uuna.

     We saw more wildlife today than we have seen this entire trip. Started with the bald eagles in the camp where we started. We had seen a lame deer on the road - sadly I think his days are numbered and another at the Haida village. On the way back we encountered a Humpback whale, fairly close to the zodiac. As we left there was a bear on the road but I was in the back of the van so was fortunate to see it - getting a photo was out of the question.
The four of us are off to Tlell for a few days tomorrow. Apparently internet is bad to non-existent so the blog may be missing in action for a few days. It's all part of the adventure.
the 4 explorers
Haida Gwaii
bald eagle

deer at K'uuna
Humpback whale
whale tail