Tag Archive: British Columbia


Driving To Jasper

Loved seeing the rain falling.

Loved seeing the rain falling.

Went down the mountain and what’d I find!  More mountains! Love Canada, nice people and vast expanses.  At first I’d considered a retreat to Seattle, but then it occurred to me to travel the last part of my planned trip ….  it was a straight shot on the map from Prince George to the Rockies and I hadn’t been there in over 46 – 47 years ….  easy-peazy, so that made my decision.

The beautiful roads of BC

The beautiful roads of BC

The day I arrived in Prince Rupert I also left, I drove and drove with some sort of idea that I’d drive forever and I might have but I saw an inconspicuous sign next to a river for an RV Park and curious about the river I turned off the highway. It was a lovely ramshackle place. It didn’t’ seem open but wasn’t completely deserted either. I was encouraged by a motorist camped for the night in an SUV to ask the proprietor if I could stay…  I knocked softly on the door around the corner from the closed office and the most friendly face appeared and said, Yes we’re closed, yes you can stay and yes, it’s free. That was perfect!  (When I find my notes I’ll post the name and the link of the campground.)

A shot from the closed campground!

A shot from the closed campground!

Another view walking around the closed campground

Another view walking around the closed campground

The next day I stopped in McBride to learn about Jasper National Park which was coming up fast.  The weather that day was fun for me, sunny, to deeply cloudy with a touch of thunderstorms. I talked to the Info people…  I often do this, not only is it their job but they have great places to share that one might not otherwise know about. It was recommended to drive around downtown and to visit Horseshoe Lake on off the Fraser River if I liked birds. The lake is visiting ground to waterbirds such as wood ducks, green and blue-winged teals, hooded mergansers, redheads, grebes, falcons and bald eagles in season. No one else was there, it was a lovely spot for a quick lunch.

Horseshoe Lake< McBride

Horseshoe Lake< McBride

View From Horseshoe Lake

View From Horseshoe Lake

No wonder birds love this place.

No wonder birds love this place.

I didn’t take any photos but I was very impressed, amazed at how clean and fresh the little mountain town of McBride, like a picture postcard presented itself. Do people really live in such romantic places? would be very cool to take the train from McBride.

Just over the mountain…  yeah! Another mountain and the gateway to Jasper and Baniff. It’s a bit over 2 hours from McBride to Jasper, 166 kms. I looked for but did not find a camping spot just before crossing into Alberta and so landed in another lightly populated RV camp inside of Jasper Park for the night. I can only imagine how crowded it must get when the season really opens for travelers.

Spotted These Guys near Jasper

Spotted These Guys near Jasper

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What a sweet place for a picinic lunch. I learned to eat by the roadside back in the '60s ...  Mom always packed fixings for yummy roadside lunches.

What a sweet place for a picnic lunch. I learned to do this back in the ’60s … Mom always packed lunch to eat along the road.

Sleeping Beauty Land…  starting to enter the land of fantasy, from wide valleys to tree studded icy peaks amid lakes, rivers and gaining elevation. If it hadn’t been too costly to take the Inside Passage Ferry from Bellingham, WA with my little LT, I would likley not have been on this road. Some years ago I’d toured the Ferry Station looking longingly at the dock remembering the family trip to Alaska…  I’d wanted to go again, the feeling so strong I almost broke open my wallet to see if I could gain passage. The office was closed or who knows, maybe there would have been a cancellation and the dogs and I (at that time Olympia and Mason) might have hopped on board. As things were where I was, troubles were industriously laying themselves in my path, even weary, achy, tired and sad I didn’t know yet that I would cancel my passage. I was determined.

A walk at a rest stop

A quiet walk at a historical marker and lake.

Spent the night in Terrance at a truck stop after rejecting the Walmart parking lot. Some idiot started a huge bonfire of heavy smoke in the nearby provincial campground…  seemed the entire woods were sputtering in a noxious plume. I can’t breathe that stuff esp since the time my father’s house exploded in the Oakland Hills, CA fire.  I’d foolishly gone to explore the ruins (there wasn’t anything left but a bathtub and the foundation,) apparently doing so damaged my lungs and sinuses …  my head ached, sinuses throbbed, ears went on strike, I was tired, thoracic outlet painfully cramping my fingers adding worries about permanent damage ….  I was weary. I wanted easy joy and laughing fun; instead I was failing at biting my tongue, trying to keep silent or  making a panacea come out of my vocal cords; no matter how I tried the results made things worse. Guess I’m not good at focusing.

Carpets of Yellow

Near Frasier Lake, Fort Fraser Post which was later absorbed by the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Along with Smithers there were lots of beckoning waysides. I considered a side trip to Fort St James National Historic Site but as with the majority of attractions it would not open until June 1st. Different circumstance I would have seen more; this trip was about the road which I enjoyed and things close to the road.

The Bark Beetle  Please take a look at this link and the attached research pages!  Dead trees are everywhere! By the time you see an evergreen turning yellowish-orange brown, that tree has died. I have read that distressed trees give off  a certain distinctive scent (maybe a use for my Truffle Hounds to search these out?) http://www.avtreefarm.com/insects/barkbeetles.htm

Mountain Pine Beetle

Mountain Pine Beetle

It’s not drought alone that causes a distressed forest. Lack of water is only one factor; pollution, heat stress, altering seasons and other causes exacerbated by rapidly changing climate give opportunity for explosive outbreaks of the beetles and sometimes fungus as well.  This is nature at work. How will this massive tree die-off effect the balance of life? Should nature be left alone to change and adapt, should forest management be intensified? In whatever way you feel, dying trees are an indicator. Look around you, the environment is changing at a rapid pace. Take a walk in your neighborhood and places you visit; listen, look, observe and study. What action will you take? How will you adapt? How will you teach your children? How will you interact with your neighbors or the cries of those far away? Will you mourn silently or not at all? How will you be with food and water increasingly expensive or not available? fires? rough weather? unrest? diseases? Is it time yet to stop arguing and start working together…  yes? If not, then when?

 

The road I traveled

The road I traveled

Poem by William Stafford, Atavism

On to Prince George

A very nice little hike to Twin Falls / Glacier Gulch near the town of Smithers.

A very easy path to see the falls and hiking trails beyond.

A very easy path to see the falls and hiking trails beyond.

Twin Falls

Twin Falls on Hwy 16. BC

 

BC 97 is smooth, pretty, in remarkably great surface condition, supplied with roadside picnic benches, rest areas with outhouses and informational, ecological and historical interest kiosks. there are tons of side roads waiting to be discovered…  if only one had the time! You’re in Gold Rush country with opportunity for exploring, fishing, camping, hiking, cowboy bars and rodeos amid tree studded lakes, icy mountain vistas and an interesting array of towns. It’s hard to know you’re in another country. The stores are similar, it all feels familiar except you have to go inside and pay for your gas often needing to estimate how much you need. The further you travel north and then west the more lovely it becomes.

 

Without stopping its over 9 hours from Halycon to Prince George, I was determined to make the drive fast to get back on track. I was gonna make it to the ferry on time! I don’t normally like to drive more than 4 or 5 hrs, certainly not 12 but sometimes apparently I am willing to do so.

Rain in BC

Rain in BC

I adored the intense and sudden downpour on the hwy…. one moment kinda sunny with the sort of clouds you could lie on your back and gaze at with no end of stories from their faces and gestures. I didn’t have time for daydreams so instead they burst forth on me and my little LTV. Wow! Soaking drama! Lightening lit the sky splitting the horizon into perfect thirds and rain, yes RAIN… dear Southern Californian’s!!!  Rain battered and pelted the air making music on my fiberglass auditorium. I was impressed and a bit shaky as waves hit and broke under the LT’s front end, but she pulled through! All those folks with their speedy cars and strong trucks have no idea what they’re missing. We went slow. I compared notes in the look in the driver’s eyes with the vehicle that pulled in beside me, it was cool, this was Canada, we didn’t have to talk about it. The rain is bigger here, the rain drops are massive. I think the rain totals are close to 60 inches a year…  maybe only 3 inches in May. I would like to live where it rains and where there are clouds; cloudless skies seem blank and empty to me. I do love sun and long long days, but I love the kind of sun that shines in the clouds. And I love rain that falls hard then melts away.

 

I walked in an huge park in Prince George, it was so beautiful but I was that dogs were not permitted in the waterfront park, yet they were allowed on the trail...  confusing at best, sad at worst.

I walked in an huge park in Prince George, it was so beautiful but I saw a sign that said dogs were not permitted in the waterfront park, yet they were allowed on the trail… confusing at best, sad at worst. A man was playing violin at the park. Lots of people with dogs, good that the pups cannot read!!!!

Prince George is in the Lheidli T’enneh territory. Maybe I could live there, I liked it in my very very brief visit. A 2-bedroom apartment rents for around $707, in Santa Barbara a 2-bedrrom apartment rents for $1,996 and I think that’s a low estimate. I don’t know how I’d feel about the winter snow and burrrr cold along with the isolation and of course, I’d need to move it closer to the ocean! The town origins are from fur trading, then the railroad arrived. There are 120 parks in the city, 1600 lakes within one hour, 7 ice rinks, dance clubs, skiing and soccer. Sadly the city suffers from air pollution, wonder if they do vegan there? Probably not.  Spent the night at the casino in their parking lot.