Since we’d done this section of the road before, there weren’t too many stops to make and it was a dull grey rainy day. When we got to the intersection of the Cassiar Highway we headed south, leaving the Yukon and entering BC. We heard about Boya Lake PP so decided to drive in to see if we wanted to stop early and enjoy the park. It was beautiful, no question, we were stopping for the day. We enjoyed the views and did a short hike to the Beaver Lodge before the rain set in.
There isn’t much along the Cassiar except beautiful scenery! We weren’t too long on the road when we came across a red fox acting weird. He was stalking something (a black blown out tire) on the road. We stopped and he came right up to the side of Sharon’s side. We realized the fox was injured and probably couldn’t see very well. I guess people must feed him/her since it seemed to be waiting for food. However, the park rangers will tell you “A fed animal is a dead animal”. When wild animals become too used to humans and handouts something has to be done. They were really talking about the bears, but I think it applies here too. Sorry buddy, good luck with your hunting, stay away from tires. If you’ve seen the TV show Jade City you might recognise some of the pictures here as we stopped at their gift shop to see the Jade being cut and the carving they make from the jade. As we headed further south we saw two black bear cubs but we didn’t see mama bear.
It was Friday so we were a little worried about getting a camping spot in a Provincial Park without a reservation, so we decided to stop early which turned out great as we got a campsite right on the water at Kinaskan PP. We did the short lake trail and saw some amazing different types of mushrooms growing along the trail. We got back to the RV just before the rain started coming down heavy.
We were glad we got through this area and further south, as that night they had lots of snow, where we only had more rain. When we got to the junction for Stewart BC we decided to stay at Meziadin Lake PP for the night, although this time we couldn’t get a campsite on the water. It rained most of that night so we played some cribbage, winner gets their coffee/tea made for them in the morning.
The rain continued the next day as we headed down the road past the Bear Glacier to Stewart. We checked into the Bear River RV park and then went to the visitor’s centre to get the blog posted. We wandered around town in the rain and then went on the estuary board walk.
It was early so we headed over to Hyder Alaska to Fish Creek. It is an area where the salmon spawn and the grizzly bears come in for an easy meal. The prior day they only had one bear (numbers have been lower this year) and didn’t think they’d get one this day as the water was high from all the rain. We decided to hang around and as they say, be patient, waiting to see if a bear would arrive. After a few hours of enjoying the fish, birds and scenery we decided to head out. Sure enough, as we’re driving away a grizzly walks right in front of the RV!!! We parked and quickly went back to the viewing platform. The bear gave everyone quite a show. The bears only like the female salmon, they take the eggs and leave the rest of the fish on the shore. This bear was having some eggs, then a few berries, catch another fish, if they got a male salmon they’d just leave it. I guess when there are so many fish you can be picky. It was very interesting to watch the grizzly from a safe vantage point. Afterwards we stopped at the Seafood Express bus for a great meal. It’s one women, she cooks each order from scratch so you have to wait awhile but it was worth it. We then crossed the border to get back into Canada, likely our last border crossing for the trip.
Before leaving the area we checked out the Stewart museum. We learned about the mining history and saw some info on the movies that have been filmed in the area. It was interesting because the host toured us through the rooms and gave us some of the history. They also had a 1-hour movie about the town’s Gold Rush past. There was a display about the Broken Arrow which was a B-36 bomber that crashed in 1950 and eventually they found parts of the plane and some suits but they never found the nuclear bomb that was on board. We drove back out to the main highway and once again headed south.
Our first stop was the Meziadin Fish Ladder and camp. The local first nation band runs the camp and donates a lot of the fish they process. They smoke and steam the fish or locals can order how many fish they want so they can process them on their own. They get lots of bears and wolves in the area due to the salmon run. I bought a T-Shirt and they gave you 1 lb of smoked salmon with the purchase.
We were heading for Kitwanga for the night but we had a couple of stops before reaching there. First was Gitanyow to see the largest collection of Totem Poles, some of them incredibly tall.
Next we stopped to see Gitwangak Battle Hill, a National Historic Site of Canada. The Gitwangak people occupied this site along the river’s edge in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s and they were very successful at winning battles here due to the shape of the hill. They kept logs with spikes in them at the top and if someone tried to attack the hill they would roll the logs down crushing the opposing forces. When we climbed down and up the stairs to the top of the hill we were extremely lucky as we got to see a Grizzly Bear mom and her two cubs by the river. They went into the bush but we could hear one of the cubs whining for his mom.
The next morning we headed out in the rain and stopped to see the old church in Gitwanjak and there was another set of totem poles. One of the poles had a Golden Eagle sitting on top of it, a live one.
As we headed east we stopped in the historic town of Hazelton to see the Hagwilget Canyon Bridge, the old buildings in the downtown area through a walking tour and the ‘Ksan Historical Village.
We made a short stop at Moricetown Canyon to watch the fishermen use dipnets while harnessed in by the rushing water in the canyon. They even had hard hats on, I guess they’ve had fishing safety 101. The other theory is they were a group of government workers doing fish counting.
We had read about an area where you could view old fossils. We drove several km down the road and hiked in but were a bit disappointed when you couldn’t really see the fossil cliffs. Luckily they had a few broken fossil pieces at the display panel so we got to see those. Finally we made our way to the Tyhee Lake PP for the evening where we sampled our chocolate bars purchased at the Hazelton Visitor Centre, boy were they good.
The next day as we passed through Houston of course we had to stop to see the World’s Largest Fly Rod. Many of the visitor centres in this area actually have a fishing rod loaner program so you can try out their excellent fishing lakes. This visitor centre also had a 975 lb grizzly bear on display that had been killing cattle in the area. In the park they had a Mexican stone crushing wheel that was used to break down the mining ore so they could get at the gold.
We had read about the Mountain Biking in Burns Lake so we picked up the trail map and went to Kager Lake to camp for the night. Again we did some beginner trails and also tried some intermediate trails, which involved some walking. I did go flying over my handlebars into the bush when I didn’t handle a rock jump properly, no injuries😉 The campground was small and had room for a few RV’s but it also had some really nice tent sites around the lake. We were talking to a lady in the campground when a large black bear walked right through the campsites. We had to put her dog in our RV as she was worried that the dog might chase the bear as Jasmine (the dog) had never seen a bear before! Eventually the bear wandered off into the bush. The local MTB association had done a great job with the trails and just wanted a donation for the camping.
The following day we took a 60 km side trip to Fort St. James in order to see the National Historic Site. There were tons of logging trucks in the area. At Fort St. James, they had several buildings dating back to 1884-1889 and in each building they had a costumed staff person who would tell you about the building and life in that time period. They had a cool thing where kids could take a fur from the warehouse building and go to the trading post building and negotiate to trade their fur in for a pin😉 They also had chicken races but we had missed those in the morning. They had Atlatl tools where you could try throwing the arrow towards the target. After a worker showed us how to do it we got the hang of it. We really enjoyed the visit to the Fort.
We’ll pick up the pace a bit now as we need to get a few more kms/day logged. I’ll likely work on the next blog once we’re back in Winnipeg in early September.