Saturday, June 3, 2017

A Morning of Sightseeing

We must live right. It rained all night but stopped by the time Shadow and I went out at 5:30.  What luck  as we visited  downtown Prince Rupert. We had no trouble parking Harvee Too on a side street.

We walked to the Pacific Mariners' Memorial Park with a statue, memorial wall and the Kazu Maru, a small fishing boat that was found drifting near Haida Gwaii in 1987. The boat had come from Japan; its owner had gone out for a day of fishing and was never seen again.

 We walked through the  beautiful Sunken Garden which faces the provincial courthouse built in1923. It was used as a secret ammunitions storage site in WW II.

We wandered around  the quaint downtown area known as Cow Bay, an interesting blend of the historic ( old phone booths and lamp posts) and a bovine (black and white Holstein) theme in shops, galleries and restaurants. The Atlin Terminal, originally a fish plant, is the heart of Cow Bay and houses an art gallery, shops and a restaurant.

We visited the Museum of Northern B.C., housed in an impressive  northwest coast style longhouse. The exhibits of  First Nations artifacts were very interesting and included beautiful art and crafts.

We were in "the world's halibut capital" so naturally  ate halibut and chips at Smile's for lunch. Delicious.

We saw a few of the many totem poles erected at public buildings and in city parks.
Totem Park

It was 2:30 when we returned to the campground. Incredibly, it started to rain within minutes of our return, honestly. Thank you weather Buddha. We spent the rest of the afternoon doing our laundry and some housework.
Sunset was 10:15; we were still having trouble going to bed in daylight.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Prince Rupert: "Gateway to Alaska"

 It was both our shortest and wettest driving day, 150 km on the last leg of hwy 16 as it followed the Skeena River to Prince Rupert. We left the campground at 8:45, did some grocery shopping and topped up the gas tank. It was our most expensive fill-up, $200 @ $1.12.9 /litre. The rain started before we left Terrace at 10:20. It rained all the way to Prince Rupert, at times heavily. Fog often obscured the coastal mountains. Low lying clouds also clung to some mountains. The scenery was quite dramatic.

We stopped at a rest area beside the river for lunch. We passed several picturesque lakes as we neared Prince Rupert.

Once in Prince Rupert, we picked up literature at the visitor centre before checking in at Prince Rupert  RV Campground on hwy 16, just 2 km from the downtown.  It was 1:30. It poured rain for much of the afternoon but cleared in time for us to bbq steaks to mark our arrival on the coast.

After motoring 4,637 km., we reached the Pacific Ocean. Prince Rupert is the deepest natural harbour in North America, situated at the mouth of the Skeena River on Kalen Island. It receives 300 cm of rain a year. We could believe it!

First Nations Country

Overnight the rain ended and the fog rolled in. We waited for it to lift before driving the short distance into Houston. We stopped at the Visitor Centre to get pictures of "Canada's largest  fly fishing rod", a 60 foot long aluminium fly rod designed by a local avid fly fisherman and built by local volunteers.
We drove west through intermittent showers to the mountain town of Smithers,
nestled in the Bulkley Valley, surrounded by mountains. We stopped for a few groceries and continued to The Hazeltons, the collective name for several First Nations communities. It is also  known as the "Totem Pole Capital of the World" where more than 50 authentic totem poles are found.
The sun came out as we ate lunch at the visitor centre and followed the self guided tour of the area.
 We crossed the Bulkley River on the
Hagwilget bridge, one of the highest suspension bridges in North America. Built in 1932, it is 260 feet above the river.

We saw the Ksan Historical Village, a First Nations heritage site opened in 1970.  The site consists of a museum , longhouses and traditional totems.

We drove to a more remote community, Kispiox Village to see 15 totems that date back almost 100 years. Some of them were never finished.
 We continued west on hwy 16 as far as Terrace, the last major community before Prince Rupert. The scenery was breathtaking as the hwy followed the Skeena River through the Hazelton Mountains.  Our campground, not so appealing as the name suggests:  Wild Duck Motel &  RV Park. We drove 304 km and were most fortunate to have no rain for the best part of our drive. The temperature reached 20º.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Lakes District

                                                 We left  Prince George around  10:00  
and continued west on hwy 16 into the heavily forested lakes district. We left  the mountains behind.
 The  logging industry was very evident with numerous sawmills and traffic consisting  mostly of logging trucks.

We drove 300 km. through several small towns, each with an attractive welcome sign. The town of  Vanderhoof  is the geographical centre of British Columbia.
It became overcast;  we drove in and out of showers after lunch. We made an afternoon comfort stop in the village of Burns Lake.

Burns Lake

We stopped at 2:45 at the Shady Rest RV Park just east of Houston. A few more rigs arrived after us as the rain became more intense. It was 18º when we arrived but   the  temperature  quickly dropped to 11º with  the rain.   

The RV park has beautiful gardens and cherry trees in full blossom.
wildlife sightings

one of many lakes

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Prince George

We had another leisurely start to our day as we enjoyed what the campground had to offer.  It was already 15º when we left at 10:20 and continued west 220 km to Prince George, known as the capital of Northern B. C. where the Nechako River flows into the Fraser River and hwy 16 ( east/west) intersects with hwy 97 (north/south). It is also near the geographical centre of the province.
Hwy 16 went through  a heavily forested  valley with the Caribou Mountains to the south. Traffic was very light which allowed us to slow for wildlife sightings,  a black bear and  deer  beside the highway. We stopped twice at rest areas and arrived in Prince George around 2:00. We stopped to shop for groceries and gas
@ $1.01.9 before checking in at Sintich RV Park, another Good Sam campground. It was a hot and hazy 28º.
The  skies threatened but the rain held off until overnight.

Mr. PG, 27 ft. wooden mascot

Monday, May 29, 2017

British Columbia

It was clear and a refreshing 4º when we woke but warmed up quickly by the time we left the campground around 10:15. We made a slight detour  to drive through Jasper, population 5,235 before heading west on hwy 16, the Yellowhead Highway which took us from Alberta into British Columbia. The highway follows the Fraser River through mountains, forests and farmland.  We crossed the Continental Divide through the Yellowhead Pass, named after Tete Jaune, a local fur trader. At 3,760 feet, the Yellowhead Pass is one of the lowest passes   across  the Continental Divide.

We stopped at a rest area on Portal Lake which is also the east entrance to Mount Robson Provincial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The speed limit on the highway was often 70 k.p.h., warning of wildlife. We were not disappointed, seeing a black bear with two cubs, some deer and a baby moose. Another interesting sight was firefighters finishing  extinguishing  a small  fire.

We stopped at the Mount Robson Visitor Centre, the viewpoint for Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies at 12,972 feet.

Mount Robson

We ate lunch there before continuing a short distance to McBride and our next campground, Beaverview RV Park at 2:00 P.S.T. (new time). 

The campground backs onto the Fraser River.
It was nice to have a shorter motoring day, only 165 km.;
it was a hot  28º.