Archive for the ‘British Columbia’ Category

Prince Rupert – Next Stop Alaska 06/03/2009

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

We left Jasper area on June 1st on way to Prince Rupert. We stopped in Prince George for the night at a Walmart. We got oil changed for the car before continuing. We arrived in Price Rupert on June 2nd. We depart on ferry for Ketchikan on 10:15 am. It is a 5-6 hour trip.

The scenery from Smithers to Prince Rupert was outstanding as the coastal mountains appeared and we wound our way through the passes to reach our destination.

We planned to spent at least part of day in Prince Rupert kayaking. We took a drive aroundall the roads in Prince Rupert area in search of a good place to Kayak. We didn’t find a good put-in that interested us. We visited Port Edward and Richey Island. We ended up hiking Dianne Creek. It was an interesting hike. It was almost like seeing in a rain forest. The cool water rushing by in the river creek caused moments of coolness in the heat of the day. We saw an occasional red wood tree and a black Blue bird(?). We also forgot our camera. We are wondering if all we have seen will dull our Alaska experience.

Prince Rupert was larger than we expected. Our campground for two nights was right up the street from the ferry. Our site was quiet and shaded with a lot of privacy. The ferry station was empty of people, workers or anything else the first two times we visited. There is nothing else there except the BC ferry. It seems that the people work when the ferry is coming or leaving. This morning, we met a man who had worked all night and was closing the ferry station for the day at 10 am in morning! He did tell us all we needed to know.

We arrive in Alaska tomorrow! Looking forward to ferry.

Ferry to Ketchikan & “Bridge to No Where” 6/4/2009

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

We had to arrive at ferry dock in Prince Rupert at 7:15 am for our 10:15 am departure. We needed to have car and camper length measured, go through customs and load vehicles. Watching the process of loading vehicles was interesting as some were going to Ketchikan and others were going further. They also had to balance the weight on the car deck.

The voyage was scenic and uneventful. The crew were very courteous. The food service was surprisingly good.

When we arrived in Ketchikan at 3:30 PM, we found a fairly large city. It is the 4th largest city in Alaska.

We are camped in Tongas National Forrest in Last Chance Campground about 7 miles from the city. Our site is alongside a running brook with a lot of privacy in the woods. Outhouse and old fashion water pump are down the road. This is what we call rustic campering.

Cell phone works to our surprise. We have to get closer to city to pick up internet broadband signal.

At the airport parking lot, there are two ferries that take passengers and workers across the narrow passage between the mainland city and the island where the airport is located. This is where the “bridge to no where” was planned to be built. This bridge make a lot of sense. Although no one lives on the airport island, building the bridge was part of their economic strategy for the future. The media circus and political outcries about this “pork” project were quite off the mark.

Thru Yukon to Tok, Alaska June 30, 2009

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

We left Haines on June 28 and drove up the scenic Haines Highway past the famous Chilkat Eagle Preserve, through  Canadian Customs into British Columbia and into Yukon. We stopped at Million Dollar Falls and campground but decided to move on to Kathleen Lake Campground as recommended to us.

Kathleen Lake is a mountain Lake with pretty glacier water and beautiful mountains rising right up out of the lake on most points. We paddled down most of the lake the next morning when the clouds covered the tops of the mountains. We were going into the wind with moderately rough waves. We turned around after we had had enough tough paddling.

We broke camp and headed to Haines Junction where we bought food and filled the gas tank. It was a smaller village than we anticipated. One store for food. There were a few restaurants, gas stations and gift shops. Haines Junctions is where Alaskan Highway meets the Haines highway.

We headed up the Alaskan Highway to Tok. We finally found a road that wasn’t quite 1st class.
There were many parts that were being constructed. Everywhere you had to be on the lookout for bumps in the road and poor road surfaces.

We stopped at Cottonwood RV Park near Destruction Bay on Kulane Lake, which is the largest lake in Yukon Province. This was an outstanding campground. The owners were real friendly and caring people. The facilities were immaculate. This was a one night stand place in that there is no reason to stop there except as a place to stay while passing through. They asked you to take your garbage with you when you leave. There were rest areas along the way where you could deposit your garbage. The campground was right on the lake. The views of the mountains were majestic. Overnight, it rained while the mountains could some fresh snow. The owner told us they clear out of there the 1st week in September.

In the morning, we headed for Tok, Alaska – a drive of about 200 miles. On the way we stopped for  a 2 mile hike to Hidden Lake in a wildlife refuge and a hike down to a trapper’s cabin at the ranger station. There was a brown bear in the area so the park ranger gave us pepper spray to use in case we ran across the bear!

We got the Tok Sourdough RV Campground late in the afternoon. This is a relatively fameous full service campground. They serve an all you can eat pancake and reindeer sauage breakfast for $12. When you check in, you can do a pancake toss. If you can get one of the two pancakes in the bucket, breakfast is on them! 

We finally met the bugs in droves at Kathleen Lake. After set up, we hunted down the flies inside for a while until we got them all.

The Wifi is monitored up here to disallow uploading/downloading large files such as Photo’s. You can Skype either.

We postponed the posting of the above pictures pic’s until we got to Valdez. We went to primitive campground in Wrangell-St Elias National Park for 3 days without any Internet at all.

Our car and trailer are now brown with dirt. We are headed for an Alaskan Car Wash to get all the junk off.

Cassiar Highway to Stewart, BC – Hyder, Alaska 8/25/2009

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

We drove all day down the Cassiar Highway from Watson Lake to Stewart-Hyder. We started and ended in the rain with periods of partly blue sky in between. This highway has many beautiful spots to stay overnight and relax. The whole trip was scenic with the last 40 miles down canyons to Stewart, BC  being especially spectacular. The canyons were narrow with craggy rough mountains raising up on both sides as the road wound down to sea level. We passed Bear Glacier as close to the highway as any glacier we had seen.

Stewart-Hyder Alaska – Best day for last? 8/26/2009

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

We woke up on morning of 8/26/2009 to find the rain had gone and the day was beautiful.  Since the rain returned the next morning,  this would be our last day in Alaska. It would rank among our best days on our trip.

Who would have thought that Stewart, BC – Hyder had so much to offer.

We came here to see Fish Creek Salmon Observation area in Hyder, Alaska. This is where Black Bears and Grizzlies  come to feast on Salmon. We did see many, many Salmon spawning in 2 miles long creek. There were many people and photographers waiting for the bears to show. We came twice to find them and never saw them at the creek. We did spot a couple of teenage bears as we found our way back to Hyder from our trip the the Salmon Glacier.

The 20 mile mountian gravel road trip to the top of the Salmon Glacier was stupendous! Fred was white knuckling most of the drive. The mountain/canyon views were outstanding. We were able to see the Salmon Glacier from its toe all the way up to the ice field at the top.  We looked down to the glacier from the road. This is the only trip like it anywhere we had been. It also came as a complete surprise. We didn’t know about it until we arrived here.

We would classify Stewart-Hyder as a must see. It appears to be not highly recommended and out of the way. This are presented us with a fond farewell from Alaska.

The Bear River RV campground was woodsy, full service, a Good Sam and inexpensive. We had lunch at  The “Bus” in Hyder as recommended at the campground. The seafood was outstanding. The owner’s husband does the fishing, she does the cooking. Her seafood chowder was the best Fred has had in along, long time.

Bears, Float Planes, Blown Tire – Smithers, BC 8/27-29/2009

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

When we left the Stewart-Hyder area on 8/27/2009, a black bear was eating at the side of the road as if saying goodbye for our Alaska visit. 

We pulled into Tyhee Lake Provincial Campground just south of Smithers, BC. We bought a stack of firewood and enjoyed a campfire after dinner.  In the morning, we got the oil changed for the car and shopped for groceries in Smithers. Then we paddled on Tyhee lake. A float plane came in for a landing right over our heads. A little while later another one took off just before reaching us. 

On Saturday 8/29/2009, we were planning on going to a provincial campground between Prince George and Whistler, BC. It was sunny all day with the temperature getting to 84. After passing through William Lake BC, the right trailer tire blew up. This was our first tire problem of the trip. It took us about 2 hours to change the tire. We had to figure how to do this. It is a good thing we decided to buy a bottle jack in Watson Lake, Yukon a week ago. It came in handy.

When we pulled into an RV Park. it was pitch black. We put on beans and franks for a 10 PM dinner.

In the morning, we will depart for Whistler for a couple of days before going to visit Vancouver.