Oh Canada! Crossing British Columbia

Early morning on July 3rd I left Purden Lake Provincial Park and headed west toward my next destination… the town of Smithers. Along the way I found a place to leave my motorhome behind in Vanderhoof so I could make a short side trip to Fort St. James National Historic Site.  While driving I came upon two mares… and their young colts, so cute I HAD to stop. The little brown one quickly became my favorite as he was obviously the more curious of the two. He stood still for a long time watching me as I whistled and nickered at them. Watching the four of them racing about the field kept me smiling for some time!

July 03, 2014-IMG_6133

mares and colts

mares and their colts

This little sequence of images is precious. There seemed to be a bit of competition going on between these youngsters… who was fastest maybe? Could be the brown and white colt is a little older and the other is watching and learning like a child would idolize an older sibling. Regardless, I loved the way he stopped in his tracks and stood perfectly still as the other scampers by alongside his mother.

July 03, 2014-IMG_6146July 03, 2014-IMG_6148July 03, 2014-IMG_6149July 03, 2014-IMG_6151

Fort St. James National Historic Site is a restored post of the Hudson’s Bay Company, home to the largest group of original log buildings representing the fur trade in Canada. The staff are dressed in period costumes and are well versed on the history of the post. It brought to mind the Grand Portage National Monument which I visited in 2013 while traveling through Minnesota and wrote about in this post… Min-uh-SOH-tuh and the Long Journey Back to Grand Tetons. 

Fort St. James National Historic Site, British Columbia, Canada

General Warehouse and Fur Store (storage)

Fort St. James National Historic Site, British Columbia, Canada

General Warehouse and Fur Store interior

Fort St. James National Historic Site, British Columbia, Canada

General Warehouse

Fort St. James National Historic Site, British Columbia, Canada

Men’s House

July 03, 2014-IMG_6171

Fort St. James National Historic Site, British Columbia, Canada

Trade Store

Fort St. James National Historic Site, British Columbia, Canada

Office

Fort St. James National Historic Site, British Columbia, Canada

Fort St. James National Historic Site, British Columbia, Canada

Murray House dining room

Fort St. James National Historic Site, British Columbia, Canada

Murray House bedroom

Young Longhorn

Young Longhorn

I couldn’t resist stopping to watch these youngin’s again on my way back to my motorhome!! Notice it’s the little brown colt watching me intently once again! So cute!  :-)

July 03, 2014-IMG_6208

Mares and colts

Once hooked back up to the motorhome we continued on toward Smithers. It was a lovely drive, and thankfully most of the stormy weather was off in the distance. Although I didn’t take the time to stop, two of the lakeside towns I passed along the way did catch my eye and were noteworthy enough to jot down in my journal as places to check out if/when I return to the area… Fraser Lake and Burns Lake. Since I’d already taken a bit of time for my side trip I pushed on toward my destination, Glacier View RV Park in Smithers.

I typically lean toward national and state parks (and provincial parks in Canada) as opposed to RV parks, but this was a very nice privately owned park with a spectacular view of the glacier on Hudson Bay Mountain.

British Columbia, Canada

Storm clouds over the mountains

British Columbia, Canada

Smithers, British Columbia, Canada

Hudson Bay Mountain and glacier

As one might imagine it’s a bit odd being out of the U.S. on our Independence Day. I celebrated the day with a morning hike to Twin Falls with Jazzy and Sadie, and kayaking on Kathlyn Lake that afternoon.

One of the Twin Falls

One of the Twin Falls

July 04, 2014-IMG_6275

Smithers, British Columbia, Canada

Osprey nest

Smithers, British Columbia, Canada

Lakeside farm

Smithers, British Columbia, Canada

Lake Kathlyn and Hudson Bay mountain

Smithers, British Columbia, Canada

Hudson Bay Mountain from Lake Kathlyn

Smithers, British Columbia, Canada

Loon and young on Lake Kathlyn

Smithers, British Columbia, Canada

Loon

The following morning I rolled on once again… toward Prince Rupert, the northern most point on the west coast of Canada. Along the way I stopped into the visitors center in the town of Terrace. The staff there suggested that a side trip to Nass River Valley, and particularly the Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed and Provincial Park, would be well worth my time.

This was a sixty mile side trip (each way), but they were right. It was worth the time. The oddest thing happened as I rounded the bend and entered the park. I was following behind a couple riding together on a motorcycle, and out of nowhere a coyote darted out into the road, lunging at them. They continued on but I quickly pulled off the road to observe this crazy critter. I photographed him with my windows down but when he came near the car looking like he might jump in, I rolled them back up. Jazzy and Sadie barked at him of course, which made him all the more curious. Since he didn’t seem unhealthy I have to assume that people must throw food to him from their cars. That is a huge no-no in nature, but that doesn’t stop people from doing it. Being drawn to passing traffic will likely get this guy run over one day.

Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Park, British Columbia, Canada

Coyote

Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Park, British Columbia, Canada

Curious coyote

While in the park I hiked with the girls to these two waterfalls, stopped for a few shots along the lava beds, and check out two local villages, Gitlaxt’aamiks and Gitwinkksihlkw, the second of which was once accessed only via the footbridge below. I was ticked to run into the couple on the motorcycle when I stopped to check out the bridge. We had an animated conversation about their near miss with the coyote. The man was curious to hear my take on what had actually happened… Did the coyote simply run into the road while they were passing, or did it look like he actually lunged at them? There was no doubt in my mind that they were his target. Strange occurrence.

Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Park, British Columbia, Canada

Beaupre Falls

Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Park, British Columbia, Canada

Vetter Falls

Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Park, British Columbia, Canada

Lava bed at Gitlaxt’aamiks

Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Park, British Columbia, Canada

Foot bridge at Gitwinksihlkw

Interestingly, while there I was roughly thirty minutes from the Alaskan border. Part of me was tempted to cross that invisible line so I could put the Alaska sticker on my map, but that would not have felt right. I’ve been there, but not on my journey. Running a tire through the state (or any state) just didn’t cut it. I’m hoping that sticker will be earned during an extensive visit… hopefully a summer traveling throughout the state.

The result of three years on the road. :-)

The result of three years on the road. :-)

By the end of the day I was camped in the port town of Prince Rupert completing my 945 mile trek east to west across British Columbia. I still have many great experiences to share from my western Canada tour, including a boat trip into Khutzeymateen Grizzly Sanctuary and a long ferry ride to Vancouver Island (motorhome and all!) Those are up next, so stay tuned!

 

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