Dease Lake, BC (Sep 19/20) – Leaving Fraser Lake, the journey made a hard right onto Hwy 37 at the junction near Kitwanga, BC. New territory for J who has never been up this route, considering the reputation of the northern roads, J was pleased with the condition of the pavement and happy the potholes were few and far between…
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N drove this highway in the middle of winter over 25 years ago while on a northern community speaking tour. At that time the passage narrow, snow piled above the tree line making the vehicle feel like it was in a long …never ending snow tunnel. Communities along the way opening their doors to this young very green, ‘wet behind the ears’ hepatitis specialist. Familiar yet distant memories of a past time on this same route fade in the distance with this moment in the here and now, loving this journey, looking forward….
The snow-white birch trees with speckled black patches in the weathered bark gleam with their autumn leaves in brilliant hues of yellow gold. The beauty mesmerizing. The feeling of being surrounded with warmth and peace. This moment can change in an instant when you are the stranger in this wild land. As the Westies rounded a corner, across a bridge with a white frothing river flowing below, a large black image catches the traveler’s eyes. With walkie-talkies chattering back and forth, excitement over the radio waves, the plan is hatched to turn the vans around to get a better view. Standing on the banks of the river high up looking down on a very large mother Black Bear standing up on hind legs looking back across at these 4 human trespassers, one could feel the rage emanating from a her flared nostrils …protecting her 3 cubs was paramount.
The mother bear bolted into the bush and on cue the cubs followed in hot pursuit aware of the danger presented. Just as quickly as they left, the mother appeared again from the thick trees but even closer this time to the intruders, standing up on her back legs her large imposing presence, letting out her warning that she was fast, she was mean, AND she meant business. As the energy shifted, the bears reclaimed their position on the river fishing further down, they were left in peace.
Camp was setup at Meziadin Lake Provincial Park near the junction with Hwy 37A (the road to Stewart, BC). This ‘picture book’ idyllic lake front campsite was paradise. Luckily for this travelling team they could spend at least one night here as the park host was closing the campground the very next day for the season.
Kayaks were deployed for fishing & paddling the lake and the nearby island. The lake smooth as glass and the mountains in their shades of blue hugged the shoreline (Artists have remarked that BC has the most unique mountains for honing their work). A truly enjoyable rest in such a gorgeous setting. As the day came to a close and everyone readying for a good nights sleep the shower system in Hobbes’ was deployed by all…a great way to wash off the ‘road stink’.
The next morning brought The Bear Glacier, halfway to Stewart, BC along Hwy 37A, which was a grand sight. The receding blue wall of ice still immense, leaving scars where it once flowed. How much it has receded is testament of the ever-growing effects of climate change… the tell tale signs are there… will humankind ever pay attention???
The smell of the fresh salt air signified the arrival in Stewart, the coastal community with road access to Alaska. A walk back in time, the old structures and town streets showing their age, the dirt roads & basic amenities.
Although unable to enter the USA, a visit to the border was worth the drive, the friendly Canadian Border Agent encouraged a walk up to the yellow gate for pics…just don’t cross the line to Hyder, Alaska!!! (unless you want to quarantine for 2 weeks upon your return).
How fortunate to end up in lakeside campsites, during the busy summer periods this would be all but impossible. Boya Lake Prov Park was situated on the lake of the same name. While sitting around the fire enjoying the scene before us, a bear across from camp on the lake shore, our 11th bear sighting in 3 days …nature at its best!!! 🙂