Hudson’s Hope, BC (Oct 01/20) – The weeks cozying by, the first signs of snow blanket the morning mountaintops, so with obvious signs that winter was on its way… the Westfalia Crew pointed their wheels south. The Yukon experience was well worth the effort, definitely a return visit to be considered once Covid-19 has resolved itself (next time Alaska would be an added attraction).
After passing back into British Columbia, signs along the highway warning motorist to be aware of bisons on & along the roadway began to appear. Not to be disappointed, the ‘Westy Gang’ were so excited when ‘bisons by the boatloads’ appeared on the horizon…
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One large group of bison slowed traffic to a stop as they were on either side & on the highway itself. Jesse wasn’t really sure what he was looking at, hiding behind the curtain while peaking out of the windows, straining his neck to get a full eye view at these magnificent beast.
Sadly, a grisly discovery further down the road in a makeshift turnoff, a young female bison was found dead lying on her side. It appeared she was shot just a short time earlier & her horns cut-off, pictures were taken & once reaching cell service the poaching reported to RAPP (Report All Poaching & Pollution) line. Such a disgusting act of inhumanity.
The highways of the north are long, uninterrupted corridors of nature without communities & no cellular service. This was the scene when a stranded traveler was noticed on the side of the road (hood up, standing staring into the engine compartment), seemingly praying for a resolution to his predicament. Hobbes did a U-turn and returned.
The car was from Washington State (a bit unnerving during covid but with masks on everyone introduced themselves and dove in to see what the problem was). The occupant was a very young US Army Serviceman who was transiting (with CBSA approval) to Alaska, a new posting at a US Military base. The Subaru car would not start, seemed like it was not getting any fuel, it spun over OK but then nothing… With no obvious fix (fuel pump?), and since there was no cell service, N&J used their Garmin In-Reach satellite communicator (the same device that tracks Hobbes movements). Via the SOS function a tow truck from a town a few hours back was arranged for Victor & his vehicle back to Fort Nelson for repair. Grateful to have the company in this remote and wild wilderness, safety and survival in everyone’s minds, it was a beautiful day to hang out and swap stories until help arrived. N&J thankful to receive a message from Victor that he had arrived safely in Fort Nelson… car on the mend.
Mere minutes down the road another deserted airstrip along a river would make home for the night. The crew laughing about the prospects of being buzzed again by the small aircraft that appear to fly out of nowhere and land before them. N quite excited this evening to experiment with making a sirloin tip roast, with carrots, mashed potatoes and gravy, yes in Hobbes!!! …as always delicious!
With full bellies, a good nights sleep and a beautiful sunrise to greet the day, the Westies carried on… ”Walking on Sunshine” playing on the Sirius/XM radio.
Up on the left, just ahead, on the side of the road, it was immediately apparent what was coming up. An intense pressure in the chest and emotions welling up inside as the memorial for Australian Chynna Deese and American Lucas Fowler came in to clear view.
Last year, BC was rocked when two disturbed/psychotic individuals began stalking and killed 3 travelers on the northern BC’s ‘Alaska’ highway. No amount of thought can understand how and who can commit such a senseless act. Feeling pulled to take time to honour their lives and be a witness for the grief of those who have payed their respects, the memorial in its permanence, was viewed in silence…
Take-out pizza was in the cards tonight, after a long day on the road. The review on Trip Advisor promising the best pizza in the World was correct all in all, but missing one word …it was the World’s Best ‘Bland’ Pizza. Being ‘spice connoisseurs’, this pizza had really no flavour but one doesn’t mind when stomachs are growling, the sun is setting, and a place for the night still needs to be procured.
Spying a spot along the rocky river bed just south of Fort Nelson would become home for the night. The smooth round rocks beside the river seem to go on for miles. In the fall the river runs low at this point, provided an enormous platform for vehicles to camp and for others on their ATV’s to play. The gorgeous sunset on the horizon was the segue into a crisp evening with brilliant stars lighting up after nightfall.
Next day the drive was long & arduous as the vans made their way south. Fortunately a campsite at Hudson’s Hope muni campsite was still accessible, the sign said ‘closed for the season’ but the gates were open. Lovely setting, nice grass, picnic tables & fire pit….no charge. Jesse thrilled to watch the many deer and fawns coming to the campsite to chew on grass. No fear in their eyes!
The dinner (which turned out to be The Last Supper for the Traveling Westies) consisted of Moose Meat & Chorizo Pasta… perfect way to end the shared journey as C&O were scheduled to be back in the Lower Mainland within days.
The Hudson’s Hope municipal campground team arrived the next morning, N&J prepared for a dressing down… the workers said “Welcome, sorry the water was turned off for repairs; we have just opened the washroom facilities, so help yourselves”. 🙂
Thankful for everything, N&J bid adieu to C&O as they departed for home. The walkie talkies* now put away… “10-4 Good Buddies, Safe Travels, Have Fun, See you on the other side”.
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