Today marks the day that, in my mind at least, we really strike out into the unknown. Behind us, an entire mountain range holds back the rest of B.C. from the interior, and ahead.. who knows? We planned to make it through Prince George, B.C. where 97N bisects hwy 16. At this juncture we had planned to take the inland route up to Watson Lake, primarily because it seemed a little less remote (in case we ran out of gas or had some sort of mechanical failure). This was still the plan until I checked my email. I got an email from Pete (our kind host once we arrive) and he suggested the coastal route, insisting it was much prettier and slightly shorter.
In Prince George we stopped to refuel and pick up some vegetables for the evening at “Canada’s Superstore”. Prince George was not a lot to look at, a sprawling “hub” of supermarkets and chain stores. Arriving back at Trixie after some shopping, we had a nice conversation with a local lady, and then turned to hop in the car, only to find that in our absence someone had caved in the front left bumper and split. But the Olympics told me Canadians were some of the nicest people I would ever meet! .. Damn-you NBC! In the end, the damage seemed merely cosmetic and Trixie rolls on.
After some somewhat monotonous stretches the scenery began to shift once again. Mountains appeared on the horizon as we approached the towns of Telkwa and Smithers. Situated at the base of spectacular mountains these towns were a pleasant change! From here on out till the end of the day, we were bombarded with incredible mountains, huge rivers and green valleys. I will try to get it all out now so I don’t have to describe every mountain range we saw, cuz that would take years. There were literally hundreds of mountains, studded with hanging blue glaciers and snowfields. It seemed never ending. I think that was what struck me the most. They just kept appearing on the horizon. Like driving from one end of PA to the other, with non-stop mountains and rivers.
A standout experience was stopping at the Skeena Bakery in New Hazelton, B.C. This stop boasted the best baked goods of the trip (which have been numerous) and proceeds went to help special needs adults in the area.
Our first wildlife of note came in the form of a Black Bear cub! This little guy was chillin’ along the road just before our turn up the Cassiar Hwy which leads 450 miles north to the intersection of the Alaska Hwy.
The day ended at Mezadin Lake Provincial Park. We made spaghetti with fresh fried onions and peppers, and had the last of the homebrew given to us by Mark back in Kalama, WA. The lake was clear and still, and the mosquitoes were thick as we hung out on the crash pad and relaxed before bed.