Moving to Alaska – Day 12.

We headed into Alaska. They did not build a wall here, but they did cut down all of the trees.

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We uneventfully crossed the border and stopped at the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. That is when we realized how much empty space exists in Alaska.

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 12.04.08 PMWe stopped in Tok because we saw a purple food truck selling Thai food with a line of people in front. It was as good as we thought it would be.

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We stayed in Glenallen at the Ranch House Lodge. By now, we were completely spoiled with real beds. We also needed wifi to starting looking for places to live in Anchorage. We enjoyed homemade brownies and Craigslist.

Moving to Alaska – Day 8.

We woke up in Telkwa and packed up the tent. We weren’t sure where we would end up, but thought we would ask around in Smithers. When we got to Smithers, we were in heaven. It is like a small german town with delicious pastries at the bottom of a ski hill. We got some advice at a fly shop on a great place to catch trout. The only problem is that it was 2 hours back the way we just came from. Still, this trip was an adventure, so we decided to do it. We drove back past Telkwa, past the largest fly rod in the world in Houston, and turned left at Topley. We saw our first bear on the way to Topley Landing. There is an enormous hatchery in Topley Landing and spawning beds that are over 4 kilometers long. The spawning beds are perfectly constructed for salmon. They are the right depth, the right water speed, the right water temperature, and they are enormous. The entire thing is a place for salmon to spawn. The rocks are all the perfect size and the fish lay millions of eggs. Needless to say, the bears also love it there. Unfortunately, we were a couple months too early to see all of it occur.

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We found the perfect fishing spot that we were told about in Smithers. It was under construction. There was a big backhoe beside the river. The road was closed to vehicles. We weren’t allowed to be there. In order to get all of the water for the salmon spawning channels, the hatchery does stream maintenance on the creek to ensure that they have water when spawning season begins. The one day we couldn’t fish was the day we were there. Not to be deterred, we headed to the town of Granisle to see what we could see. The short answer, nothing. When asked about hiking, we were met with blank stares. Granisle is a retirement community. It used to be a mining town. When the mines shut down, people stopped working. Most people left, but some stuck around doing whatever odd jobs they could find. Our campsite was near Babine Lake so we took the canoe out and fished for sockeye. Everyone else was using motorboats, down riggers, and giant flashers, we just had a good time.
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Moving to Alaska – Day 5.

We are getting good at packing up our camp. From waking up to driving away takes us about 2 hours. We are never in a rush. Breakfast takes a while. Dishes have to be done in some water. We bought Dr. Bronner’s soap for doing dishes, washing clothes, and bathing. We feel that this is the least harmful thing for the environment that we can use. We have to deflate our airbed, pack up the two human and one dog sleeping bag, fold the sheets and blankets, and use Tetris like maneuvers to repack the car. Luckily, there weather has been nice every day.

Here is a short video of what you get when you pay nothing. Fire pit, composting toilet, picnic table, and a spot for a place to sleep.

From our recreation site (Forest Lake Recreation Site) we headed towards Quesnel. Quensnel has a certain smell. With 2 pulp mills, a plywood plant, and 5 sawmills, you could say that timber is important in the region. Quesnel is also home to the longest wood truss walking bridge in the world. Here we are on it.

Longest wood truss walking bridge in the world.

Longest wood truss walking bridge in the world.

We are staying at the 10 Mile Provincial Park tonight. The provincial parks are really nice. Almost too nice. Hot showers, over 100 sites, firewood for sale, and lots of RVs. It is nice once in awhile, but not really our thing. When we arrived, thunderstorms were in the forecast. We set up the tent just as the rain started. We are able to fit our air bed and a small table inside so we can play cards, eat dinner, and listen to music, all while staying dry. We even brought the dogs beds on this trip so everyone can sleep comfortably.

There are a lot of lakes in this part of the world. It makes for beautiful sunset pictures.

10 mile lake, late at night.

10 mile lake, late at night.

Moving to Alaska – Day 4.

We headed to Cache Creek to see if we could find a mechanic. While purchasing engine coolant the guy from the gas station, he said, “there’s a mechanic that hangs out in the restaurant” and he ran off to find him. Less than a minute later, two guys come back and tell us everything that we need to know about our car. They said not to worry. They said that we did everything we could have and to take it easy and we should be fine. They guessed that it was a vapor lock and the light would turn off shortly. These Canadians are damn friendly. We trudged northwards with me glancing at the check engine light every few minutes to see if it was still on. It always was. Whenever we stopped, I would top off the engine coolant to make sure there wasn’t too much water inside. One stop for gas, I turned on the car and the light did not come on! We didn’t have any car problems the rest of the way to Anchorage.

Following highway 97 north we passed towns on the map that consisted of one building at an intersection. We had gotten the Milepost as a gift and there were lots of warnings stop often to get gas as the stations are far apart and not always open. We never had a problem. This far south still felt pretty urban.

We stopped at the Williams Lake visitor center to inquire about climbing and fishing. They weren’t too sure about either. We went on a bit of a goose chase to find a climbing spot, but the road got a bit too rutted out and our overloaded little car couldn’t make it to where we wanted to go. We finished our day in a place we will never forget. In the visitor center at Williams Lake, the helpful person behind the counter casually mentioned a recreation area on our way north that is nice. It was off the highway and down a dirt road for about half an hour. Unsure of what we would find, we nervously drove past a few fifth wheels that all seemed to have boats. They seemed to be parked wherever they wanted. There were no showers. There was no running water. There were composting toilets. There were plenty of spaces to set up a tent.

We parked beside a picnic table and set up our tent. That was when we realized that these recreation sites were all through British Columbia and are all completely free. We fished the dead calm lake and had an amazing lake paddle that we will always remember. They sky was amazing.

The water was pancake flat like we had never seen. The trees were perfectly reflected on the lake surface. Fish were jumping, but not being caught. Birds were everywhere. Talking to other people staying there, the fish are few and far between, but can be huge. 10 pound trout was the goal of most people there. I didn’t feel too bad not catching anything. Some people catch two fish a day and are pretty stoked on that. We watched a beautiful sunset that seemed to go on forever. Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 10.19.52 AM Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 10.18.55 AM Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 10.19.31 AM

2014 Review.

January last year started a lot like this year. Cold and clear. We had moved to the Maple Leaf neighborhood.Maple Leaf Park.In February, we had some cool adventures (puns are ridiculous) including a trip to the Big Four Ice Caves. we weren’t sure if we really believed the signs, but it turns out that we were lucky to witness only a small avalanche.

Big Four Ice CavesThe shoulder seasons seem to be the best for travel, so in March we headed to Ireland.Cliffs of Moher.

When we returned, it didn’t take long for the first minor disaster to occur. I was lucky and I am thankful everyday that I am still loving life. It was one hell of an April.Broken neck.May was full of recovery and photoshoots.SCC nursing program.In June, the weather got better and we were able to spend some time outside with good friends. SUP Rainier.Girls.July was full of surprises, things like Amanda’s appendicitis threw us for a loop, but we pulled through.Amanda flowers.Luckily, I have friends willing to go fishing with me while Amanda recovered.Guys fishing.I explored more places in Washington that I thought were hidden gems.Waterfalls.There was more fishing with friends. There is never enough fishing or friends.Yakima.As my beard got more and more awesome, I also got a chance to check out the Olympic Peninsula. Luckily, I was with one of my most loveable friends.Lando and Rory.

He brought good luck and good fish.

Troot.Amanda and I did crazy things like hike to Lake Serene and drink wine at the zoo.Lake Serene hiking. Woodland Park Zoo wine night.August is the best time to be in the Pacific Northwest. We even went to a Mariners game.

Mariners Game.September is the hidden secret up here. You can read about our amazing vacation, here.

Canada.For Amanda’s birthday in October, we went skydiving, but she was happier buying pumpkins and gourds.Pumpkin girl.November is the time for Chum Salmon and pretty pictures.Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 7.29.56 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 7.30.15 PMadventureDecember brought the cold and the holiday season. I am glad that is over. Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 7.36.47 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 7.36.57 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 7.37.36 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 7.37.04 PMHere is to an even better 2015!

>Vancouver Island.

>We left Seattle early Sunday morning and headed for the first of many ferries. Then someone sitting beside me realized that they forgot their passport. Luckily, it was only a four hour delay. The weather was typical Seattle weather, but that was to be expected. We traveled for about 8 hours before arriving at a campsite beside the Cowichan River. I was told that this would not be an exclusive fishing trip, but we somehow always stayed near the water.

One of many ferry rides. 
The house going to Canada.

The Cowichan River was beautiful. It was set in a semi deep gorge with steep sides. The water was a series of pools with small waterfalls. It made for tricky fishing, but saw a guy pull a big Rainbow Trout so it gave us hope. Unfortunately, we hauled out the small dumb trout. What makes it worse is that the guy with the big 20 inch trout was using “worms and weights”. Weak. Us fly fisherpeople are supposed to be a bit more civilized. And maybe even, dare I say it, better anglers.

 
Cowichan River fishing.

Leaving the town of Duncan and the mighty Cowichan, we headed to Campbell River looking to kayaks to rent. Arriving at the end of summer is great. There are always campsites available, the amount of tourists is cut in at least half, and all of the kids are back to school. However, a lot of businesses close after Labour (sic) Day. We took another ferry to Quadra Island. It is an island with few people and hopefully Orcas, seals, bear, etc. The weather wasn’t cooperating so couldn’t go kayaking. 25 knot winds didn’t sound like fun out on the water. We got in a fun, but hilly bike ride, practiced casting into the 25 knot wind, then went down to the only pub in town for dinner.

 
I noticed something funny on my saddle.

On our bike ride, we stopped at the Quadra Salmon Eco Centre. It showed us how the salmon live and die. More importantly, it showed us what they eat and where they hide. We went to bed hoping for better kayaking weather the next day. We woke up and it was pissing rain. Looked like there was nothing else to do but fish. We departed for Campbell River, grabbed some blue, pink, and green minnow pattern flies and started fishing in the rain.

Fishing in the rain.
 
We are going to need a bigger net.

It worked out well for us.

 
A female Pink Salmon.
A male pinky.

Biggest of the day.