Kind of a “how to”.
Kind of a “how to”.
Happy Birthday Dad. We packed it up from Babine Lake and thought that we would really get started on our adventure. Our first stop was a place we saw First Nations using a dipnet to catch fish.
It was time to get onto the Cassiar highway. This is where we turned north from Kitwanga and headed in towards the Yukon Territory. There are very few towns, no cell phone service, no wifi, and gas stations are only open during the day.
This is one of the places where we saw black bears close to the road.
There were lots of time where we didn’t see another person, but lots of beautiful scenery.
Don’t worry, we were totally safe. Notice the bear spray on the belt loop at all times. We also found tall Fireweed. I don’t remember ever seeing Fireweed, but it is everywhere as you go north.
There are different accommodation options all along the way. We found “resorts” for $150 a night, but opted for the free Bonus Lake Forest Recreation Site.
I can’t get over how great these recreation sites can be. We are steps from Bonus Lake (which has many trout eager to take a fly).
There is a composting toilet, picnic tables, and fire rings. There are only 3 campsites. When we arrived we were alone. It was starting to rain, so we set up our tent quickly. I met a nice dutch guy who stopped with his truck, camper, and three kids just to make coffee. He says that he stays in recreation sites 6 days a week while on vacation. He left after chatting for a while. He was headed to Smithers to stock up on Dutch things. He said that 1/3 of the town is of Dutch heritage so there are shops that sell Dutch candies and things imported from the Netherlands that remind him of his childhood.
The weather got worse and a nice Canadian couple showed up and sat in the pouring rain with us. They had a camper, but had a couple of beers at our table and discussed life. It was interesting to meet all kinds of people on this trip. The man was a hunter. Well he shot things. He told us stories of shooting animals that he never intended to eat that he would get a permit for after killing it and report it even after that. Seemed a bit like a “if it has eyes it dies” kind of hunter. He lived in his camper as he worked construction for things like oil and gas pipelines. He would be away from home for months at a time chasing work. Rough life up here.
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.
We swam, we found waterfalls, we fished. We paddled around in our canoe and swam when we felt like it. We found leeches. We found rainbow trout. We found it relaxing. We stayed another night.
Here is the sunset before my battery died.
It might be weird to be thankful for the rain in Seattle, but I really love it. We just came in from throwing the ball for Lando in the new park by our house. Nobody was there and it is pouring rain. I love the sweaters, tea, cool weather, and awesome fishing that can all accompany the rain.
Aboard the “Greenwood Guppy” we heard rumors of good crabbing areas near Seattle. Funnily enough, the tips came from some people working with Elizabeth Swann when she was in town. She is no longer a pirate.
So we paddle out in the Guppy (the canoe in all of our pictures), drop our pots with bait like salmon heads and tails from Fresh Fish Co., and then go home. The next day, the pots were full of
hundreds eleven crabs. The Dungeness (Dungies) have to be male and 6 1/4 inches. We tossed back a couple of small guys. We also released all of the females.
Chef Ed (I know a couple of those) is preparing the crab the same day that we caught them. Tomorrow, we are headed out to collect the pots again. It feels a bit like observing, except this time it is fun!