Sunday, July 26, 2009


Trestle on unused rail line along Cameron Lake

The unused rail bed

The start of Little Qualicum River............................

The weather continues to get hotter here. While we were having no problem getting enough solar power for the batteries, we weren’t able to cool the trailer sufficiently last night for sleeping. I plugged into power today so we could use the air conditioner and some of the team is very happy. In fact they celebrated with a two hour nap this afternoon. I went off with Sheila’s brother Lorne planning to climb Mt Arrowsmith but the road was closed due to the high fire hazard. Instead, we walked the old railway tracks all the way along Cameron Lake (about 9-10 miles return). It was rather warm and I sweated well. When we returned back to the truck, I had a very enjoyable dip in the creek to refresh myself. Aileen went to visit my parents at the care home with Charlie and Sheila later this afternoon.

We have been doing some Island exploring the past few days. The first day we went as far south as Mill Bay, the second was to Campbell River and Cumberland back roads. Some of these areas we haven’t seen in 40 or more years. When Aileen and I were dating, many moons ago, we explored most of the mid and lower Island roads. Some of them have hardly changed while others are very different.

We were over to Sheila’s parents this morning for a great brunch with all her family. Last night we had steaks on the BBQ here with C&S and their friends Bill and Bonnie. We even played a few rounds of Mexican Train. None of them had played before and they seemed to enjoy it. We had hamburgers on Friday night with a big group to celebrate Sheila’s father turning 85. This is party central! We’ve been enjoying fresh veggies from the garden and fresh corn from down the road a couple of kms.

We are planning to head down to Duncan on Thursday this week then just a few kms Saturday morning will put us at the reunion. The plan from there is to work our way up to Port McNeill by the following weekend for a week or two. We’ll likely return to Salmon Arm by the last week in August. No guarantees though, we tend to keep our plans pretty loose!

Monday, July 20, 2009


We left Smithers and put in a longer day than usual, stopping for the night a few miles south of Prince George at a Good Sam park. We even had a swim in the heated (somewhat) outdoor pool. The drive was quite boring after all the beautiful north country we have driven through. All the traffic is not appreciated either as it seems there is always a lineup behind you and lots of people having to pass you even though we’re doing speed limit or better. I guess some things will never change.

Leaving Prince George we decided to put in a short day so we only went as far as Lac La Hache Provincial Park. The highlight of the day was seeing an RCMP patrol car off the road at quite an angle with an unhappy looking cop standing beside it waiting for the tow truck. I couldn’t reach my camera and there was nowhere to stop so, no picture. We were surprised how few campers were in the park. Being a Friday in July, next to a good swimming lake, one would have expected it to be full early in the day. We were holding our breath when we arrived at lunchtime thinking it would already be full. There certainly seemed to be a lot of RVs on the road everywhere. Looking on RV dealer’s websites at all their sold units and how many obvious new ones we’re seeing along the way, the Canadian RV business seems to be flourishing.

The weather was heating up the further south we got so the next night, Saturday, we stopped at a commercial Good Sam park just north of Boston Bar so we could run our air conditioning. It did cool down nicely after supper so we were able to sleep with the windows open. We did have wi-fi, though very slow. There is no cell service for most of the Fraser Canyon so our air card was no use.

On Sunday morning, Aileen drove for the first couple of hours then it was my turn to get us to the ferry at Tsawwassen. The trip across was under mostly clear skies and clean air. The clear coastal air is so nice after the smoky interior and north where there are so many forest fires creating fuzzy air. We are parked in “our” spot at brother Charlie’s and will probably stay here until we head down to the reunion toward the end of the month.

Last morning at Meziadin Lake taken from our campsite

Out croppings north of Cache Creek, BC known as Maggie's Mine

An old cemetery above the highway south of Spences Bridge

Leaving Tsawwassen bound for Nanaimo, Vancouver Island

Nanaimo viewed from the ferry

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


The plane that landed on the gravel airstrip right beside where we were having lunch

Fireweed at Meziadin Junction

Mountains on the way in to Stewart, BC

A little waterfall beyond Hyder, AK

Glacier beside the highway

Bear Glacier

Close up of the toe of Bear Glacier............................................................................

And some of us aren’t too thrilled getting back to the hustle and bustle and crowds and traffic behind etc.! It’s so easy to fall into the peace of the north country even with the nasty bugs. However, the long cold winters would be something else all together. We spent two nights at Meziadin Lake Park. Our site was right at the lakeshore and it is a very pretty lake. Interestingly, when we first arrived, I got chatting with the guy two sites over who happened to be from Duncan (for those not family, that’s where I was born as was my father and my father’s mother). Anyway, the long and the short of it is that his wife lived on the farm next to us back in the late 50’s and she played with my siblings. She is in even in group pictures of my siblings and neighbour kids I took in 1959 with my first camera. I hadn’t seen her since 1961. For those in the know, I’m speaking of Terry Middlemiss. We had several great visits with her and her husband Terry. Terry and Terry have done the same as us and rented their house out and hit the road for a year at least.

We also had several great visits with a couple from Montana, Susan and Hal who were parked next to us at Dease and again at Meziadin. We also met them at a lunch stop beside Bob Quinn airstrip and were all amazed when the plane landed beside us. Meeting so many friendly people has been one of the real highlights of our travels.

Yesterday was spent in traveling into Stewart and Hyder. Hyder, Alaska was a real disappointment. It just seemed like a grubby little town that didn’t know what it should be doing. I just couldn’t work up the ambition to take pictures in either town. We drove a ways beyond Hyder but it was dusty and overcast and I didn’t think we’d get any glacier shots. We saw one black bear just north of Meziadin on our way from Boya and that was it for the whole of Highway 37 which people had told me was a hotspot for wildlife of several types. We only traveled about 140 kms yesterday but with all the photo stops we were gone from 9-5! The lighting was very good and the mountains are great with their many glaciers and snow fields.

We left Meziadin Lake this morning and drove to Smithers where we are in the beautiful little city park and campground alongside the Bulkley River. Aileen managed a nap while I went in search of a truck oil change. We decided to go out for supper but it turned out to be not the best plan. The restaurant we went to had good food when we finally got it but we waited over an hour. We did get free dessert out of them (not that we needed it!) and later Aileen and I talked to different people who told us they are notorious for that. Why can’t we talk to those people before we decide where to go? After supper we did some grocery shopping. It’s taking a bit of getting used to having dark nights again.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Boya Lake

Indian Paintbrush along the road


Bunchberry aka Dwarf Dogwood


Arctic Fireweed

Evening shots of Boya Lake in front of our campsite.................................................

That is hello today, if we get on the internet tonight. We are at Water’s Edge RV Park just north of Dease Lake community, almost at the top end of the lake. They claim we should get internet after the generator is turned on at 5 PM. There doesn’t seem to be too many bugs here which I hope continues. Last night we stayed at Boya Lake Park and the mosquitoes were wicked but the lake was very pretty when the sun peeked out. Aileen and I went for a quick dip in the lake after supper. I said dip, not swim, as it was very cool and we weren’t in long enough to call it anything else. It did feel good though and we slept better than usual. It was a mad dash back inside the trailer afterward because of the bugs. The Stewart-Cassiar (Highway 37) is by far the roughest road we’ve experienced this trip. There are lots of dips and dives gravel stretches. We were often driving at 20-40 kms per hour in the supposedly 80 km zone. We stopped for lunch today at the Cottonwood River Rest Area and the mosquitoes swarmed us. We have seen no wildlife at all so far on this road after people had told us often, there are lots to be seen.

Friday, July 10, 2009


One last picture of Dawson City (in better light)

The view from our campsite at Twin Lakes

Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake

Carcross Desert.............................................................................................................................

We left Dawson City in the rain yesterday morning shortly after 7:30. I had washed the truck the night before as there was no rain in the forecast. We had rain all morning and had several miles of gravel reconstruction so the truck and trailer were actually dirtier than they got on the Dempster. Oh Well! We stopped mid afternoon at Twin Lakes campsite. Nice view and we got to go for a swim in the lake after supper. Felt really good too and the campsite was only $12.

Around 9 AM on the road today and we spent several hours in Whitehorse restocking the larder. We also spent quite awhile at a carwash getting the rigs clean again. When we left, we took the Carcross road so we got to see Emerald Lake, although the lighting was totally wrong time of day, and the little Carcross Desert. We’re parked for the night (we hope!- there was a gravel truck came for a load awhile ago to the private one) on the access road to two gated gravel pits. More back tracking on the Alaska Highway tomorrow. We need to go almost to Watson Lake then we can turn down the Stewart-Cassiar (Highway 37) to see more new country.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009




Beaver working on the lodge

Foxtail Barley

Old miner's cabin

Interior of cabin. Now part of national park preserve. The last person just left their mess......

July 7, 2009

Yes that’s right, Aileen celebrated her 60th on the 6th and we’re still north of 60. So she got to be north of 60 north of 60! We had a quieter day yesterday. First we went to the restaurant next door for a late breakfast then we walked the dyke along the river beside town and around the town a little. After lunch Aileen had a looong nap. We went to The Drunken Goat for supper. It is an excellent Greek restaurant which only has eight or nine tables. The food was as good as any we’ve had. After supper we went across the river and checked out the Top of the World golf course – the most northerly green grass golf course in Canada. On the return we sat up at the viewpoint overlooking Dawson and the Yukon and Klondike Rivers. Aileen had a call from daughter Bev while there. Richard and Georgia had called in the morning while we were in town. While along the riverfront in the morning Aileen met a lady who went to college with Shane Ready, a pharmacist, who she knows in Salmon Arm. A few minutes later he met a guy whose sister she knew in SA as well.

The day before yesterday we took a drive through the gold fields mining area south and west of where we’re camped. It turned into a 172 km loop, mostly on unmaintained gravel. We saw a porcupine, scruffy little black bear and many small squirrels. We were surprised to meet up with one of the Manitoba couples we met the day before on Top of the World. They gave us lots of information on the area. We drove by five abandoned dredges and several old cabins. I found a wallet at one and was able to return it to his brother back in town. We are pretty certain we met the guy on the road when I described the vehicle to the brother. It had been lying out there for some time as the leather was faded and cracked and wouldn’t fold. The $20 bill inside was pretty faded also.

In the evening, I took my big lens and went back to the beavers up the road. They came and greeted me and let me get some decent pictures. Mitzy and I went there again last night and they were right over to see us.

Aileen gave me a haircut the other day and this morning she tackled Mitzy. The clippers don’t work ass well on Mitzy’s fine hair. We are going to have to get a proper set of dog shears.

This afternoon we went for a tour of the Parks Canada Dredge #4. It is amazing how much gravel they processed while extracting gold. They totally annihilated the valley bottoms.

Tonight we went for a two hour ride on the Klondike Spirit and side paddle wheeler. We pre-booked supper onboard and the trip was fun. Not great for pictures as the forest fire smoke is intensifying all around here. We were entertained by some skinny dippers at one point. Note this was to be posted July 7th but the internet wouldn’t co-operate so is being done July 8th.

More pictures below.


Side view of the buckets which bring the gravel into the dredge

Operating levers visible above buckets

Back end of old dredge

A grove of Poplars

Inside of old cabin

Outside of the cabin

Detail of cabin roof-small logs then a layer of dirt followed by four layers of boards and then metal

Reworked gravel in the goldfields

Two storey log house

Interior of the old house