Thursday, June 30, 2016

Close Encounters Of The Bear Kind

Not everything is smaller than you remember it from as a child.  I haven't been to Barkerville since the mid-70's and there is way more stuff there than I remember.  We got up early enough to get to the site before it officially opened but the guard had the side gate open so the early risers like us could have breakfast at Wake Up Jakes.  We were also able to wander around for the hour or so we had before heading north and west to Smithers for that night's layover.  It was not nearly enough time.

There were a couple of options open as we headed West out Smithers with a stop at the Ksan village in Hazelton winning by a strong consensus.   A trip up the Nass valley will have to wait for the next time - and there will be a next time.

After a remarkably informative few hours we were off again to this time to Stewart where there are 2 (yes 2) glaciers that you can drive up to.  The first is the Bear Glacier which is on the main highway into town.

The second is the Salmon Glacier on the other side of town, which while it is in Canada requires a short drive through the USA to reach.  Funny enough there is no border inspection going into Hyder Alaska from Stewart but there sure is an overly inquisitive Canadian border agent waiting for you on your ride back to Canada.

Just after leaving the Bear Glacier overlook heading into Stewart a pickup truck approached us with its lights flashing and all manner of arms and hands waving out the windows.  I flashed back in acknowledgement and starting scanning the road ahead.  The large black mass that initially registered as a shadow upon closer inspection transformed into a bear.  A bear that happened to be half parked (the back half) on the road while devouring a large entanglement of ditch side berries.  Keeping a wide berth in the other lane we all managed to pass by without disturbing her meal and carried on into town.  It would not be the last nor closest bear encounter we would have on this trip.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Signs Of The Times

Heading North on this trip, into the North West of BC to be exact.  The goal, Telegraph Creek - a point on a map at the end of a road.  And why this trip, something so local?   Well for one thing I got a job that will preclude any larger than life adventures for a few years.   And it is because of a remark often uttered by Brian when questioning  my routing decisions.  When observing that we would be bypassing something potentially interesting but close to home on our way to somewhere not so close by he would almost always ask why.  My usual answer was "Ah, it's close and it will be there later", on which he would invariably comment "But I might not be".

3-other fellow riders from last year's Silk Road adventure and myself met up in Boston Bar in time for a great dinner before heading north the next morning.  We stopped a few places along the way to educate our visiting Californian about the history of the province.

Following the original route of the Caribou wagon road over Pavilion Mountain was a piece cake on the BMW GS motorcycles we all were riding.

Having travelled this route before I had suggested that the coffee shop in Clinton would make a great spot for a mid-morning break.  When we arrived in town the "Open" sign was all lit up - but the little post-ey note on the door proclaimed "Closed 11-12: Meeting".  Checking our watches we agreed that waiting the 5 or so minute until noon was not going to effect our schedule (and calling it a schedule was being overly generous) and that a fresh cup of coffee was far more important at that moment.  By the time 12:15 had rolled around and the "Closed 11-12: Meeting" sign now being nothing more than a broken promise we were back on our bikes headed North; keeping our eyes open for signs of lunch.

Through the spotty rain that fell we eventually made it to Wells, our destination for the night.  It was quite the surprise to find that the lobby bar proclaimed to have the largest Scotch collection in North America, if not the world.  While the greatest in the world part may be in question the the list did stretch out longer than I am tall and it certainly surpassed that of the Scotch bar in the Shanghai hotel we had stayed in last June.  Needless to say we sampled our way through the offerings an inch or two up the list.

On our way into Barkerville first thing the next morning there was an obviously very recent addition to the signs at the park's boundary.  I wonder what the hardy Victorian era miners of the 1860's would have thought when faced with a sign reading:  "Permit Required For All Drones".