Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Fort McLeod ~ Mackenzie ~ Chetwynd ~ Dawson Creek, BC

Travelling the John Hart Peace River Highway from Prince George to Dawson Creek, BC for an overnight stop.

Our summer adventure was under way and we were enjoying perfect summer days that we expect in BC.  We had temperatures of 24C (75f) with blue skies and sunshine that make the incredible scenery even better. 

Hart Highway 97

There were many miles of tree lined roads ahead of us.  This area was not new to us as we’d been this way before.  What was new was the recovery from the Pine beetle destruction that had been seen on our last trip up here.  New growth, green trees, so much nicer!

Fort McLeod Monument 
Simon Fraser was the explorer who opened a trading post at Fort McLeod  to offer the opportunities for trading to be done much easier as well as getting supplies west of the Rocky Mountains in 1805.  The Hudson’s Bay Company bought that in 1821 and it was still there over one hundred years later.  We stopped to see the Historic monument and were disappointed at how there had been nothing done to tidy up the area.  

Roadside wildflowers galore
None of us had ever been into Mackenzie before so we decided to take the short 29 km. trip up Hwy 39 to see what we’d only heard about.  McKenzie was named after the earliest known explorer of Canada west of the Rockies.  Sir Alexander Mackenzie, a surveryor as well, camped near here in 1793, long before the town ever existed.

Largest Tree Crusher
The instant town of Mackenzie was developed in the 60’s to service the pulp and lumber industry growing in this area.  This Tree Crusher, the only self- powered one of its’ size and designed for land clearing was relocated by the Municipality of Mackenzie and set up at its’ present location as a tourist attraction in 1984.

The Pine Pass at Powder King Ski Resort
The Pine Pass is a part of the Hart Ranges of the Northern Rockies.  It is the lowest at an elevation of 875 m. (2871’) and the most northern of the passes through the Rockies between British Columbia and Alberta.  It is the only one that does not connect the two provinces.

Viewpoint of Pine River
This part of Hwy 97 between Prince George and Dawson Creek, BC is the John Hart Highway and was completed in 1952. There is a pullout not far from the Powder King Ski Resort turnoff where we parked to get a good look and photos of the Pine River below.

Chetwynd, BC
Chetwynd, with a population around 3100 is in the Peace River Country which offers so many activities like fishing, hunting, skiing and much more.  This small village is the host for the Chetwynd International Chainsaw Competition.  This brings world class carvers to the annual event and we were able to see the results of many of them.

Creative wood carvings
There are over 60 wooden sculptures along the highway through town.  The first carvings were done to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Alaska Highway.  We stopped to enjoy some of these carvings up close and here is a sample of those we saw.

Dawson Creek, BC
We’ve arrived at the city of Dawson Creek, BC, which is in a very prairie like part of the Peace River country.  We’ve spent time here before with work so we are quite familiar with the area.  No sightseeing trips are planned, we just set up camp in a local RV park and relax.  We are looking forward to an evening visit with our grandson who happens to be working here at this time, the highlight of an already great day.

Click here for another day of adventure on our travels.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Our Northern Adventure - Chilcotin Cariboo Country, BC

These first days of our travels takes us from Bridge Lake to Williams Lake, Quesnel and Prince George, BC.

We have finally begun our travels to see the incredible country of Northern BC, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Alaska. We’d been planning this for a few years and the time had come to make it happen.  We were joined by two other couples and we gathered at Ken and Sherry’s at Bridge Lake to begin this 60 day adventure.

Morning on a tranquil Bridge Lake, BC
An overnight stay at friends’ property on beautiful Bridge Lake on Highway 24 was the beginning of our 60 day adventure North.  We gathered there, under cloudy skies, but were able to tour around the lake before the rain came.

Gull Island
We are not always fortunate enough to time our visits to see the gulls on their annual nesting visits to Gull Island but this visit offered lots of them.  The Western Gull will lay 2 or 3 eggs and both parents will help incubate.  Both parents will also feed and protect them until they learn to fly at 6 or 7 weeks.  The gulls were sitting on the nests so it seemed early for young to be around.

Cariboo ruins
The skies clear and we follow Hwy 24 to Lone Butte and Hwy 97 then turn north.  The Chilcotin Cariboo country has a history consisting of western life and is known in part for their cattle industry.  We pass several shambled buildings which have become ruins over the years that reflect the days of old.

Williams Lake, BC
Williams Lake is the heart of the rodeo world in British Columbia.  Their annual rodeo brings cowboys, bulls and horses from around the country to compete.  I expected our visit to coincide with this annual event but their 89th annual rodeo was over.

Horses of the Cariboo
The country is definitely cattle and horse country and we see them enjoying the green pastures as we make our way north.  The weather offers blue skies and sunshine all day, looks like a great day for a horse ride but horse rides are not on our agenda and we have places to go.

Beehive Burner
There are still a few old beehive burners standing but they’ve not been used for many years now.  They were used to burn the waste wood for logging yards in the ‘old’ days but are often seen as the last remaining evidence of these old yards.  I enjoy seeing that they are still around to remind us of what once was; we’ve also seen many still standing on our travels down south where they are called tepee or wigwam burners.

Parking Lot camping

We did make an unplanned overnight stop in Quesnel due to a broken spring on our 5th wheel trailer and because it was July 1, we had to wait for the next day to buy parts.  We spent the rest of the hot day and that evening in a parking lot before we could be on our way again.  
RV park on the Fraser River
We stayed north of Prince George the next night in a rustic old RV park with our first of several breakdowns behind us as we set out on this summer adventure.

Click here for another day of the adventure.


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