Saturday, September 3, 2016

Stewart Cassiar Highway ~ Traveling Home

Our northern adventure is coming to an end as we make our way back home.   We’ve seen a lot of great country but the beautiful sights of our BC country and mountains as we travel down the Stewart Cassiar Highway are a pleasure to see!

Stewart Cassiar Highway
We weren’t seeing a lot of traffic on Hwy 37, more commonly called the Stewart Cassiar Hwy.  It is fairly remote but very scenic with lots of mountains, lakes and rivers to see. The clouds are low but the day is dry, and hopefully we are leaving the rain behind us.

Valley into Cassiar
We drove off the main highway through this pretty valley to have a look at the town of Cassiar but other than a few old homes and more deserted shacks, we found nothing of the old town to see.  The homes of the original town site were either towed away or knocked down in 1992 and since the closing of the asbestos mining at that time, it has been a ghost town.

Beautiful BC scenery
We then returned to #37 and continued south.  We spent a night at Kinaskin Lake Provincial Park where, although we did get a quick shower, enjoyed a spot under the trees looking onto the lake.  At this point, we are now 364 km from the junction of Hwy 16, our next destination.

Cassiar Mountains
We had a sunny morning to continue on our way home.  We bypassed Hwy 37A, the Glacier Hwy leading to Stewart as it would add 65 km (40mi) and back to our day.  From the junction of Highways 1 in Yukon and 37 to Kitwanga, BC, which is the junction of Hwy 37 and 16, we will travel 725 km (450 mi).  We take two days to make this trip and enjoy some beautiful scenes of BC as we do.

Snow on mountains
We stopped at a provincial park north of Kitwanga to see if we could find suitable spots to fit our RVs, but nothing big enough.  Before we could leave, a ‘mad’ grandmother, with her young grandchildren witnessing her unacceptable behaviour, was demanding we leave the park to make room for her family, and not in a friendly manner!  I calmly said “I didn’t realize this was a private park” at which she replied, “it isn’t!”.  "My point, exactly". No logical reasoning here, there were plenty of spots left for others.  Her embarrassed daughter–in-law told us about a much better park in Hazelton, and we were on our way to Hwy 16.

Hagwilgit Canyon Bridge
The Hagwilget Canyon Bridge is a suspension bridge on the Bulkley River. We crossed this one lane bridge on our way to Hazelton and the very nice Ksan RV park.  We watched some ladies prepping fresh salmon to can down at the river.  They do it for the elders in the village who needed the food.  Tours of the nearby Ksan Historical Village are available.

Beautiful BC is home
The nights are getting chilly but the sunshine of the day warm them up to be very nice.  It has been many years since we had travelled these roads but we had lived in Kitimat at one time and this was the route to travel.  Not a lot has changed.

Autumn scenes and colors 
The days of fall are soon approaching as we near the end of August and some of the leaves in this area are turning color.  The sun is shining above the low clouds and our day will get brighter.

Ranchland of the Bulkley Valley
We passed through several small BC towns and communities on Hwy 16 through the ranch and farmland of Buckley Valley.  We saw Smithers and Fort Telkwa, stopping for lunch in Houston and a visit to the museum. We then continued on through Burns Lake, Fraser Lake and made an overnight stop in Vanderhoof, BC.

Fraser River at Prince George, BC
We began our travels on July 1, 2015 when we left our home in Kamloops and spent the next two months driving through British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Alaska.

We arrived back home knowing we had accomplished something that many others would not.  Our northern adventure was full of many obstacles and was not without great challenges but we survived!

Overcoming these challenges marked a personal milestone amidst the great natural beauty of the North country and we were home in time to celebrate our 51st anniversary.  And as always, we look forward to our next venture together.

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