4 September 2016

South Through BC

This Rainforest Rains! 
CASSIER HIGHWAY
We first drove the Cassier Highway, south through British Columbia, in 1994. The highway (HWY37) begins in Yukon, just west of Watson Lake. In 1994 it was an all gravel, 724 km long road; now it’s fully paved. Driving south, the landscape along the initial 50 kms of the road was heavily damaged by a 30,000 hectare (74,000 acre) forest fire in 2012. 



After that burn zone, the Boreal Forest cover returns and even on a rainy day, like ours was this trip, the scenery is mountainous and memorable ... short grades of 8%, a twisty, narrow roadway, framed by several mountain ranges, intersected by creeks and rivers, peppered with small to large lakes ... and frequented by a few families of Black Bear. 




GLACIER HIGHWAY
The Glacier Highway is a spur road off the Cassier that travels west from Mezadin Junction. It was fogged in and overcast the day we drove. Even though the road travels through the mountains it’s a fairly easy drive. Much of the roadway is through the Bear River Valley, there are a few minor, short grades of 7% with twisty, curved sections ... a very pretty drive by several glaciers, including the large Bear Glacier, numereous alpine waterfalls and through boreal rainforest.


We spent a layover day in Stewart; the end of the Glacier Highway and located at the head of the Portland Canal. Early economy was dominated by gold and silver mining. Stewart had a population of around 10,000 prior to WWI; today less than 500. Town plaques near the waterfront boardwalk pay tribute to the young men from town that died in WWI and WWII; too many for a small community. Remember these movies? They were all filmed here ... Baby This Is for You, Bear Island, Eight Below, Iceman, Insomnia, The Thing.





From Mezadin Junction, we  travelled further south to the end of the Cassier at Kitwanga. We intersected with the Yellowhead Highway and drove south west to Prince Rupert ... we've reserved a berth on the ferry to Vancouver Island from there.

We left Whitehorse 6 days ago and drove a total of about 1500 kms to Prince Rupert. 
  

It rained almost steadily for that time period. Much of this region of British Columbia receives some of the heaviest and most consistent rainfall in Canada. Historically, Prince Rupert has the most rain days, annually 229 (Average rainfall = 2470 mm or 97.2 in), followed by Terrace BC. The rainforest 'rains' here!

Scenes at Prince Ruperts'  harbour-front ...


The North Pacific Cannery is a National Historic Site located in Port Edwards, a short drive from Prince Rupert. Website here

The longest running cannery in BC history. North Pacific Cannery’s history is unique and is comparable to few if any of the other canneries on the west coast of North America. North Pacific Canning Company was formed on November 28, 1888 by Angus Rutherford Johnston, John Alexander Carthew, and Alexander Gilmore McCandless. In 1889, the trustees received a crown grant for 183 acres of land at a cost of $32 and the plant was constructed. It had almost 90 years continuous salmon production and fish processing until ending in the late 1970s.








   
Next ... Sailing the Inside Passage, from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy.

Crusty ... drives and some history
 

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TEAM: LOAF, Crummy, Wry & Crusty