Hello from the Cariboo!
Well – we aren’t in Alaska. Last night the Man spotted a White Spot Restaurant in Dawson Creek and got all drooly over the thought of a cheeseburger with Triple ‘O’ sauce (my apologies to all fellow vegetarians). He decided there are better chances of finding White Spots by going south than heading north so, phew, here we are.
We did drive a few hundred metres on the Alaska Highway heading out of town before hitting a turnoff to the south-west. Dawson Creek is the ‘Mile 0’ milepost for the 1500 mile (2,400 kilometre) Alaska Highway that was built through a joint effort with the US in 1942 to ship supplies to the US military stationed in Alaska. The Man says we’ll have to make that trip another time because it is starting to get a little crowded and noisy with another baaaing sheep.
Leaving Dawson Creek we drove westish towards Chetwynd through rolling ranch land with the forests getting progressively thicker and taller. From Chetwynd the highway has very few services all the way to Prince George, about 250 miles (400 kilometres). It’s a beautiful highway following the Pine River to the Pine Pass of the Misinchinka/Hart Range which is all part of the Rockies.
We had all forgotten (especially me since it was more than two days ago) how beautiful BC is! The highway followed the base of the mountain range which were tall enough to be above the tree line. The lower slopes show much evidence of winter avalanches and it must be quite scary during winter snows and winds. Quite breathtaking at this time of year though with lots of beautiful lakes, poplar and spruce forests and lovely vistas.
We didn’t make great time because the Lady was having Garage Sale Withdrawal again so we had to stop at two very pathetic sales. Even so, the Lady managed to find more stuff to buy. It was quite a shock to Jake as he isn’t used to such blatant consumerism and such dubious merchandise. Wait until he sees what’s in the trunk when we get home! The Man was able to divert the Lady’s attention two or three other times so she missed a few sales.
Once on the other side of Pine Pass, the land sloped gently towards Prince George. We saw more farms mixed in with the forest. In Prince George the Nechako River joins the Fraser River and heads south to Vancouver pointing our way. We went a bit further and ended up in Quesnel for the night.
Quesnel is another of the wonderfully historic towns in this area. Just bush in 1862, the town became the supply depot for the boomtown of Barkerville and the Cariboo Gold Rush when Billy Barker discovered gold on Williams Creek 56 miles (90 kilometres) east of Quesnel. In its heyday Barkerville was the largest city west of Chicago and north of San Francisco. Quesnel played an important part in supplying the needs of Barkerville. Supplies came up the Cariboo Wagon Trail or up the Fraser River by steamboat when it was still navigable. The town managed to sustain itself through agriculture and forestry even after the gold rush diminished and it continues to flourish.
One thing that is kind of sad to see is the spruce budworm/pine beetle epidemic that is killing acres and acres of forest every year. Because of warmer winters, the larva of these bugs aren’t being killed and it has become a very serious problem. We could see whole hillsides of forest turned red from dead trees.
Tomorrow I’m not sure what that Man has in store for us. We’re getting closer to home but we may do a bit of exploring. I’ll let you know our plans!
Miss Ewe (and Jake)