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For those of you who are interested in discovering about the mid coast and the west wild area.
This is where the ferry ride starts. We take the ferry from Tsawwassen to Duke Point where we go on our first long journey to Port Hardy.
This is where Duke Point is, and you go through the outer limits of Nanaimo as you make your way up north. You go along the North Island Route as you go along Highway 19.
We stopped at this beautiful little town for the first stop. It was significant I believe during the World War. It does hold some historical value.
We stopped at this location next. This is another fairly developed city towards the north. We also went through the Comox Valley.
This was a little city that we stopped at and looked around at some of the signs that there were around about the history, and animal warnings etc.
This little town is significant in the forestry business. There is a locomotive train engine was was put out by the Western Forest Products that you can see on the road side. Also, this little town is the network to many other smaller communities like Zeballos, Tahisis and Gold River. We didn't have a chance to go to any of those because of time constraints, but you can continue along dirt roads to those locations from the Woss area. Before you do anything like that, make sure that you get either a good road map, topographical map, or backroad map.
This was a fishing resort back in the time, but it is now primarily for recreational purposes. We saw a black bear cub outside of Telegraph Cove approximately 50 feet outside.
This was one of the larger of the towns that we saw through our journey up highway 19. It has its industrial, residential and downtown core. This is a good stopping off point that has many ammenities before you go up to Port Hardy. There are a lot of destinations that you can go to from this stopping point. There are little towns like Port Alice, Sointula, Holberg, Winter Harbor. Some of these routes you need to go via dirt road. If you are a little bit more unfamiliar with the wilderness obtain a good road map, topographical map, or back road map to give you specific instructions of how to get there.
This is the stopping off point before we go on the Discovery Coast Ferry. This is a town that has all the ammenities that you need before you board the ferry. Wherever you go, on stops along the way, make sure that you have sufficient gas, as many of the places that the ferry lets you off at, are wilderness in nature.
We didn't stay in the hotel, but it looks very nice from the outside. We went into their restaurant/ pub. It was good food. The part that we went into was the pub part, but there is a restaurant this in another wing of the pub. The food was very good. We had yorkshire pudding that was like roast beef sandwiches. This was good. I also had the fish and chips which was really good as well. The catch was relatively fresh, and caught locally.
We went to the ferry terminal where the Coast Discovery Ferry leaves from. You had to be there 2 hours prior to departure as there was staging that was required in order to ensure proper sailing. The ferry was the Queen of Chilliwack. This is a smaller boat compared to a lot of the other boats that the BC Ferries runs. This ferry does not have any state rooms for the passengers, but they do have reclining seats. There are two suggestions that I have for anyone that will take the ferry. If you get motion sick, get motion sickness treatment, as the first 4-5 hours of the trip are in open ocean where it can get bumpy. You should bring up your sleeping bag, or foamies and other stuff like that, which will make you comfortable during the sailing. There are only intervals of time that you're able to go down to your car during movement. We were on the ferry for 33 hours and we went to Bella Bella, Shearwater, Klemtu, Ocean Falls, and then Bella Coola. The food on the ferry was pretty good. Another thing is that the Ferry staff was really pleasant. They are completely different then they are on during the other sailings.
This was our first stop for the Discovery Coast Ferry. This ferry terminal is approximately 3 km away from the actual village. They want to keep it primarily native. It looks like a very busy town when we went past there on the ferry. It is a fairly large town that was into fishing, etc.
This town was used during the World War. It has a disabandoned submarine and some bunkerhouses remaining. For more information about the town, please refer to the website.
This is the website about their town. It is very interesting to look at. This was a very pleasant town to go to. The residents were very inviting when the ferry came to shore. Quite a bit of their residents were on the shore waving at us as we were docking. They opened up their longhouse for us to take a look at. It is beautifully handcrafted, and one of their elders were in the longhouse telling us about different interesting facts i.e. if cats and dogs are chewing grass, then there is a change in weather, or if there is crabs swimming upside down there is a change of weather etc. We also walked to their fish hatchery, which is apparently very busy during fishing (salmon) season. There is a huge amount of fish in the hatchery. The residents also make use of the ferry when it comes one day a week for a night out. I was also fortunate to be able to talk to a resident who assisted with building the loghouse. He had a lot of interesting things to say to me. He told me to refer to the website that I provided regarding most of the information about their culture and town. Take the 33 hour ferry, and you will be able to experience this town just like we were able to experience.
This was a once bustling town where there was a pulp mill that was working. Now there is only a few people that remain living in this area. For more information, refer to the website provided, or look for more information on google, regarding recreational activities, as there are a couple of fishing lakes, and some hiking trails that you can travel on. Please note, that you should have a good backroad map, or a good topographical map in order to ensure that you're able to get to these places safely.
This small but bustling town is located on the South Bentick Arm. It is a fishing and Norwegian village. There is also the Bella Coola River Estuary that you can see directly to your left as the ferry comes in for docking to this location. During Grizzly Bear season when the salmon are in, then you are able to see them catching fish. The ferry terminal is a little ways away from where the actual town is. As soon as we got off the ferry we looked around the village, and then went for something to eat.
We went to this restaurant twice during our stay around Bella Coola. It is one of the better places in town. There is also the Valley Inn Restaurant as well. Look at the website for more information. The food was very good at this restaurant, and the service was very good.
This is one of the largest provincial parks in the province. Between North and South Tweedsmuir, the park is about 981,000 hectares. This is a park with limited resources. The only resources that there really is, is the park lodge, and also a few pit toilets. The rest of the park is wilderness.
There are a lot of great trails that are out there. A couple of the more noteable routes that are through the South Tweedsmuir Park is the Alexander McKenzie Grease Trail which holds some significant historical value, and also the Hunlen/Turner Lake Loop. With the Hunlen/Turner Lake loop, it starts on Tote Road, at the edge of the Atnarko River. This part must be done during the time when the bears are the least active. Keep in mind that you should not camp along the road, or in the parking lot at the trail head, as this is very active bear area. This is roughly about late morning, and afternoon times, but check for sure on the provincial parks site for complete information on South Tweedsmuir Park. It is also a very strenuous hike as the Alexander McKenzie trail is too. A couple of other harder routes are the Rainbow Range Trail (this one goes in the backcountry meadows), and the Octopus, and Odegaard Falls. A couple of the easier or moderate hikes are the Kettle Loop, or the Valley Loop. Note that all of these areas you should carry bear spray, and know how to use the bear spray.
Also there are two campgrounds, which is the Atnarko Campground, and the Fisheries Pool Campground. Keep in mind that you need to practice safe Bear Practices. Bears do roam through these campgrounds fairly frequently. As long as you practice safe bear practices, then you will be good. Some of the things that you can avoid a bear encounter is by: putting your garbage in the wildlife receptables, hanging your food at least 4 feet or higher in the tree or keeping your food securely in your vehicle. Also do not cook along the river's edge, and near or in your camping area. Do not wipe your hands on your clothing if you have been touching fish. Clean your fish in fast moving water, and washing your hands in fast moving water as well. These are some suggestions of keeping the bear encounters down. The park is a very pretty area, but with the limited resources that are around the park, we need to help each other out, so that the park can remain a pleasant place for each and everyone of us to visit.
This is one of the only park lodges that are in the park itself. This park is located on Corbould Drive just off of the McKenzie Highway (Highway 20) in Stuie, just at the foot of the infamous hill.
We did not stay at this lodge, but I was able to get some good pictures of the lodge. It was a very pleasant atmosphere, and there are good chances to be able to see wildlife and bears away from the cabins, but in the meadows that they have. I would suggest this location for people who are interested in a place in the wilderness, but are also interested in a more upbeat area, then staying in a rustic environment such as wilderness camping. If you are wanting a place to stay that is fairly elegant, then this place is for you. I had a good feeling when I came around to take a look at the building, and I know that they also have tour and adventure packages, but you should contact them regarding them. You can also look at their website, by going to www.google.ca and typing in Tweedsmuir Park Lodge.
This is another Norwegian town within the Bella Coola Valley. This is town that we were staying in. There is a lot of good forestry roads and hiking trails around just a little bit outside of this town. There is the Saloompt forest trail, which you can see bears feeding on salmon during their fall feed. There are also fish gates that are not too far off of the road here. There are also several of forest service roads such as the Nootsuam RIver trail etc. Most of these trails and roads you should only venture up if you have either a GPS unit or a backroad map, as it is easy to become lost on a lot of these roads. There is also a driving area to a couple of Regional Parks one which is Walker Island. These ones are pretty good. Please note that any areas that are far way from a secure vehicle, or secure building, you should bring bear spray with you to arm you.
This is one of BC Hydros sites. It has one of the most gorgeous falls that are seen. The upper road that is taken from Clayton Falls, you can go and visit Blue Jay and Gray Jay Lakes, but you need to utilize a 4x4 vehicle, with higher clearance. We had an all wheel drive, so we did not take a chance on this route. But I hear that the lakes are really pretty, and that there are some picnicking areas. Please note that you should have bear spray with you, and also a backroad map or GPS unit, if you attempt the road that goes up to Blue Jay or Gray Jay Lakes.
This place was a very clean and friendly atmosphere. I would reccomend this place to anyone who wants a clean place to stay. They also have an adventure company called Kynoch. If there is anyone who is hoping to get a glimpse of a grizzly bear during a river drift, they do not do these tours until late summer. They do an ecodrift during the rest of the year, but not the wildlife one until later on. This place is also central to a lot of the hiking trails, and forest service roads around.
The hill is very scenic of various locations, when it is relatively clear out, but we were not fortunate to get a lot of clearness the day that we went up there, so we were not able to get a picture of the Bella Coola Valley, but most people who go up there are able to get some sort of picture of the valley.
You should go fairly slow up around the really narrow parts. There are quite a few pull outs where you are able to pull out and enjoy the scenery. This is recommended especially if you are going down the hill, to allow for your brakes to cool. We had to stop a few times to give the car abit of a break. The hill is in the form of switchbacks. When we were at the top of the Heckman's Pass, it was 1524 metres in elevation.
The scenery quickly changes into a rolling alpine meadow where you may or may not see animals. It depends on the season, and also it depends on the weather. We were up there when it was cooler, but if it was a bit warmer, we would have probably been able to see more animals up there.
Prior to Anahim Lake, there were quite a few free range cattle and horses on the road. We were told by a local, that the residents fence them out of the pastures in order to get the feed for the winter, so that they are able to survive through the winter, so you need to reduce your speed when you come to this. Also, just prior to Anahim Lake, where the gravel road changes to pavement, is where the BC Highways cam is.
This is the next major town within Highway 20, from Bella Coola. It has all of the basic ammenities. This is where the stampede happens each year. Also, if you go just past the stampede grounds, you will come to a sign saying Anahim Lake Resort, or Escott Bay Resort. Both of these resorts are approximately 5-10 km down a dirt road from the town of Anahim Lake. We went down to the Escott Bay Resort, so that I would be able to take some pictures of Anahim Lake. It is a really large lake. I was hoping that I would have been able to see some of the infamous Pelicans, but I wasn't able to, as there was none to be seen. But this is one of the areas that they are suposed to be on.
This is the town that we stayed in for our next destination. It is a primitive town, but there are things like a general store, and also a gas station.
We were very happy with this fishing resort. There are approximately 8-10 cabins, and are fully equipped with woodstove, and electricity, and hot and cold water for showers. There is also bedding. The food was very good. There were things like chicken wings, shrimp, chef's salad, prime rib, steak etc. The fishing on Nimpo Lake is excellent. We caught about a lot of fish, but only kept 2. You can trade them in for smoked fish, or keep the regular fish, it is your choice. There is also the option of going out on flyouts for remote fishing lakes, or to fly out to an outpost camp that they have as part of their lodge. You can also choose to go on flightseeing tours to Monarch Icefields, Rainbow Range, or Hunlen Falls, or a combination of all of them to look around at. Don't forget your camera if you go on one of those flights, as you will see some breathtaking scenery. If you are wanting a home away from home, then this is the lodge for you. It is highly recommended!!!
This outlines most of the various places that we saw along the way that were really developed towns. There were many smallers towns like Kleena Kleene, Chilanko Forks, etc. Also there is a park that I will describe in more detail in the next item. There are a few popular resorts off of this highway as well. They are Stewarts Lodge, Terra Nostra Guest Ranch, Puntzi Lake Resort, Chilko Lake Lodge and Chaunigan Lake Lodge, The Historic Chilcotin Lodge etc. Please refer to a backroad map or topographical map of how to get to some of these resorts, as they are along forest service roads and very maintained gravel roads.
This park is a good stopover prior to going onto Alexis Creek and other parts of Highway 20. It is a good place to stretch your legs prior to continuing your journey. There is a short route to the river to fish in the Chilko River, and then there is a longer route that you can take that goes up over the hill from the other route that goes alongside the fence. There is also a campground here, and a pit toilet. Beautiful scenery.
This is the point where the Fraser and Chilcotin rivers combine. It is very picturesque in this area. Just prior to going down the hill to the bridge, there is a turn off that will take you to Farwell Canyon,and to Junction Sheep Provincial Park. Both of these places are raved at by locals or people who live in Williams Lake, and in Bella Coola. We unfortunately didn't get the opportunity to look at these sites, but will, the next time that we come back to this area. Junction sheep parks gives you the opportunity to view Big Horn Sheep. Please refer to BC Parks Page for more information regarding this park.
This is the town that is at the beginning of the Cariboo Highway and at the end or beginning of Highway 20 the Freedom Highway. Most of the different resorts etc. are off of this city.
From Williams Lake we went down a series of Roads, I believe Mountainview Road, until we intersected Likely Road. We went down this very long, but picturesque road to the town of Likely. Just before we got to Likely, there is the Bullion Pit Mine. This was a historical site in a town called Hydraulic. We arrived in Likely not too much longer after that. Likely was very popular during the Gold Rush and Fur Trade. Quesnel Forks was a ghost town that is just outside of Likely.
The Quesnel River is on the border of Likely. There are areas where there is equivalent to Grade 4 or 5 rapids. Only boat in those areas if you are an expert or in really advanced, as they can be dangerous to inexperienced. There is only one restaurant in town, and a small community store that has a few basic supplies. We went to Cedar Point Provincial Park which is classified as Class C, and went to the visitor center there which was a little one that had information regarding the area.
This lodge is great when there are fishing derbies, or major events in place. There are also cabins that are available too, but we were staying in the lodge. The lodge rooms are fairly small, without any chairs, and there are just beds. The bathrooms are in between bedrooms and are very small. The showers are pleasant though, as they have large walkin showers. They do have central heating, but they don't use it during the summer months. We had to use both of the comforters that they had on the beds. If you are wanting this as a place to sleep while you're exploring around, this is a good place for you. It is great for those people who are heavily into boating, and have their own boats, or hiking, or during derbies etc.
There is also the Cedar Dam which is at the top of the road to where the lodge is. This is a lake that has a fair bit of fish in it, and there is also a chance of seeing wildlife in this area, although we saw nothing other than a couple of loons, and a great deal of mosquitos. Also I noticed that there was a large amount of garbage like those plastic pop rings, fishing line material, and other plastic and garbage. Please, please, please if you are going to go up there, please make sure you cart out all garbage with you that you bring in. If animals digest this stuff, they can get quite sick.
This is a very pretty and very picturesque trail. It is a well maintained dirt road. There are parts however, especially close to the Bowron Lakes that is very bumpy and rough. The Ghost Lake Falls is a must when you go along this route. It is very picturesque. Add about a half hour to hour to explore this area. We only went there for a few minutes and photographed, and then went on our way, but there are a lot of hiking trails, and other stuff that you can do in that area. There is also the Cameron Ridge Hiking Trail which you can do along the way as well. There is also a fishing spot near the Cariboo River Park entrance, but keep in mind that all of these areas are in bear and cougar country, and you must use proper skils to eliminate negative encounters. We saw rather fresh prints when we were in the area of Cariboo River Park, so we kept a close watch out for animals in this area. We also didn't stay too long around here, just in case they decided to come back.
We then got to the end of the road where the Bowron Lakes intersected. We didn't go into the park, but it is at the entrance. You would have to go approximately 28 km to the park along a fairly maintained gravel road.
Barkerville is pretty much the area that is at the edge of this road, and that encompasses the area around the Bowron Lakes. There is the campground that is in Barkerville. We were fortunate to meet two of the workers Rose and Caleb when we were in Wells. They seem like very hospitable people.
If anyone wants to go and explore a town that was really booming during the Gold Rush, then this is the town for you. They have reenacted what the town was like back during those times with the period apparel, and renovations that they have done. It is a very good town, and you will learn a lot about this town. We didn't go in because we were very hungry, but it is worth seeing!
We went to historic Wells for lunch at their hotel. We went to the Pooley Cafe, which was one of the better restaurants in town. Also around the August Long Weekend, they have a music festival.
This is a description of Highway 26 from Barkerville to Quesnel. A highlight is the Cottonwood House which was booming during the Fur Trade and Gold Rush. It does cost to go into the buildings, but we took a number of pictures from the outside.
This is the city that borders Highway 26. They are a full service city with all of the ammenities. This city is a lot like Williams Lake in where it is a gateway to many differnet destinations around in the Cariboo and into Northern BC. There is Highway 97, and the Highway 26, which connects from Quesnel.
This hotel as usual, met our expectations. We called looking for a place to stay,as we had no reservations anywhere in Quesnel, and they were able to fit us into their location. The woman who we met was extremely knowledgeable about the area. We were interested in seeing wildlife, and she was able to suggest the Hill Lake Forest Service Road, which was accessed off of the French Road in Kersley. Most of the road was very smooth, but there are parts that are more 4x4 material. Also, it is good to go into this area with a good topographical map, GPS unit, or backroad map, as it is easy to get lost in some of the areas. Watch for free range cattle, and horses, along the Hill Lake road. This area is located approximately 5-10 km from the Sandman going to the South.
We went to this restaurant to have their infamous Mr. Mikes hamburger. It was very good. There is also a location in Coquitlam off of Pinetree Way just across from the Coquitlam Center.
We went into their casino, and it was a very clean area. It was a smaller area, but was very clean. It was also a very busy area s well.
This went through a lot of different towns along the way down south to Clinton. A lot of areas were very picturesque. Some places of note along the way down there are: 108 Mile House (includes a historic site at the rest area), Green Lake, Lac La Hache etc. This area also is the gateway to the ever popular Wells Gray Park as well.
This is a nice stop off which has camping and fishing, and other recreational opportunities. This is right before the Pavillion Mountain Road, and right after the town of Clinton.
This gives you an idea of what the old times looked like, and what the current times look like. There are a lot of very narrow stretches along this road. You have to be prepared to yield to any vehicle or animal that comes in view, and vice versa. It is breathtaking in areas. Also keep in mind too that a lot of these areas along this route are on private land, and they allow you to use the road, but you cannot go into the areas that are marked private.
I have been along this route several of times and thoroughly enjoy it each time. It is a very remote highway loop, but it is well worth it for the pictures. There are a couple of times that we actually saw a deer family along the side of the highway. Keep in mind if you hike in any of the parks like Joffre, Birkenhead, Nairn Falls etc., keep in mind that you should understand that this is in a very remote area without any sort of supplies. Keep in mind that you need to have necessary supplies for travel in these areas such as bear spray, gps unit etc.
This highway is going under some major construction with the 2010 olympic upgrades. Some parks of note in this area are Garibaldi, Callaghan Lake, Shannon Falls etc. Note if you go into any of these parks, you need to have necessary supplies as these are wilderness areas. Please carry bear spray if you are going into any trail.
Back to Vancouver is where it all ends.