100-Mile House to Dawson Creek
May 30, 2017
Miles Driven: 467
Sunrise (100-Mile House): 4:54am / Sunset (Dawson Creek): 9:32pm
Latitude: 51.64N to 55.76N
National Parks Visited: 0
Wacky Roadside Attractions: 1
Bears! Today Nicole and I spotted our first bears – a black bear mama and her two cubs. Also, we spotted a moose (not appearing in this blog). Admittedly, my picture is lacking. In my defense I was driving and trying to keep an eye on the road while eyeballing my shot on the phone. Nicole should have much better pictures, so hopefully I can share something that looks more bear-like and less like three fuzzy black dots. Still though… Bears!
Going back to the beginning, today we wound our way northeast, almost all the way to Alberta where we'll pick up the Alaska Highway at Mile 0. It may seem odd to travel so far east to go west, but it’s actually difficult to go directly north. The Rockies are in the way. We are definitely in the wilds now. Ok, so yes, there are cities, like Prince George, Chetwynd, and Dawson Creek. But really, it’s completely different than driving around in, say, Colorado or Nevada. Somehow here, in northern B.C. (and I’m sure in the Yukon too) it’s much more isolated. You leave a city and then there’s just miles (I’m sorry, I mean kilometers) of forest. It’s not like Denver or Cheyenne are right around the corner. The closest major airport in a city you’ve probably heard of is Vancouver and that’s like 500 miles south.
Anyway, the landscape changed today from volcanic mountains to granite crags to rolling green bluffs. I even noticed a cliff face with what looked like those same basalt columns I saw in Devils Tower and Devils Postpile. Trees cover the land everywhere. Occasional massive power lines cut straight swaths through the green. Farms and lodges sporadically dot the landscape. Semis loaded with raw-cut trees barrel down the highway at alarming speeds. And pickups are the standard vehicle. In a way it’s a bit eerie, divorced from my normal reality.
Chetwynd. Then, just when you think that there can’t possibly any more solitude, a town like Chetwynd springs up, kitsch proudly on display, and you feel normal again – reconnected. It’s funny how a little human imaginative oddity can bring comfort. Chetwynd is famous for its chainsaw carvings. They are everywhere. And they take on all forms – not just the standard fare of wildlife and mountain men. I saw dragons of several varieties, space aliens with demon dogs, an ent, Vikings, and a medusa. Next weekend is their International Championship of Chainsaw Carving. We’ll miss it. But by that point in our journey we'll have driven the Alaska Highway; I'll be proudly declaring myself a true adventurer and likely wearing the T-shirt to prove it.
Until tomorrow from Fort Nelson, BC…