The alarm this morning was another train roaring “through” the park at 4:50 . It was a toasty 55 out this morning, though I still opted for the hoody. First morning dew of this trip making for a damp roll up of gear. Simba and I hung out all wrapped up in blanket and I played Candy Crush as I had no cell service. I actually am doing quite well without the latest politics revving my system up! Today I was headed to Iskut and had a reservation at the Mt. Shadow RV Campground. There did not appear to be any provincial parks at a reasonable distance so this was my first foray at one of those private RV parks. The driving goal was more modest at 328 miles. Having perused the map the previous evening, I could see the Rocky Mountains were to the east-though quite a distance and the Cariboo Mountains to the west. This gave me hope that the driving today would have much more differentiation in the form of peaks and valleys. I was so enthralled as I began driving north to have the terrain become rugged, with jagged peaks, crevices with snow pack, barren summits and deeply forested faces.
I got my 3rd morning coffee, ice and gas in Smithers (7-11). The towns seemed to be getting smaller and smaller the farther north I drove. At this point the Hazelton Mts. were to the West and the route crossed the Skeena River. I had been reading about several things in the Mileposts, the bible for traveling to Alaska, that gives extremely detailed accounts of every town, gas availability, location of litter barrels, rest areas etc. Somehow I had expected to see big signs a la USA for the interesting things I had wanted to see but I was long out of town on the Cassiar Highway (37) at Kitwanga before I realized there were no signs for the identified Totems, Hell’s Canyon Bridge and other places of note I had thought about seeing. etc. In contrast, that has also been one of the most refreshing aspect of today’s drive. There are almost no advertisement billboards and signs.
The towns now were few and far between. I gassed up at the Meziadin Gassbar as roads signs stated there would be no more gas for the next 65K. This junction was the town: one station, convenience store, cafe, and sani-dump.
I was merrily on my way and excitedly realizing and that this was mostly rugged unpopulated territory and for much of it no power lines in sight. The road was well maintained and I drove for a couple hundred miles with minimal signage, the only signs being warnings to watch for caribou, bear, wildlife , cattle, and a few small signs when approaching a town. I was heading into the Cassiar Mountains on a 2 lane, rolling and curving highway flanked by towering lodgepole pine and shimmering aspen and again bordered with many lacing of wildflowers. There were also many bogs with their unique ill formed scraggly trees and the mountains were strong and grand and craggy and adorned with icy glacier fingers reaching down the slopes. The highway crossed several rivers but I recall a couple which still had wooden decking and Bell 1 and Bell 2 with metal grating with the waters appearing icy cold and rushing.
Unfortunately, there still was a smokey haze put not a heavy as the previous day and the farther north I got the brighter it became.
I am glad i knew where I was going because there was no cell service the whole way – and besides I have a GPS in my car, though I usually use iMaps through CarPlay. The further north I drove the road began to get narrower, with no shoulder and no center line. It was a lot of fun to drive as there was very little traffic and I could take the curves right down the middle. I began observing the nature of the other vehicle on the road. There were a few logging trucks and just a few other semis. The rest of the traffic I was passing or oncoming was huge RV’s, large pickup trucks pulling RV’s, smaller pick-up trucks pulling mini-RV’s, camper vans, trucks pulling boats, RV’s pulling cars, a few local trucks servicing the area, and almost no normal cars!!!, That was quite a surprise but then there are few services, almost no sign of house etc. I mused that perhaps I had missed a sign that indicated that this highway was for local traffic or recreational vehicles only.
I decided to gas up at Iskut (a First Nation Community) before I headed to the resort. It was was a very small community, the school appeared dingy and old, there was one convenience store and gas station. Kluauchon Center store, I decided to buy ice and took the last two bags which looked like they had been there a while and were in the bottom of the ice cream freezer. In retrospect I am glad I did because there was no ice to be had between Iskut and the Boyd Lake, my destination for the next day..
I head to Mt. Shadow RV Campground I had driven by many that basically looked like an RV parking lot so I had a bit of trepidation. The online ads looked inviting. It did turn out that the camping/tent spots were great. Shaded and clean (the RV area was like a parking lot, all lined up in 2 rows ). They advertised showers. wi-fi etc. Turns out the showers were 2 loonies and you got 100MG of wi-fi or one hour whichever came first. I decided to wait til morning for the wi-fi and text I wanted to sent to let family and friend know all was well. So with camp set up and and dinner accomplished, the boys and I took very lovely hike down to the head of Lake Kluachon Lake It was quite swampy and not lake to dive into so here is yet another day that am continuing to ripen though wet wipes are helpful. The dogs don’t complain.