Dawson Creek to the Kootenays
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07/09/07 - Got up early and hit the road at 7AM on the way to Liard Hot Springs. Excellent road and we made 230 miles in 4 hours. Arrived at Liard Hot Springs Provincial Park and had no trouble getting a campsite. Another level site that could accommodate the largest RV made. $17/night including use of the spring. Took a walk back to the springs to take some photos and passed through a large protected marsh and stopped at the Hanging Gardens. The park contains 250 species of plant life and is frequented by bears and moose. The spring is wonderful with two natural pools with temperatures ranging from 100 to around 120. It it fed by 130 degree water and tempered by a small stream. Walked back for lunch and our bathing suits. Quite a change to boil our bones after freezing our tails off in Alaska!
07/10/07 - Overcast in the morning, just like yesterday. Had our coffee and some of the Braeburn Cinnamon buns. The Smith River Falls is about 12 miles from here, so back on he road. Went down a 1 mile single lane dirt road with few spots for a passing car. Not advisable for large RVs or trailers according to the book. I agree. At the end was a trail leading to the Falls about 1/2 mile away and about 500 feet down. We could hear the roar of the water from the truck. Camera in hand we started down the trail. Wooden stairs went down a very steep grade and eventually came to an end where there was a cliff overlooking a beautiful two tiered waterfall with a tremendous flow of water dropping several hundred feet. DEFINITELY worth the trip and the climb. On the way back to the campground we stopped to photograph a large herd of about 50 buffalo grazing on the side of the road and letting motorists know who really owned that piece of highway. One stood in front of a motorhome and stared down the driver for over 10 minutes. Several cows with nursing calves in the herd. This herd is over twice the number of the herd in Yellowstone.
07/11/07 - After two days of Hot Springs and a good nights sleep we are ready to move on. Left the campground an 7:15 towards Dawson Creek. Stopped for fuel at Ft Nelson and plan to drive about 300 miles. Almost got a caribou on the road. Fortunately the new brake pads and carefull adjustment of the brake controller proved worthwhile. Saw several bears and stopped to photograph a flock of Stone Sheep grazing along the road in Stone Mountain Provincial Park. Stopped for a view of what I believe was suicide hill. Got some photos. Pulled in to Buckinghorse BC Provincial Campground for the night. We are camped withing about 5 ft of the Buckinghorse River and there is no problem with mosquitoes. A little breeze and about 75 degrees. Beautiful Place!
07/12/07 - Left Liard and headed towards Dawson Creek. Only about 180 miles today but we have laundry and some shopping to do so. Drove over the old Kiskatinaw bridge built for the Alaska Highway in 1942.Very interesting structure for a bridge. Entirely built of timbers and curves 9 degrees as it crosses the river. Even the roadbed is wood and curved. Many bridges in Alaska have wooden roadbeds, but are not curved. Arrived Dawson Creek about 11:30 and found a good RV Park and this time I asked of their WIFI was working. Same old excuse. "No, it's been down for 3 weeks" I replied "BYE" and walked out. Sick and tired of the false advertising. Checked with the visitor center and they called another place and they had a site for us AND the WIFI works. Checked in to the NORTHERN LIGHTS RV PARK. Notice in office that offered oil change with my oil and filter $30. Seems the owner's son is an enterprising young student. the truck was overdue for an oil change so at 7PM he came by the site and we did a fine oil change (of course with supervision). Elena got the laundry done and we visited Safeway. Most interesting was the fire that was burning when we entered town. The big grain elevator was burning at the top and fire trucks were dousing it relentlessly with water. An hour later it had been reduced to half its height. Little of it now remains. At 9:30PM it there is a lot smoke and the elevator is nothing but a pile of ashes. Another long day. Tomorrow off to Kootenay for a trip through the Canadian Rockies.
07/13/07 - Slight change of plans. Spending another night in Dawson Creek. Need a break from the road and a meal out. Drove around town (short trip) and back to the camper. Looked at restaurants and decided on pizza as we have not had pizza in a couple of weeks. Planned the next few days travel and early to bed.
07/14/07 - Hit the road for Jasper National Park and drove over 300 miles to the Park. Got a nice campsite at Pocahontas Campground and visited the Miette Hot Springs. Chose not to go in as I am not fond of the formalized, concrete, hot springs. Instead, hiked to the site of the original springs and the source of the water coming out of the ground. Saw a herd of goats grazing through the parking lot as well as the nastiest mosquitoes we had seen since starting the trip. Alaska was nothing. They are all here on vacation and it was dinner time. Returned to the camper and found some of them must have come in a tour bus as there were even more looking for dinner there. Sprayed on another coating of DEET 40% and still donated a pint of blood.
07/15/07 - Left the mosquito infested swamp at Pocahontas for the Columbia Ice Field. On the way we stopped at 2 nice waterfalls. As we approached the ice fields the scenery got increasingly more breathtaking. Got a campsite nearby at Wilcox Campground and finally put the trailer on the front hitch to get it parked. Down to the Ice Field Center for info and a tour. The tour was about 1 1/2 hrs long and perhaps the most enjoyable part of the trip. Starts with a normal tour bus and then we boarded an Ice field Explorer. This is a huge vehicle designed for the application. Cost aprox $900,000 and change. Top speed 12 mph. There are 23 in the world. 22 of the are here and 1 in Antartcica, used by the US Military to shuttle people to the ice station. We got right to the glacier and actually WALKED on ice over 1000 ft thick! (Elena also did an unplanned 'beaver slide') before returning to the bus. The water melting from the glacier was crystal clear and perfectly pure. After the trip to the glacier we drove back up the road for a few more photos as it was a perfect day. Sunny, a nice display of clouds, and about 70 degrees. No one could have had a better day than today.
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