“Beautiful British Columbia”
We crossed the border into British Columbia at Sumas, Washington. Having heard many stories that it could take up to an hour to get through Customs, we were pleasantly surprised that we went through in 15 minutes! (Note all the cameras in the photo of the US Customs.)
Emory Provincial Park was our first stop and turned out to be our favorite Provincial Park on this leg of our journey. The park was just so welcoming with its lush vegetation and meandering location on the Fraser River. It was also the beginning of what is known as the Gold Rush Trail in Canada and the site of a major Chinese community during the building of the railroad through British Columbia.
Heading north from Emory Provincial Park on Highways 97 & 29 towards the Alaskan Highway, proved to be a feast for our eyes as the road traversed through some bustling towns, mountains, farmlands and lakes as well as rivers around every bend. A major attraction was Hells Gate, an abrupt narrowing of the Fraser River, located immediately downstream from the southern Fraser Canyon. The towering rock walls of the Fraser River plunge toward each other forcing the waters through a passage only 115 ft. wide. One of the last rivers we crossed before reaching Fort St. John and the Alaskan Highway was the Peace River!
Once again, we were amazed by the generosity of the people we have been meeting on our trip. On one stop near Williams Lake, a fellow RV’er from an island off of Vancouver, BC, knocked on our door and his opening words were, “Welcome to Canada! He presented us with a plate of smoked salmon, lemon slices, cream cheese and crackers! It was salmon that he had just caught and smoked on his fishing trip further up in Northern BC.
Northern British Columbia & The Yukon: Larger than Life!
Once we began traveling on the Alaskan Highway, an engineering feat of World War II, this sign was our constant companion!
The closer we got to Alaska, the rougher the road and small red flags were also added as a caution to stay alert. The towns with services, supplies and gas stations became further apart, but the wildlife began appearing along the roadside. We also became aware of a special type of graffiti- rock art. Travelers stop along the highway and leave messages created out of river rock! We could not resist and left a message of our own.
The 250 miles from Fort St. John to Fort Nelson were mostly moderate in grade and passed through the heart of oil country. The road climbed to the community of Pink Mountain, the highest point on this stretch and then descended to the lowest point- Ft. Nelson, one of the historic Hudson Bay Trading Posts.
The next stretch to the Alaskan border traveled through river valleys and low mountain passes and was the most scenic part of the highway with Summit Lake, the highest point and Muncho Lake, the most beautiful with its blue green waters. Along this portion of the Alcan we saw Black bears, Stone sheep, moose, bison, deer, cariboo and Trumpeter swans. And, not to be overlooked, are the chain saw carvings in Chetwynd and the Signpost Forest in Watson Lake started in 1942 by a homesick GI while working on the Alaskan Highway.