GUEST ARTICLE: The province of British Columbia is located in Western Canada. Our goal on this trip was to get as far north and explore as much as we could in just 2 weeks. First we flew into Vancouver and picked up our rental car. Most people drive due east from Vancouver across the Rockies to Banff and Calgary. However, on this trip we headed north. From Vancouver we drove just over 700kms north to our first stop, a nice little city called Prince George.
The next day we were back on Highway 16 and on our way to a little city called Terrace. The drive along the way was really scenic and became even more so once we neared a town called Smithers. Huge snow capped mountains became the backdrop along with beautiful tranquil lakes.
Just after Smithers we came upon a place called Morristown where we got the chance to watch the local natives fishing for the elusive giant Spring Salmon out of the swift Bulkley River. Being the end of June it was prime salmon season. The natives like to fish from a place called ‘Idiot Rock,’ rightly named I’d say! It was a spectacular spot but it also looked extremely dangerous.
After Morristown the drive became even more scenic as we drove through lush green forest and came upon even more enormous mountains. We also saw a momma black bear and her cubs crossing the road, what a sight! We passed a few little towns during the 6-hour drive but were under the impression we weren’t going to be seeing any cities from there on – perfect!
We decided to make Terrace our hub for our northern excursions and found it to be a great choice. It’s a nice town and it had a really quiet country feel and the people were really friendly. If you’re into fishing this is like the Mecca of fishing. The local Skeena River is massive and a real favorite for the avid outdoorsman. You can be sure to see the riverbanks lined with fishermen and riverboats out and about everyday of the week.
One day we took a drive to Lakelse Lake situated not too far out of Terrace southbound on Highway 37. This vast lake was really picturesque. It was surrounded by snow capped mountains and an old growth forest with 300 year old Cedar trees. After parking our car we took the Grunchy Beach Trail to the lake. It was a really nice walk that meandered through lush green foliage and giant trees. The lake was truly beautiful, a fantastic place for some R&R.
On another day we went on a little 2-hour trip to a town on the coast called Prince Rupert. The highway runs alongside a river which soon turns into a giant sea inlet. The forest seemed to become more dense and green as we neared the coast. It rains a lot there but fortunately we had blue skies that day. It was a nice little town but we didn’t find too much to do, although we did have a good lunch at a little seafood café down at their port. With such a scenic drive it definitely made it well worth the visit.
For our last sightsee we headed north about 70kms on Highway 113 into Nass Country, home to the Nisga’a Native People. There is a giant lava field there and trails to hike on throughout the lava beds. We didn’t go on any hikes but we did have a wonderful picnic at Lava Lake. The scenery once again was just stunning, beautiful colored lakes and even bigger snow capped mountains.
This quickie two-week trip was a winner. Fewer tourists and more mountains! We saw heaps of beautiful countryside, wildlife and ate some of the best salmon we’ve ever had. There was quite a bit of driving though, so next time we’ll be sure to plan a bit better and give ourselves probably a full month. Overall, a definite two thumbs up for Northern BC, Canada.
This travel diary has been written by Machalle Gower, a friend who enjoys taking the road less traveled!