Monday, August 2, 2010

The Grand Canyon of the Stikine

While waiting for the fire to settle down and the road to open up - a side day trip was on the agenda for Saturday. So - off to see the Grand Canyon of the Stikine. I must admit, after growing up in Arizona, there was a little bit of smug intrigue on my part;-) “Where is this??” you might ask. In the last posting there was a fairly lengthly discussion on Telegraph Creek - a rose by another name!!

You can get a bit of background on Telegraph Creek (why its name) from the last posting. Here is NEW information for you to digest:

Telegraph Creek Road was built in 1922 and was the first road into this remote area of northern British Columbia, long the domain of the First Nations Tahltan people. The 70 mile forest service road is a narrow gravel road with several sets of steep, sharp switchbacks. The caution is to “drive only in good weather conditions and do NOT take large RV’s”!! This one was for Magic KBUS - leaving Magic at the campground. These pictures will give you an idea - BUT, you really had to be here. They ease you in slowly - the same way we progressed through the adventure. Even my knees were knocking as we started up the really narrow, straight up in the air portion of this road (Elizabeth was driving and a good thing as that put afraid-of-heights Gary further on the inside)!

The long and winding road to Telegraph Creek.

What? Us worry?

Thanks goodness our brakes didn't go out on that stretch!

Settlement of the region grew with the discovery of gold on the Stikine River in 1861. Efforts to establish a transatlantic telegraph line also brought attention to the area in the 1860’s. The Cassiar (1873-1876) and the Klondike (1897-1898) gold rushes contributed to the growth of Telegraph Creek.

The scenery along this road is remarkable, with views of the Grand Canyon of the Stikine River. At one point on the narrow road you are on a ‘mesa’ that looks down one side to the Stikine River and the other side of the road looks down on the Tuya (which merges with the Stikine just down river). The canyon, and its walls, are exquisite. Interesting, also, that leaves seem to be already changing even though there are still about 18 hours of light.

Can you see the fire from here?

The Stikine River canyon. No pushing, please.

We just can't get enough of this scenery.

This canyon wall looks like a big monster to me. Can you see the eyes and nose?

As you can see the summer season is short here. The leaves on some of the
ground cover and the aspens are already beginning to turn.

The destination is Telegraph Creek, a mostly-Tahltan (First Nations) community of about 400. THE place to see in Telegraph Creek is the Stikine River Song, housed in the original 1898 Hudson’s Bay outpost (there is Hudson Bay again!). We did get a look at the building from the outside. But, a very unfortunate event had occurred a few days before and the owner of the River Song died as a result. (This area has such a close knit community even though the ‘communities’ are hundreds of miles apart - we actually heard the news of this death in Stewart - 250 miles south of here!) Everything in town was closed for the services (something we knew before venturing in this direction) but, we wanted to see the scenery.

The old crock pot was just finishing our pork and sauerkraut dinner when we arrived back at Magic. After a lovely visit with our ‘landlords’ for the last couple of days, Chuck and Grace, we sat back and enjoyed the lake one more evening. (Chuck and Grace, own this campground and live here in the summer. They spend their winters in Arizona, just as many of the Canadians we have met along our trail. Seems that Yuma??? is a favorite for the RV set!! They go across the border into Mexico for all their prescriptions and dental work!! Thought Canada had the medical plan we wanted?!?!? Why do all the Canadian seniors go to Mexico???)

Sunday may take us a little further north so we can be there on Monday for the 8AM escort through the closed portion of road due to the forrest fire. Or - maybe the rain Saturday night will have allowed the opening of the road. It’s always a mystery;-)

Love to all - E & G

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