Am I There Yet?...
Updated: May 21
Leaving Prince Rupert was difficult.
I knew that it might be a long time before I would once again be bestowed this overabundance of delicious & fresh seafood.
Such is life...
They say that you don't know what you've got until it's gone...
Well, I did... and I was leaving the crab, the prawns and the salmon. They were disappearing in my rear view mirror, as I made my way out of town and down Highway 16.
On to bigger and maybe better?
I didn't really know, as I had never explored this particular neck of the woods before. Northern BC was a mystery to me... and I was desperately pleading with the powers that be, for the rain to hold off a little bit longer.
They must have listened because I was fairly lucky for the remainder of the day. Sure, I got my occasional sprinkles and rollings-in of dark clouds, which managed to frighten me slightly, but it hardly crippled my Northern adventure.
As baffling as it is to admit, summer is over.
Fall is undeniably here.
I'm still vying for that summer tan.
Probably the reason that I packed 3 bathing suits.
Again, what an idiot I am...
But yes, fall has arrived and along the way, the sun shone through from time to time, lighting up the golden leaves.
Shelley suggested a small hike to Exstew Falls between Prince Rupert and Terrace. Actually slightly closer to Terrace, but beautiful countryside along the Skeena River that made the drive more than impressive. The road in was a bit 4WD treacherous, but we made it with Shelley's car and it was well worth the "flat-tire fear" we both had.
Many drops in the road.
The entrance resembled something straight out of a chivalrous fantasy, similar to that of Willow or the Hobbit. The birches seemed to attract to each other, their tree canopies interacting and weaving together, forming what looked like a tunnel.
We took a trail which led us up a short & steep, breathtaking hike to the bottom viewpoint...
When I say breathtaking, I literally mean it in every sense of the word. This little climb tore a strip off my lungs, leaving me gasping & coughing like a heavy smoker. It rendered me breathless.
I could hardly believe how it affected me after the hiking we had done the day before.
But... the outcome was spectacular!
After the Exstew detour, Shelley and I parted ways - as she headed to Prince George and I made my way up to Stewart.
Now... being the experience traveler that I am, I know that one cannot always make travel decisions based on Google Maps. There is just so much more out there to discover, that it would be a real shame to put your vacation in the hands of the main highways.
Robert Frost once said, "Two road diverged in a wood and I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference."
Jerry Seinfeld said, "Sometimes the path less traveled is less traveled for a reason."
I could NOT understand why Google Maps was leading me from Terrace to Stewart via:
#16 to Kitwanga
#37 to Meziadin Junction
#37A to Stewart.
That was the ONLY route that Google was providing... when evidently there was another road - The Nisga'a Highway... which met up with the #37. For the life of me, I could not figure out why they weren't giving me that route as an alternative option.
I decided all on my own. I would take the Nisga'a Highway.
At first, it was a brilliant decision. The fall colours were in full bloom, I crossed dozens of little streams, I experience the beauty of Kitsumkalen lake, I drove through the Nisga'a lava fields...
I was stopped twice for inquiries as to where I was going, my name, my number - all COVID regulation requirements as you pass through the various reserves.
At one point, the paved road veered off to the right and suddenly turned in to what appeared to be a forest service road. At the next stop point, I was slightly confused about the change in terrain and asked the gentlemen if I was on the correct road, heading to Stewart.
"Yes," he said. "But it's bad road for the next 50km, so go slow."
Who the F#$K goes slow for 50 kilometres?
Jerry Seinfeld was right.
This was the road less traveled for valid reason.
I suddenly realized why the Nisga'a Highway wasn't the first option presented on Google Maps. It was too late to turn around, as I'd been traveling for more than an hour from Terrace. My little red hot rod would have to endure the conditions if we wanted to reach our destination before dark.
We decided that we were up for the challenge.
The road conditions changed frequently over the next 50 kilometres. I encountered dirt, mud, puddles, potholes, boulders, puddles, tracked out... but it's all part of the experience, right?
I eventually made it of the Nass Camp Service Road (as I realized the sign said) and back one to paved land.
For the rest of the journey, it rained on and off. I passed two black bears on the side of the road, countless mountains, a few impressive glaciers...
My pyris formis muscle pain was killing me and I was forced out of the car to take photos, walk and stretch on more than a few occasions. The suffering is well worth the adventure though... and I have to constantly remind myself of that.
All in all... it was a 6 hour journey from Prince Rupert to Stewart.
... partially done on the Highway of Tears and partially done on a shitty logging road...