The best and the worst


We can summarize our trip from the North of British Columbia in two great stopovers. The first one , from Watson Lake to Fort Nelson, is the best where the nature gives us the maximum she can offer and the second one, from Fort Nelson to Dawson Creek, where the nature suffer from the men’s work.

Let’s begin by the best…

We left our Watson Lake’s host for about 300 m. to the next city. No grocery on the road, it will be certainly the biggest distance we will have to do without supplying for our entire trip (at least, we hope). We buy for 11 days of food before our departure. Our bags are full and the rest are in plastic bags…Our bikes were never so heavy.

Some miles after the city, we left Yukon Territory for British Columbia province.

Since many weeks, the travelers, we met on the other side of the road, told us that after Watson Lake, you will see more wild life. We can tell that it is right. After about just 6 miles, we spot already a bear on the side of the road, and a second one not far away. That day, we saw at least 9 bears and we didn’t count the babies. They are all black bears. They are used to see people and they are not stressed by us. They just stop eating for one second to look at us and they keep on eating. Almost all the time, we make noise when we see one just to not stress them (it could be dangerous for us). But sometimes, we cannot observe them in advance and we are scared when we see one behind a tree just a few feet from us.

Black bear

Black bear

The bears are not the only animals we see along the road. We begin to spot some bison. These are so big that at the first one, we feel afraid. They look at us, their head down; we didn’t know how they will react: charge at us or go away? We stand back and do the same thing: look at them without make a move. We stay there a long time without knowing what to do… A car is coming and knowing what our problem is, will stop just in front of the bison and let us pass. This mastodon looks at us without doing something. At the end, he is not so bad. For the other ones, we will pass them without stopping but we’ll let some space between each of us. Each time, they react in the same way: they do nothing. Like the bears, they are not very stressed. That day, we saw at least 7 bison walking along the road.

Bison près de Coal river

Bison close to Coal river

With all these bears around, we better want to ask to the gas station’s owner if we can camp beside the station. It won’t change anything if a bear came but it makes us more confident.

The day after, we see three different kinds of bears: many black bears, one grizzly (the first one) and two brown bears with black head. These two look like a mix of the two others even if the grizzly and the black bear don’t go along very well. We will see also some bison but a lot less than the day after, that time; it is herd of sixty animals that eat along the road. Everybody stop to take picture. We do the same thing. We keep one seeing some bears but less than the day before. We stop for lunch in a gas station. It is also a campground. We met a cyclist telling us that in front of us, they are a lot of hills. We are already tired and we didn’t feel to climb today. So, we stay at that campground and have time to take a very nice shower.

The day after, we wake up abruptly. We hear around the tent some noise, very close, like breathing and a growl. We think right away: It’s a bear! But when we look by the window, we were half reassured…we see bison’s legs just on the tent’s corner. We go out very fast. We were afraid to be trample. We see almost twenty bison around us. What a nice spectacle the nature gives to us, especially for Kayla. It is the first time she sees some animals very close out of her trailer. She points at them doing “wouwwou”. For her, all the animals make the same noise.

We keep on seeing some other bison and the same night, we arrive at Liard Hot Springs, a place we were happy to see. We will stay here tomorrow to use their spring but for now, we are in a hurry to put the tent up because some big black clouds are following us since a long time. After the rain, we meet Marc and Carina, a Belgian couple travelling since 2 years and a half. They begin with a bike and now because of some health’s problem, they are with a motorcycle. We had a nice evening and we told them Good Bye after the breakfast the day after.

Marc et Carina voyageant à moto.

Marc et Carina travelling by motocycle.

 

It is time now to go to the thermal source. They are on the other side of the road at 5 min walk on a nice trail. They are natural spring. The water is around 104F. Close to the beginning of the source, it is very hot. When we go away, the water is just very nice. Kayla is like us, even she is young and had not a lot of chance to swim, she loves that paradise. And we are lucky, we are almost alone. We go eat lunch at the campground and come back for the afternoon. It was a so nice day.

The next day, we take the road again. A few minutes after we left, we meet Ron, an American man from Colorado. He also travels by bike. We will see him many times during that day and sometimes, we ride together. There is less wild animal on the road; we see just a bear and a bison. We were used to see a lot more. The landscape change suddenly. We are now in the Rockies; the mountains are all around us. This is awesome! That night, we found a place to tent close to a lake and we had a wonderful sunset.
Since some weeks, we have now some darkness during the night. It is strange for us; we were used for the last 3 months to have light nonstop day and night.

McDonald campground Muncho Lake Provincial park

Muncho Lake provincial park

Next morning, we left early at 9:30. It is unusual for us; we use to leave around 10 or 11 AM. We will reward because we meet our first mountain goat. Like the other animals, she is not stressed by us. The road begins to go up. Little bit surprising because we thought that tomorrow, we will have to climb until 4200’. For now we climb 3600’ and we go down on the other side. The landscape is still amazing between the turquoise river, the mountains and the sun. Again another nice day!
When we get up the next day, the heat and the nice weather are already there. We begin to ascend since we left. We climb almost all the time, a few downhill. We eat lunch at 11 miles from the top… no more downhill… It is really a big ascent with some passing at 9%. We stop 6 miles ahead and have a delicious ice-cream in a service station. We meet there Patty and Ian, a Fort St John couple. Patty will become very fast the best Kayla’s friend because she gave her a banana. Give something to eat at Kayla and she will love you forever. We keep on the road to Summit Lake and we see many mountain goats, a kind of “mouflon” in France. We arrive at least on the top, tired but happy to see this superb landscape. We will stay there for the night and we will meet again Patty and Ian. They invite us to have dinner with them.

Summit Lake

Summit Lake

We take the road again for a long day. We begin with 12 miles of very fast descent but we will be surprised at the end of the day by a third ascent. We will be at more than 3000’. Three mountain pass in three days! Our legs begin to be tired. At the top, we look to find a place for tenting but some bear excrements change our minds. It was a good thing because at the descent, we saw a bear. We cannot find a good place to sleep. We keep on descent with some ascent. Our legs are tired but we were still lucky, we saw a moose on the road. It begins to be late. We stop for dinner on the side of the road and we still looking for a nice place to sleep. Sometimes later we meet 2 Czech cyclists. They began their trip in Argentina. We talk a little bit and we start again. We arrive at a crossing road with a sign for a boat access ramp. The trail must finish on a river, a nice place to camp. We take that trail but after 2 miles and a lot of mosquitoes, we didn’t see a river. So we turn back and finally, we sleep at the crossing. It is not the best place but now it is late, we have no choice. We ride more than 5 hours and make 55 miles. It is a big day. But ride on the night was a nice experience.

12 hours after, we are still on the go on our bikes for a short day to arrive in Fort Nelson. We finally make the 300 miles since Watson Lake in 10 days. At the tourism information, we meet again Ron. He came to see us and bring a gift to Kayla. She was so happy. We stay here 2 days to have a rest.

When we leave Fort Nelson, our second part of our British Columbia crossing begins. It will be the worst.

The landscape changes a lot. No more nice mountains, it is boring. The road is a little bit hilly but we cross dense forest where it is not easy to find a place to camp. And instead of the nice river, we found some river with black oil water. We cannot drink that water even with the filter we have. We got a problem because since some weeks, the weather is getting warmer. In that North-West of Canada, this year, the summer is very warm. We have every day more than85F. So we need more water and we cannot bring with us a big quantity. At the end of our second day, we have almost nothing left to drink. We decide to stop for dinner at a rest area. We are sure that some people will stop there. We just begin to cook that a big ATV with French registration arrives. We go to see them right away. We meet then Fred and Baptiste, his son. They are crossing Canada until Anchorage where they will get the rest of their family to keep on the trip around the world they start 4 years ago (www.martinautourdumonde.com). They see on their GPS a trail going to a river very close from us: a very nice place to stay for the night. Fred takes his motorcycle just fixed in the back of his truck and go to see what it looks like. Meanwhile a German cyclist arrives. He also rides around the world and he is going in South America. We share our dinner with him by the time Fred is coming back. So the river is really at 1 mile ahead on a trail everybody can ride. And we are all together to stay there for the night. And again, what a stroke of luck!

Martin atour du monde

Martin autour du monde – Fred and Baptiste

Fred and Baptiste invite us to take breakfast with them the next day. We talk a lot and we leave very late. So we stop also very late for the lunch at another rest area. The luck is with us. We meet there a French Quebecer couple. They are traveling in a small RV. They also invite us to share their meal and of course, Kayla will love them. We leave our stomach full and with cold water bottles. These bottles won’t stay cold very long because the weather is so warm.

This warm weather doesn’t help us. Every effort is very tough and no wind to help us. We take advantage of the descent to have wind but the ascents are difficult. It is on the top of one of them that we stop for lunch the day after. Before we leave, Bob, a trucker stops to talk to us. He invites us to camp tonight beside his RV in a campground he stays many weeks for his work. We see him that night in his campsite. Seeing that we are so tired, he gives us a good bed in his RV and tells us to stay there for another day, just to take a break.

Bob's Trailer

Bob’s Trailer

Bob is one of the truckers we find on the road since 2 days. This region between Fort Nelson and Fort St John in the northern British Columbia is full of oil well and natural gas field. It gives plenty of very well paid jobs to a lot of people. Bob is working 12-14 hours a day, 7 days a week and earns a lot of money. But unfortunately, you have to pay for that. You can observe what happen to the forest, the air pollution, the odor sometimes very strong and you can view the sun behind the dust the trucks make. And we see just what we can from the road, you didn’t see inside the land.
We are the directs eyewitnesses that what the men can do for money

Gas field

Not very attractive place.

The road is still dull and the traffic terrible because of the trucks, our daily mileage is going up. Sometimes, we make more than 50 miles a day despite the heat and the hills we have to climb. We arrive at Fort St John quickly and meet again Patty and Ian who are living in the campground. We talk with Patty the next day just before leaving for Dawson Creek at 50 miles ahead. It is the first time that two cities are so close since the beginning of our trip. It is good to ride with not too much stuff. Unfortunately there are many trucks on the road and even if the truckers are very good drivers, some are not. We had a big fear onetime when a stupid trucker passes so close than us and he makes that deliberately because it was nobody else on the road. It was the only time and we are lucky that the others truckers were nice. But it is a part of the trip. We can ask to everybody to be courteous.

It is at Dawson Creek that the Alaska Highway and our way in British Columbia end up for us. Alberta province is just in a few miles ahead. We will take a break before some new adventures.

Mile 0 - Dawson creek

Mile 0 – Dawson creek

Une réponse à The best and the worst

  1. Pegi mitchell says:

    U 2 r a great inspiration. We r friends of it aunt Nicole& Richard. We love hearing ur adventures. Take care & kiss Kayla 4 us.

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