Helicopter to a crashed USAF C-47 north of Haines Junction

A few weeks ago, I got a call from a friend who was trying to get 6 people together to fly to the most iconic of the many plane crashes in the Yukon – a C-47 high on a barren mountain north of Haines Junction. Yes, I was in!

Putting together something like that can be like herding cats, but Gerry made it happen. A last minute time change due to other commitments at Trans North Helicopters moved us from 1:30 to 6pm on July 12th, but in the Land of the Midnight Sun, that made no real difference.

I left home at 4:00 for the 169-km drive to the Haines Junction Airport. The weather was quite good in Whitehorse, as was the forecast for Haines Junction. Nearing Haines Junction, though, the weather reality ahead was much different.

Rainstorm ahead on the Alaska Highway east of Haines Junction, Yukon
I drove into a wild storm at the airport, with high winds and heavy rain. By 6:10, though, it was passing over.


A few minutes later, our magic carpet arrived – a 1994 Bell 206L-4 LongRanger, registration C-GESH.

Trans North's 1994 Bell 206L-4 LongRanger, registration C-GESH
We met our pilot, Ian, and after a quick safety briefing, the 6 passengers were getting buckled in. In the Long Ranger, even the person in the rear middle seat has great viewing.

Geting buckled into a Trans North Bell 206L-4 LongRanger
Away we go, heading north at 6:43. Pretty much as soon as we were airborne, I realized that I should have brought my Garmin Summit to track our route.

Flying over the Haines Junction Airport, Yukon
From my rear-facing seat, the view was to the east. The large lake is Pine Lake, with the Alaska Highway in the centre of the photo. There were rainstorms in every direction.

Aerial view of Pine Lake and the Alaska Highway
A close look at the slopes of Paint Mountain.

Paint Mountain, Yukon
North of Paint Mountain, Ian angled the helicopter off to the northeast. This is vast country, with the odd ATV trail the only sign that humans travel through it.

Flying over the Yukon wilderness north of Haines Junction
The valleys have a lot of thick brush, but one you get above that, there are some superb ridges for hiking. Most species of Yukon wildlife live down there – grizzlies, moose, caribou, sheep….

Flying over the Yukon wilderness north of Haines Junction
Flying up Marshall Creek at 6:49, we spotted the only cabin along our 100-km route. It’s the tiny green roof above and left of centre in the next photo.

A cabin on Marshall Creek, Yukon
Nearing 7,000 feet elevation, at 6:51. At one point, Ian asked if everyone was feeling okay, because everybody had stopped talking. I guess we were all just stunned by how incredible the Yukon is from the air.


It’s the great, big, broad land ‘way up yonder,
It’s the forests where silence has lease;
It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.

(“The Spell of the Yukon”, Robert W. Service, 1907)

It's the great, big, broad land 'way up yonder...
There are 3 Dall sheep rams down there. They were not happy about the noise, but we were gone in just a few seconds.

Flying over Dall sheep rams in the Yukon wilderness

Flying over Dall sheep rams in the Yukon wilderness

A couple of minutes before 7:00, Ian settled the helicopter on a saddle of broken rock literally in the middle of nowhere. He said that the C-47 was just ahead and below our position.

Incredible. I controlled my excitement so that everyone could get initial shots of the wreck without any people in them.

Crashed USAF C-47 / DC-3 high in the mountains north of Haines Junction, Yukon
The aircraft is a Douglas C-47D, the US military designation for a DC-3. This one crashed on February 7, 1950 while searching for a USAF C-54 troop transport that vanished while flying from Alaska to Montana. There were 44 people on board the C-54 – 8 crew members and 36 passengers, including 2 civilians, a woman and her infant son. That aircraft has never been found, though people continue the search each summer to this day.

Crashed USAF C-47 / DC-3 high in the mountains north of Haines Junction, Yukon
This C-47, U.S. Army Air Force unit number 45-1037, was based at Eielson Air Force Base in Anchorage. The Army Air Forces “Report of Major Accident” says that the accident occurred at 19:45 Zulu, which is 11:45 local time. “Aircraft departed Whitehorse, Canada, at approximately 0815, 7 February 1950 to participate in search for a missing USAF C-54. The crew was assigned a search area 35 to 50 miles south of Ashihik [sic – Aishihik] in the Yukon Territory. Upon arrival at the search area the weather was overcast to broken. Descent to 4000′ indicated was made and search was performed in the east side of the area. A parallel search of surrounding mountain peaks was not made due to low-hanging broken cloud. When the search of the eastern portion of the area had been completed, the aircraft climbed to an altitude of 7500 feet and contacted Whitehorse, giving a position report. A descent was then made to 5000′ and proceeded toward the western portion of the search area. The pass through which the pilot had intended to fly in order to get into the other portion of the area closed in due to ice fog. A turn was made and another pass selected which appeared to have ample clearance. Pilot applied normal climb power-settings and continued toward the saddle-back. A down-draft was encountered which stopped the climb of the aircraft. As soon as the aircraft was clear of the downdraft full power was applied to the engines. Another down-draft was encountered at this time and aircraft flew into the side of the mountain.”

Crashed USAF C-47 / DC-3 high in the mountains north of Haines Junction, Yukon

There were 10 people on board the plane, and remarkably, all survived, and injuries were relatively minor. The pilot was 28-year-old First Lieutenant Donald J. King. The rest of the crew consisted of co-pilot Second Lieutenant Homer L. Zachariae, radio operator Master Sergeant Charles R. Dunne, and flight engineers Sergeant Edward J. Wesloski and PFC Richard L. Toth. Also on board were 5 Canadian search spotters, Privates P.R. Sweeney, J.C. Shaw, R.H. Clappison, O.O. Carter, and M. Chimko.

From the next photo on, most of the photos have been processed as HDR images to bring out all the detail.

Crashed USAF C-47 / DC-3 high in the mountains north of Haines Junction, Yukon
When I began writing this post, it took a few hours to get the real story of the rescue put together. Ian told us that at least one member of the crew had walked to the highway. That would have been an incredible survival story, but it’s not true. The confusion comes in because another C-47 involved in the search had crashed on Mount Lorne south of Whitehorse on February 1st – the pilot of that crash had walked about 5 miles to the Carcross Road. The newspaper photo below is one of many articles about that crash, in newspapers across North America.

Crashed USAF C-47 / DC-3 on Lorne Mountain south of Whitehorse, Yukon
On Wednesday, February 8th, the day after the crash, newspaper articles started to appear. Due to the position report that the pilot had climbed out of the valley to make, and the fact that clear S.O.S. signals were able to be transmitted from the C-47, the crash site had been found fairly quickly. However, both “Aircraft Missing” and “Aircraft Found” articles appeared in various newspapers that day. The article that follows, and many others, use “Pon Lake” as a location reference, but there is no lake officially named that in the Yukon – I’m fairly certain that Pine Lake is the one being referred to. Most of the articles say that 12 men were on board, but there were only 10 according to the official crash report quoted above. Many reports say that the temperature at the crash site was -38°F (that’s -39°C).

Crashed USAF C-47 / DC-3 high in the mountains north of Haines Junction, Yukon

On Thursday, February 9th, newspaper reports included statements such as “Ten men, three with painfully broken bones, huddled miserably today in the wreckage of their C-47 search plane which crashed Tuesday on a frozen Yukon mountainside.” The injury reports were soon changed to one man with a broken leg, one with chest injuries, and a third in shock.

Food, sleeping bags, and a radio were dropped to the men at the crash site by the first rescue plane to spot them. Other aircraft dropped tents other survival gear, and firewood.

A rescue party was flown to an emergency airstrip which had been built on the ice of Pine Lake, and “slogged over virtually impassable terrain toward the crash site.” The rescue party was soon joined by four M29 Weasels, a tracked vehicle built by Studebaker, which were sent ahead to break trail. One newspaper reported that “The 10-man rescue party consisted of crack U.S. mountain ski troops from Camp Carson, Colo., and Canadian soldiers trained in Arctic rescue work.” and another said that “The veteran 10-man group was equipped with sleds, ropes, and ice axes for shopping out steps in steep, slippery places. The survivors will be placed on the sleds and eased down the peak with the ropes.”

By nightfall on the 9th, the rescue party (minus two of the Weasels which had tracks come off) had reached the valley to the west of the crash site. The men planned to climb the last 2,000 feet of steep mountainside in the morning. In the meantime, though 6 rescue personnel including a doctor had dropped to the C-47 from an RCAF Dakota by parachute (“Dakota” was the Canadian military designation for a C-47/DC-3).


Crashed USAF C-47 / DC-3 high in the mountains north of Haines Junction, Yukon

Crashed USAF C-47 / DC-3 high in the mountains north of Haines Junction, Yukon

Crashed USAF C-47 / DC-3 high in the mountains north of Haines Junction, Yukon

On the afternoon of February 10th, the rescue was largely completed when a USAF rescue helicopter made 5 trips to the base of the mountain below the crash scene and brought out 9 men. When darkness fell, “The 10th man, Lance-Corporal Mike Chimko, of Kelvington, Sask., remained with a ground rescue party at the base of the peak.” The pilot, Lt. King, told reporters that the slide down the 45-degree slope to the helicopter landing site was the only time during the ordeal that he was frightened: “If a guy couldn’t dig his heels in to stop himself every so often he had a free ticket to hell – he’d drop all the way into the valley.”

The story that Lt. Don King, the pilot, seems to have told reporters is very different that what the official report states. “We were flying through a mountain pass when the weather gummed in on us,” he recalled. “We were caught and just couldn’t get out. Visibility was practically nil. We swerved away from jutting rock and just before we pancaked at the top of the mountain I pulled the stick back.”

The closest brush with death during the crash was that of M/Sgt. Charles Dunne. He was half out of his seat when the aircraft struck the mountain. A propeller broke off and came through the side of the fuselage, breaking his leg. “If I’d still been in my seat it would have killed me.”

This photo of the crash scene was widely published on February 10th and 11th.

Crashed USAF C-47 / DC-3 high in the mountains north of Haines Junction, Yukon
So, that was how the C-47 arrived here and the crew left the site. Now, we have this amazing site to visit. The next photo shows the co-pilot’s side of the cockpit.

Crashed USAF C-47 / DC-3 high in the mountains north of Haines Junction, Yukon
The condition of the aircraft is remarkable. Covered in snow for most of the year, everything, inside and out, and in exceptionally good condition. Snow and ice driven by winds even keep much of the aluminum polished to a high gloss.

Crashed USAF C-47 / DC-3 high in the mountains north of Haines Junction, Yukon
The number on the tail, 51037, is a shortened version of its Army Air Force number, 45-1037.

Crashed USAF C-47 / DC-3 high in the mountains north of Haines Junction, Yukon
I mostly just walked slowly around the aircraft, marvelling at the scene. And now having followed the actual story through newspapers of the time, marvelling at the skill, teamwork and heroism that resulted in everyone surviving what could easily have been an unsurvivable crash.

Crashed USAF C-47 / DC-3 high in the mountains north of Haines Junction, Yukon
The interior looks much the same as it did once the air force parts-removal team finished with it 67 years ago.

Crashed USAF C-47 / DC-3 high in the mountains north of Haines Junction, Yukon
The position of this damage at the outboard edge of the engine means that it was the landing gear that caused it.

Crashed USAF C-47 / DC-3 high in the mountains north of Haines Junction, Yukon
After about 20 minutes at the crash site, a cloud started to blanket the slope, and it was time to get back to the helicopter. I wasn’t “finished” yet, but I had documented the site to my satisfaction. Now I just wanted to sit back and look at the plane and the mountains and think about the events that led to it being here.

Crashed USAF C-47 / DC-3 high in the mountains north of Haines Junction, Yukon
Walking back to the helicopter. The iconic C-47 vanishes into the mist.

Crashed USAF C-47 / DC-3 high in the mountains north of Haines Junction, Yukon
I stopped just long enough to lay down to capture a bit of colour in this now gray world.

Wildflower on a Yukon mountain-top
Well that’s not good! With a helicopter, it’s possible to fly with that much visibility (low and slow!), but it’s certainly not recommended.

Helicopter on a mountain-top in thick cloud
Within a few minutes, the cloud had blown over, and we lifted off the mountain at 7:38. Two minutes later, we passed over this small, still-frozen lake.


As much as I’m tired of the weather we get in the Yukon, outings like this confirm the fact that I can never leave this country. Most Yukoners who have left say that while you may leave the Yukon, the Yukon never leaves you.




At 7:46, just 8 minutes after leaving the crash site, the Alaska Highway could be seen in the distance.


Back over the Haines Junction airport at 7:49.

Aerial view of the Haines Junction airport, Yukon
It took a few minutes for Ian to get his bird tied down for the night, and then we went back to the office to pay for the trip. The cost broke down to $135.60 per person. Everybody agreed that it was an absolutely incredible experience for that sort of money.

Seat in a Trans North Bell Long Ranger helicopter
One last look at “Echo Sierra Hotel” and we were all on our way back to Whitehorse.

Trans North's 1994 Bell 206L-4 LongRanger, C-GESH
Just a few miles from the airport, the skies opened up in a major way! That would have been nasty up on the mountain.


Looking south (east actually) right at Km 1474 of the Alaska Highway, at 9:14 pm. What a crazy weather-day.


One final shot from the day, of part of the 8 km of Alaska Highway that’s being re-constructed to get rid of some really bad heaves that have been getting worse and worse for 20 years or so.




5 days at Kluane Lake: grizzlies, history, and beach fun

I got home from our 62-day wander around BC on June 26th, and on the 28th, was on the road again. I had come home a few days early so that Cathy could join us for an extra-long Canada Day (July 1st) weekend out at our favourite campground, Congdon Creek on Kluane Lake.

Cathy took the Tracker to work that day, and after she got off work, we met at a rest area at Km 1436 of the Alaska Highway, just west of Whitehorse. I hooked the Tracker up to the motorhome there, and by 5:00 pm, we were on our way. Just after 6:00, we stopped at the Otter Falls Cutoff lodge at Km 1546, fed the kids dinner and then went in to the cafe and had a leisurely dinner ourselves.

As we neared the campground a couple of minutes before 9:00 pm, we saw a grizzly along the shore of Kluane Lake at Km 1663. That put the weekend off to a great start – we seldom even stop for black bears, but seeing a grizzly is always a very special experience for us.

Grizzly bear along the Alaska Highway at Kluane Lake, Yukon
He was very focussed on eating a very specific light yellow flower, and paid little attention to us.

Grizzly bear along the Alaska Highway at Kluane Lake, Yukon
We spent half an hour with the bear, and then continued on.

Grizzly bear along the Alaska Highway at Kluane Lake, Yukon
Just a couple of hundred meters/yards from the Congdon Creek Campground entrance at Km 1666, more grizzlies! This was amazing.

Grizzly bear with new twins along the Alaska Highway at Kluane Lake, Yukon
There was very litte traffic on the highway at 9:30, but everybody stopped to watch this family. A semi-trailer even stopped and sat in the traffic lane for a few minutes while the driver took photos from the passenger window.

Grizzly bear with new twins along the Alaska Highway at Kluane Lake, Yukon
After about 10 minutes, the family came right up onto the shoulder of the highway. The cubs were really funny, standing up, and playing, as well as getting the business of having dinner taken care of.

Grizzly bear with new twins along the Alaska Highway at Kluane Lake, Yukon
We stayed with the family until they wandered off into the forest after about 20 minutes, and normal traffic resumed on the Alaska Highway.

Grizzly bear cub along the Alaska Highway at Kluane Lake, Yukon

We prefer to set up in lakefront campsites, but knew that they would all be taken by the time we arrived. They were, and we set up in site #28 up in the forest (there are a total of 39 sites at Congdon Creek Campground). The next morning, though, I took the Tracker down to the lakeshore, as as soon as the camper left site #8, I parked the Tracker on the site and then walked back and drove the motorhome down. Having a “toad” can be very handy! The Yukon family camped next to us in #30 was also watching for a lakeshore site, and one of the kids had come down on his bike to watch for an opening. While I got the first site to open, they soon got #6. The man actually came over and good-naturedly congratulated me on my method of getting the first opening πŸ™‚

The big event for me for our first Kluane Lake day, Thursday, June 29th, was an Alaska Highway 75th Anniversary celebration hosted by Parks Canada at Soldiers Summit. The party was scheduled to start at 12:30, but I went over about an hour early.

Alaska Highway 75th Anniversary celebration at Soldiers Summit, Yukon
I was really pleased to see new interpretive panels in the parking lot…


…and even a very good new brochure, “Plants of Soldier’s Summit and ThachΓ€l DhΓ€l (Sheep Mountain)”. I’ve scanned a copy of the brochure and put it online for download (pdf, 1.7MB).

Plants of Soldier's Summit and Thachal Dhal (Sheep Mountain
Although there was a lot going on in the trail parking lot, I expected that the actual ceremony would be done up at the site where the opening ceremony actually took place on November 20, 1942. The 50th Anniversary celebrations were done up there on November 20, 1992, but it was very cold! Anyway, I began my visit by walking up to that site. All of the interpretive panels along the trail have been replaced. Some, like the one in the next photo, have audio recordings of interviews.

Interpretive panel along the Soldier's Summit Trail, Yukon
To go along with the brochure, several plants now have signs identifying them, in 3 languages plus the scientific (Latin) name.

Prairie sagebrush along the Soldier's Summit Trail, Yukon
There are still some very nice places to sit and enjoy the broad views over Kluane Lake and the new Alaska Highway.

Bench and interpretive panel along the Soldier's Summit Trail, Yukon
This new panel includes a map showing the location of the 1943 road, the bridges that were built over the Slims River in 1943, 1955, 1956, and 2010, and the extent of the new shoreline since the retreat of the Kaskawulsh Glacier dramatically reduced the amount of water flowing from the Slims River into Kluane Lake. This was the first time I’d seen a name put to what used to be an island at Slims River Flats – it’s called Fish Heart Island (LutsiΓ―).

Interpretive panel along the Soldier's Summit Trail, Yukon
High above the 1942 highway opening site, the are even a couple of the Parks Canada Red Chairs. The Red Chairs are a program to encourage people to stop and enjoy a few particularly fine locations across Canada.

Parks Canada Red Chairs above Soldier's Summit, Yukon
Walking back down the 1942 road to join the party beside the new highway.

Soldier's Summit Trail, Yukon
By 1:00, the food tent was very busy. I was there early and had already filled up on stew and bannock and cookies.

The food tent at the Alaska Highway 75th Anniversary celebration at Soldiers Summit, Yukon
To bring a bit of 1942 life to the crowd, my friend Fawn Fritzen was singing period songs, with Andrea McColeman on piano.

Fawn Fritzen and Andrea McColeman at the Alaska Highway 75th Anniversary celebration at Soldiers Summit, Yukon
I love hearing Fawn singing these old songs. It’s hard to believe that music so beautiful was being produced during some of the most horrible days of the last century.

Fawn Fritzen singing at the Alaska Highway 75th Anniversary celebration at Soldiers Summit, Yukon
There were, of course, speeches, but all were kept short. Our Member of Parliament, Larry Bagnell, is almost always fun to listen to in any case, and he was clearly enjoying this celebration. There’s a long section of highway resurfacing going on west of Whitehorse, and Larry joked that since the original construction crews were averaging 8 miles of new road a day, it should only take a day to complete the work. I didn’t hear a response from the Highways Minister, who was in attendance πŸ™‚

MP Larry Bagnell at the Alaska Highway 75th Anniversary celebration at Soldiers Summit, Yukon
At 2:00, the speeches were over, things had slowed down at the food tent, and most people were walking up the trail to the summit to hear more highway stories. I headed back to the campground to join my family.

The food tent at the Alaska Highway 75th Anniversary celebration at Soldiers Summit, Yukon
We had an enjoyable day at our campsite and on the beach, then after dinner, went out on a grizzly hunt. We hadn’t got very far before meeting this fellow, who had some large patches of fur missing. We didn’t stay with him very long.

Grizzly bear along the Alaska Highway at Kluane Lake
We had no plans on Friday – it was a full day of relaxing at the campsite, playing on the beach, and going on grizzly hunts (we saw one more grizzly between the campground and Destruction Bay). Bella has started to be bothered by the rocks on the beach in front of the campground.

The beach of Kluane Lake
She much prefers the fine gravels and sand of the beach further down the lake. Tucker just likes any beach that he can run on, and really perks up when that word is spoken πŸ™‚

Our dogs Bella and Tucker on the beach of Kluane Lake, Yukon
We drove over to Destruction Bay to see how badly the new lower lake level has hurt the marina there. It has completely ruined it to the point that the docks have even been removed. It doesn’t seem to me that digging it out would be that big a job if there was any will to do it. In 1942 it would have only taken a few hours to fix the problem…

The former marina at Destruction Bay, Yukon
I really wanted to get the kayak out, but it was too windy at the campground, so we drove over to the south end of the lake, past Slims River Flats. I stopped at the Slims River Bridge to get a few photos.

Slims River Bridge, Yukon
The new, much smaller, Slims River, looking up the Slims River Valley into Kluane National Park.

Slims River, Yukon
Conditions were perfect at the large pullout at Km 1642. I launched the kayak, got Tucker on my lap, and with a lifejacket on Bella, she had lots of fun swimming after us. She loves fairly shallow water, but doesn’t like swimming until we put her lifejacket on.

Kayaking on Kluane Lake with my dogs

Kayaking on Kluane Lake with my dogs
It was an absolutely perfect Kluane Lake afternoon.

Enjoying the beach at Kluane Lake, Yukon
Back at our campsite for a steak barbecue.

Campsite #8 at Congdon Creek Campground on Kluane Lake, Yukon
The weather on Canada Day, July 1st, was cloudy and cool. At about 1:00, we decided to drive to Haines Junction to see what was going on celebration-wise. I stopped at the Slims River East trailhead to read the notices about the entire Slims River Valley being closed to hikers due to a problem grizzly. The fine for violating that closure is $25,000.

Slims River East trail - closed due to a problem grizzly
A slope above Christmas Creek definitely provided a Kodak moment or two.

Wildflower along the Alaska Highway at Christmas Creek, Yukon
We arrived at Haines Junction just as a heavy rain was shutting down the festivities and people were scrambling to get sound equipment and fabric chairs into the Convention Centre. We stayed for a few minutes, then went over to Frosty’s for burgers and ice cream. Bella and Tucker love soft ice cream cones! πŸ™‚

Rain shuts down Canada Day festivities at Haines Junction, Yukon
The rain followed us back to Congdon Creek, but then about 9:00 pm the skies cleared, so we headed out on another grizzly hunt. We met one grizzly about halfway to Destruction Bay, but he was pretty grumpy and didn’t want us there, so we quickly left. The next photo was shot at 10:01 pm in The Land of the Midnight Sun.

The Alaska Highway in the sunshine at 10 pm
A couple of minutes later, I took a couple of photos of the grumpy grizzly from a distance that wouldn’t bother him.

Grizzly along the Alaska Highway at Kluane Lake
On our dog walk the next morning, we saw a campsite that had been trashed by some local pigs. Park attendants might not be around for several hours, so I went back and cleaned it up. I just don’t understand that sort of disrespect in a place like this.

Trashed campsite at Congdon Creek, Yukon
On our last full day at Kluane Lake, I wanted to go for a long walk on the Slims River Flats. When the dogs and I got there, though, the wind was screaming. I decided to see if the far side was any quieter. The dust at the Slims River Bridge didn’t look promising.

A dust storm at the Slims River Bridge, Yukon
It was bit better, and I decided to head out across the flats and see what it was like. Within about 10 minutes, the wind quit. This is Bella and Tucker’s favourite place to play!

Dogs playing at Slims River Flats, Yukon
And mud – what awesome areas of velvet-soft mud to play in! The deeper the mud, the more Bella likes it (so does her Dad πŸ™‚ ).

Mud on Slims River Flats, Yukon
I walked and the kids played until I thought that Bella must be exhausted, then started back towards the car.

Slims River Flats, Yukon
The patterns of the mud offer some really interesting photography. Sometimes tiny blades of grass, or dog paw-prints, add to the interest.

Dried mud on Slims River Flats, Yukon
The only animal prints I saw on the flats were these ones. I couldn’t identify it positively, but I expect that it was a caribou.

Caribou tracks across Slims River Flats, Yukon
One final shot, with a very muddy Bella. We walked up to a distant spot along the lake with clear water and a fine gravel beach, and all of us got cleaned up.

Slims River Flats, Yukon

A very strong wind returned shortly after we got back to the campground, so it was a quiet evening. Monday was raining and dreary, and we headed home, arriving at about 4 pm. Now, I’m just watching for some good weather to return to head out for a few days camping and hiking at the White Pass or Haines Summit. I also have some healing to do – while cutting kindling to get a campfire started on Saturday evening, I cut the tip of my thumb off with the axe. I bandaged it up and we carried on, but went to Emergency on Monday night to have a doctor look at it – he said it looked good. It didn’t hit the bone, but it’s going to look odd for the rest of my life. *sigh* (sorry, no photo of that πŸ™‚ )

Our final count of grizzlies for the 5 days was 9 encounters, with 8 different bears. That’s by the far the most either of us has ever seen except in Denali National Park, where I saw 13 grizzlies on one incredible day a few years ago.



RV Life: Costs and Experiences during 62 Days on the Road

We got home from our 62-day RV trip on June 26th, and although we’ve already been on another 5-day outing to Kluane Lake, I want to finish off the story of the big trip by giving you a global look at the trip, including a summary of costs that may help you with RV trip planning.

The Route

We travelled 4,432 miles (7,091 kilometers) in the motorhome, another 3,270 in the Tracker. That’s almost 1,000 km less in the motorhome but almost 2,500 km more than last year in the Tracker. The map below shows our basic route – click on it to open an interactive version in a new window.

Map of 62-day BC RV trip

The Costs

We spent $2,959.96 for 2,623 liters (577 Imperial gallons) of gas for the RV, which got 7.7 miles per gallon. That mpg is less than last year’s 8.3 mpg, and I’m not sure yet what to make of that. We also spent $383.02 for 316 liters of gas in the Tracker, which gets much better mileage, though I have no idea what. The average price of gas was $1.137 per liter, with the lowest (not counting our commercial cardlocks in Watson Lake and Whitehorse) being Dawson Creek and Prince George at $0.999, and the highest being Lillooet at $1.299.

Ferry costs were substantial, at $687.30 for the 4 sailings. When Cathy was with me, driving the RV and Tracker on to the ferry separately saved about $50, and buying an Experience card saved about $26.

We stayed at rest areas, pullouts, parking lots and at friends’ homes for 16 nights – costing a total of $0
We stayed at a Municipal campground for 3 nights, costing a total of $100.50.
We stayed at Provincial Park campgrounds for 8 nights, costing a total of $203.00.
We stayed at a National Park campground for 3 nights, costing a total of $107.90.
We stayed at commercial campgrounds for 31 nights, costing a total of $1,133.80.
The total cost for 61 nights accommodation was $1,521.20, an average of $24.93 per night.

For more information about our overnights (pullout locations, park names and prices, etc., I’ve created a pdf (29Kb).

Attractions and tours: $536.96 – much of that was on 2 boat tours that I took without Cathy, to Hot Springs Cove at Tofino, and Princess Louisa Inlet at Egmont.

We spent $1,026.75 on restaurant meals, $225.83 on beer and wine, and $485.76 on groceries for meals we cooked ourselves (the motorhome was very well stocked with food and wine when I left home).

At the start of the trip I had some plumbing issues with the RV that I spent $203.86 on parts to fix. I had to have an exhaust hangar on the Tracker fixed in Terrace, which cost $68.95.

“Working”

I spent about 160 hours writing 64 blog posts with over 1,500 photos (of the 7,256 photos in my folders after editing). The first post of the trip was on April 28th.

The Experiences

As happened after last year’s big trip, Cathy and I have discussed what the best experiences were, and can’t even come up with a short list. Really the only place that I just wanted to get through was the Fraser Valley – it’s just too busy. Having only 3 campground reservations for the entire trip (Saanich, Long Beach, and Port McNeill) allowed us to stop and stay wherever we wanted for as long as we wanted. We averaged 167 km (104 miles) per day, slightly more than last year but still a nice pace. There really is never enough time, though. There were many places that we’d like to have stayed for a week at.

This year, unlike last year, there were no negative experiences with either wildlife or people.


Murray and Cathy fishing at Port McNeill, BC

The RV & Toad

In my summary of our 56-day trip last year, I talked about the RV and toad – those thoughts haven’t changed, but I’ll repeat some of them here.

After 2 solid months in it, Cathy and I are convinced that the motorhome we chose is perfect for us – the only thing that I plan to add is a hydraulic lift to carry my motorcycle. The motorhome is a 2007 Fleetwood Terra LX 31M, a 31-foot-long Class A with 2 slideouts. It’s powered by an 8.1-liter Chevy Workhorse gas engine, with an Allison automatic transmission with overdrive. You can see a full tour of it as well as a discussion about our lengthy shopping process here. The photo below was shot at Teslin on our first day, April 26th. I bought the kayak for this trip – it’s much more practical than the 18-foot canoe I’ve hauled around on some trips. Although Cathy bought a new Jeep Cherokee to replace the old Tracker, which she bought new in 2001, it continues to be perfect as a motorhome toad/4Γ—4, so we’re keeping it.

RV, Tracker and kayak on the road
Although I’m not finished with BC yet for this year, we’ll be in the Yukon for most of the rest of the summer.

Murray and Cathy at Kluane Lake, Yukon


The push for home: Stewart to Whitehorse in 23 hours

Having decided to go home a few days early so that Cathy and I could go away for an extra-long Canada Day weekend, and with no good weather where I wanted to stop, I was home in Whitehorse 23 hours after leaving Stewart. The route is simply up Highway 37A (the Glacier Highway), then the Stewart-Cassiar, then the Alaska Highway.

I pulled away from the Bear River RV Park right after breakfast and a short walk, at 07:45 on Day 61 of the trip, June 25th. Home was 1,026 km away. Click on the map to open an interactive version in a new window.

Map, Stewart, BC to Whitehorse, Yukon
There are places where the bed of the Bear River appears to be a few inches above the level of the highway. The rock in the foreground was put there a couple of years ago to stop erosion when an overflow channel moved too close to the highway.

The Bear River near Stewart, BC
I was confident that I’d have the highway to myself for at least a couple of hours, so just stopped on the road to get photos of a couple of the best waterfalls along the Glacier Highway.

Waterfall along BC's Glacier Highway near Stewart, BC

Waterfall along BC's Glacier Highway near Stewart, BC
Low cloud and fog rising off the Bear River may have made the peaks vanish, but was still pretty interesting visually.

A misty morning on BC's Glacier Highway near Stewart, BC
At Km 40, the skies started to clear as I passed the Bear Glacier.

Clearing skies on BC's Glacier Highway near Stewart, BC
At 10:08, we reached the Km 265 post of the Stewart-Cassiar Highway, which is 106 km north of Meziadin Junction where the Glacier Highway meets it.

Northbound at Km 265 of the Stewart-Cassiar Highway
Along Eddontenajon Lake south of the community of Iskut at about Km 396, at 11:45. Rain showers were frequent enough to keep most of the bugs washed off the windshields, so I didn’t even need to stop to do that.

Eddontenajon Lake on the Stewart-Cassiar Highway
Dropping down from Gnat Pass to Dease Lake at Km 475. I’ve overnighted a couple of times at a pullout at Lower Gnat Lake, a particularly scenic spot on the Stewart-Cassiar Highway, just above the treeline. This time, I just stopped to take Bella and Tucker for a walk. My GPS said that I’d be home at 9:36 pm, so I was fairly sure that I’d push through.

Dropping down from Gnat Pass to Dease Lake at Km 475 of the Stewart-Cassiar Highway

I had a long fuel stop at Dease Lake, Km 488 – it was very busy. But while there, I had a long chat with a couple from Atlanta with a big motorhome towing a Jeep and dirt bike. They had just spent a few days in Whitehorse and couldn’t say enough about how much they loved it. That’s always nice to hear, and we do hear that sort of comment a lot from travellers.

I noted as I drove along Dease Lake that the Sawmill Point Recreation Area would be a good place to launch a kayak on a nice day to paddle over for a look at the ghost town of Laketon.

A scenic stretch of mountains at about Km 580.


Km 620, 6 k south of the small community of Good Hope Lake, at 4:20. A minute after taking the next photo, I was surprised to see a sheep alongside the highway.

Km 620 of the Stewart-Cassiar Highway
We stopped for dinner at the large Beaver Dam rest area at Km 649. Large fires burned through here in 2010 and again in 2012.

Old forest fire area at about Km 645 of the Stewart-Cassiar Highway
Heading west on the Alaska Highway at 6:05, I felt like we were almost home, but some of the storms were pretty wild and I was geting tired.

Storm on the Alaska Highway
At 7:10, I decided that the site of the long-vanished Message Post Lodge at Km 1111 would be a good place to spend the night. Bella and Tucker played and played and played in the large paved parking lot!

Message Post Lodge at Km 1111 of the Alaska Highway
It’s a lovely piece of property between two small lakes, but there’s only wreckage left now. It closed just before I started driving bus on the Alaska Highway in 1990.

Message Post Lodge at Km 1111 of the Alaska Highway
After 8:00 pm and Tucker wasn’t quite finished playing ball yet. But we were in bed shortly after that. I planned on a very early start so that we could see Cathy before she left for work the next morning.

My little dog Tucker in the RV
We were back on the road just after 03:30 on Day 62 of the trip, June 26th. I shot this right at 04:00 – back in The Land of the Midnight Sun.

04:00 on the Alaska Highway, the Land of the Midnight Sun
I pulled into our driveway right at 07:00. Our awesome Adventure was over!

Arrived home in Whitehorse with the RV after 62 days on the road

As I did after our 56-day Grand Adventure last year, I’ll be posting a summary of the costs and experiences next.



Driving the Granduc Road to the Salmon Glacier and beyond

On very wet Day 60 of the trip, June 24th, we spent the afternoon driving up what used to be called the Granduc Road out of Stewart. I picked up a copy of the “Glacier Highway and Salmon Glacier Self Guided Auto Tour” brochure (available as a 2.3 MB pdf download) at the Visitor Information Centre, and the very helpful woman there said that the road was only open as far as the Salmon Glacier, the last she heard. I hoped, though, to be able to drive beyond that, perhaps as far as the old Granduc mine site where I worked in 1975.

To orient you, here’s a map of our entire route for the afternoon, from the auto tour brochure.

Salmon Glacier Self Guided Auto Tour map
We left Stewart at 11:15, pausing briefly along the harbor to see if the boom boats were working. No, it was all quiet. It was not a good day to be heading into the mountains, with ragged clouds and a light rain, but it was worth a try.

Boom boats in the harbour at Stewart, BC
Northbound along the Salmon River at 10:30.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
The clouds were high enough that I was actually pleased with the photo potential. Sunshine is great, of course, but misty clouds like this show the reality of coastal BC and Alaska.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
At 7.6 km / 4.7 mile (from the Stewart Visitor Information Centre) is Moose Pond, named for the Loyal Order of Moose, a fraternal organization, not because moose are seen here.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
At 10.0 km / 6.2 mile, I stopped for a look at the start of the Titan Trail. This 8-km / 5-mi trail was built to access the Titan Mine in 1922. It looks like a good option on a dry day.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
The Titan trailhead parking lot is the ends of pavement. These signs warn that construction can be expected for the next 50 km (which is the entire road). The signs were installed by Pretium Resources, which is set to go into production at the Brucejack gold mine on their Valley of the Kings property at the end of the road this summer. They have built a new access road that joins Highway 37 south of Treaty Creek, though.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
The ruins of the Riverside Mine, which began development for silver and copper in 1922, are at 14.1 km / 8.7 mile. It operated with sporadic success until 1961.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
At 16.6 km / 10.3 mile, we came to Nine Mile (how odd!). Texas Creek, in the background, joins the Salmon River here. The wreckage of a bridge that provided access to mineral properties in the Texas Creek drainage until 1976 can be seen in the foreground.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
At noon, we reached the most unstable part of the road. Slides often close the road here, especially in wet weather.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
At 21.0 km / 13.0 mile, we crossed from Alaska back into British Columbia. A small cairn marks the border…

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
…and you can also see the border cut line. Every 10 years, the entire length of the border from Hyder north is cleared.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
This is part of the 31 MW Long Lake Hydroelectric Project.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
At the old Premier gold property, a great deal of rock is being moved, though I couldn’t tell for what purpose.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
The toe of the massive Salmon Glacier, at about 27.7 km / 17.2 mile. For a rather nasty day, this had turned out extremely well.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
On the edge of that cliff, a marmot was surveying his domain. I shot the photo from an adjoining cliff, not with the drone.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
At 12:25, we had reached the first of increasingly-large patches of snow alongside the road.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
Far below the road, the birth of the Salmon River in a cave at the base of the glacier.

The Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
The infinite patterns and the display of power of any glacier, but the Salmon Glacier in particular, fascinate me.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
Deepening snow at about 33.0 km.

Driving the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
The Salmon Glacier is the 5th largest glacier in Canada, but is by far the largest with this sort of road access.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
The summit viewpoint, at 37.0 km / 22.9 mile. “The Bear-Man” sells Salmon Glacier postcards and books, living there in a tent and going to town once a week or so for groceries. Nice on a warm sunny day, but…

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
The summit viewpoint was a great place to let the kids have a snow-play, but with distractions and cliffs everywhere, they stayed on leash. They may have thought that we were close to home, because there was snow in their yard when we left in April πŸ™‚

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
The clouds soon moved in and shut down visibility badly, but the road was open past the summit, so I continued on for a look.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
One of the places that I really like on what really is the Granduc Road past the summit is this tunnel. In the winter, and well into summer, the road went through this tunnel to avoid very deep snow that accumulated on the slope to the left. Deep as in 40-60 feet.

Driving the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
The tunnel is about a kilometer long, and when it was in use, air-operated doors were at each end. Our bus driver would open his window and pull on a cable hung at a convenient height to open the doors to get in and out. Last year, I could see the other end of the tunnel, but this year, something was blocking it. As well, I could hear a massive amount of water in the tunnel, pulsing as if it was ocean waves, though no water was visible.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
This short video lets you hear the water.


At 41 km, which is about half-way along the outside of the tunnel, I got stopped by deep snow and turned around. It was now 1:20 pm.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
One of my goals for this drive up the Granduc Road was to assess the access for a group of fans of John Carpenter’s Antarctic thriller The Thing. It opened in theaters on June 25th, 1982, so I unknowingly missed the 35th Anniversary by one day. Anyway, the group, which has a Facebook page, is planning a 40th anniversary trip to the filming site, which is seen in the next photo. Fifteen years ago, I helped group founder Todd Cameron find the site for a visit in 2003, and I hope to be with the group in 2022.

The filming site of John Carpenter's Antarctic thriller The Thing at the Salmon Glacier near Stewart, BC
Due to difficult lighting, I’ve processed some of these photos as HDR images so you can see both the foreground and the snow and ice.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
A creek that runs through the filming site has washed out the road that used to go across it, but the two ends of the road both reach the Granduc Road so access to all of the site is easy.

The filming site of John Carpenter's Antarctic thriller The Thing at the Salmon Glacier near Stewart, BC

The filming site of John Carpenter's Antarctic thriller The Thing at the Salmon Glacier near Stewart, BC
It was raining hard, driven by a strong wind, so I didn’t do any exploring of the site, which still has some helicopter and other wreckage from the filming.

The filming site of John Carpenter's Antarctic thriller The Thing at the Salmon Glacier near Stewart, BC
The main road seen here is the original Granduc Road which opened in 1965. It was later moved to the higher route used now, though I haven’t found the date of that re-routing.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
The heavy rain certainly made for some wonderful waterfalls all along the road.

Waterfall on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
Summit Lake was chock full of icebergs.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
A final look at the filming site before it vanished into the clouds.

The filming site of John Carpenter's Antarctic thriller The Thing at the Salmon Glacier near Stewart, BC
I was surprised to see a guy pulling a fairly large recreational trailer up towards the glacier. While it’s not unreasonable, it was the first one I’d seen in several trips up and down the road.

Driving to the Salmon Glacier on the Granduc Road at Stewart, BC
The Canadian border crossing between Hyder and Stewart, at 2:45. There is no border crossing post going into Alaska, and the Canadian one seems to me to be a ridiculous waste of money.

The Canadian border crossing between Hyder, Alaska, and Stewart, BC
We went back to the RV park, but then immediately went out for a long walk, to the Bear River and then towards town. It had been a long bumpy road for Bella. Tucker was hanging out the window laughing half the time, but Bella doesn’t like that sort of road at all. It must be a boy thing πŸ™‚

The Bear River at Stewart, BC

I was happy with the day, but there’s a lot more that I want to see, so I plan to get back again this year, when I see a solid spell of good weather.

Talking to Cathy on the phone that night, I decided to start north the next morning and get home quickly so we could go away for an extra-long Canada Day (July 1st) weekend. Due to poor weather, it turned out to be a very quick trip – 23 hours from Stewart to Whitehorse.



Exploring a bit of Stewart: history, cemeteries, and character

On Days 59 and 60 of the trip, June 23rd and 24th, I did a bit of exploring around Stewart, though rain and low clouds limited my outings in town. A drive up the Granduc Road to the Salmon Glacier will be the subject of the next post.

It was after 3:00 pm when I got settled at the Bear River RV Park. I started at the Visitor Information Centre, mostly to get a copy of the Granduc Road guide, then continued on to the Canada-US border. The Stewart harbour is always interesting.

Harbour at Stewart, BC
I don’t think that this float home is lived in anymore. It’s been there so long that a good-sized tree is now growing from the logs that I believe used to connect it to the shore.

Float home at Stewart, BC
The view to the east in downtown Stewart.

Downtown Stewart, BC
The Harbour Lights Grocery store is a colourful little business, with old grocery carts mounted along the roofline.

Harbour Lights Grocery store in Stewart, BC
The airport was my next stop. There’s quite a fleet of helicopters working out of Stewart now.

Helicopters at Stewart, BC
The only chopper that was in a good position to photograph was Geotech Aviation’s 2010 Aérospatiale AS-350B-3 Ecureuil, C-FVTM.

Geotech Aviation's 2010 Aerospatiale AS-350B-3 Ecureuil at Stewart, BC
I always take a wander through the long-abandoned section of what used to be called the Granduc Subdivision. When I worked for Granduc Copper here in 1975, the company tried to get me to move into this apartment building, but I refused to leave the hotel until they gave me the house that had been promised.

Abandoned apartment building in Stewart, BC
One of the projects on my list for Stewart was to at least start recording the grave markers at the two, possibly three, cemeteries in Stewart. It was already 5:00 pm when I began at the Ward’s Pass Cemetery, at Km 13.2 of Highway 37A. This is the cemetery that’s been in use since the previous one was buried in a huge rockslide in 1961.

Ward's Pass Cemetery, Stewart, BC
FindaGrave.com has published the photos taken by Diane Gravlee, an American visitor, in August 2013. They report 115 interments at the Ward’s Pass Cemetery. Mary Trace has researched the past residents of Stewart, Hyder, and the surrounding area, and produced a book entitled “People of the Portland Canal District.” It does not appear to be available to the public except for a copy housed at the Stewart Museum.

Ward's Pass Cemetery, Stewart, BC
Nearly half of the graves are marked with this sort of simple wooden cross.

Ward's Pass Cemetery, Stewart, BC
Vilmos Fekete was one of the 26 victims of the Granduc Mine Disaster, an avalanche that destroyed a mine camp on February 18, 1965.

Ward's Pass Cemetery, Stewart, BC
It’s unusual to find an “Unknown” grave in a fairly new cemetery.

Ward's Pass Cemetery, Stewart, BC
Henry Wilkinson, Lance Corporal, 16th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force. I was surprised to find 2 CEF veterans in this small cemetery.

Ward's Pass Cemetery, Stewart, BC
I expect from this headstone that William H. Ross was the pilot of a Hawker Hurricane in World War II.

Ward's Pass Cemetery, Stewart, BC
I spent half an hour photographing markers, then returned to the RV park to make dinner for everyone.

Ward's Pass Cemetery, Stewart, BC
For me, the Estuary Boardwalk is one of Stewart’s best attractions, and that’s where the dogs and I went for our long evening walk.

Estuary Boardwalk at Stewart, BC
The boardwalk offers both spectacular broad views, and closeups of the plants and creatures that live on the estuary. It’s also a good place to meet people – I spent a while chatting with the new principal of the school.

Estuary Boardwalk at Stewart, BC
I wanted to go to the museum to talk to a woman there about cemeteries, but my timing was off.

Museum at Stewart, BC
It was a lovely dawn on Saturday, June 24th. The next photo was shot right at 05:00. That sky didn’t stay long, though – by 10:00 we had low clouds and rain that kept getting heavier and heavier.

Dawn sky at Stewart, BC
On a dog-walk near the RV park at 11:00, I noticed that the “Welcome to Stewart” sign has been changed, with a large carved bear added, and the ore cart lowered to the ground.

Stewart, BC
I fueled up at the only gas station in town, and was pleased to see that the price was reasonable, at $1.129. At Meziadin Junction, the lodge was taking advantage of their position with prices 10 cents higher.

Petro-Canada gas station at Stewart, BC
That evening, after spending the afternoon up the Granduc Road, I went looking for what seems to have called the Barney’s Gulch Cemetery. It was in operation from about 1923 until it got buried in 1961. All I knew was that it was behind the garbage somewhere – the gated road to it is on the right.

Garbage dump access road at Stewart, BC
FindaGrave says: “All that marks the site, located behind the local dump, is a sign telling people to stay out, and rightly so.” It doesn’t say that, though – it just says to not disturb or remove anything.

Barney's Gulch Cemetery at Stewart, BC
There really is no sign that there is a cemetery under the forest, though – it was totally buried.

Barney's Gulch Cemetery at Stewart, BC
Looking back towards the highway, the cemetery forest is on the right, the garbage dump on the left.

Barney's Gulch Cemetery at Stewart, BC


Driving BC Highway 37A, the Glacier Highway, to Stewart

On Day 59 of the trip, June 23rd, I made the 60-km drive from Meziadin Lake Provincial Park along BC Highway 37A, the Glacier Highway, to Stewart. I had enough to see and do in Stewart for at least 2 nights, and was open to extending that for another night or two if the weather cooperated for my exploring.

It was a gorgeous dawn at my campsite on the shore of Meziadin Lake. At 05:25, one of my neighbours was already heading out across the lake in a canoe.

Canoeing at Meziadin Lake Provincial Park, BC
We were in no big hurry to leave. After a couple of long walks and leisurely breakfasts for us all, we pulled onto the Stewart-Cassiar Highway at 10:35. The junction with Highway 37A is just a few hundred meters to the left (north).

Meziadin Lake Provincial Park, BC
Right after turning onto the Glacier Highway, a mom grizzly and her yearling cub greeted me. There was unfortunately no place to pull off and spend some time with them (and perhaps get a photo or two). The incredible scenery starts almost immediately – the next photo was shot about 6 minutes after turning onto the highway, at about Km 58. Mileposts are measured from the Canada-US border, which is 5.6 km past the “Welcome to Stewart” sign at the Bear River bridge.

BC Highway 37A, the Glacier Highway
A large pullout at Km 52 is a chain-up area for Windy Hill, and a convenient place to stop and contemplate your surroundings.

BC Highway 37A, the Glacier Highway
The retreat of all of the glaciers in this region has been dramatic in the 42 years I’ve been coming here.

BC Highway 37A, the Glacier Highway
The star attraction of the Glacier Highway, the Bear Glacier, pops into view at about Km 40.5.

Bear Glacier on BC Highway 37A, the Glacier Highway
My plan was to launch my kayak and paddle across Strohn Lake to the toe of the glacier, and then to go hiking. I disconnected the Tracker, but before going down the short road to the lake shore, headed back up the highway to do some photography.

Bear Glacier on BC Highway 37A, the Glacier Highway
For northbound travellers, this sign could just as well warn of bears for the next 600 km or so. The Stewart-Cassiar is the best highway in BC for seeing bears. The next 40 km along the Glacier Highway, though, is good for grizzly bears, while beyond that it’s always black bears.

BC Highway 37A, the Glacier Highway
Granite and ice in spectacular combinations make this one of the finest short pieces of road in British Columbia.

BC Highway 37A, the Glacier Highway
Driving slowly when that’s reasonable, taking advantage of pullouts, and keeping your head swivelling will reward you with sights like this. This massive glacier is only visible for a few seconds between the peaks.

BC Highway 37A, the Glacier Highway
Very few of the glaciers have names.

BC Highway 37A, the Glacier Highway
Southbound with the Strohn Creek bridge ahead.

BC Highway 37A, the Glacier Highway
At the bear warning sign, a small side road leads to an old gravel pit, at the far side of which is this lovely waterfall. Thick brush makes getting to it difficult enough that I haven’t tried it yet.

Waterfall along BC Highway 37A, the Glacier Highway
The narrow little side road, which is paved, continues on to the south, paralleling the highway.

BC Highway 37A, the Glacier Highway
Another waterfall along the side road.

BC Highway 37A, the Glacier Highway
The road ends at this large parking area. Very odd. It’s a long-abandoned rest area, though. It was built in the 1960s, when the Bear Glacier could be seen from here. Now, the glacier has retreated so far that it can’t be seen. It’s also possible that avalanche and rockslide dangers caused the closure of the rest area.

BC Highway 37A, the Glacier Highway
Back at the Bear Glacier, I launched the kayak right at noon, but within a few minutes, a strong wind blew in. I returned to shore and waited a half hour or so to see what might develop, and finally decided not to take a chance of having to deal with wind and waves on a glacial lake in a boat that I had no experience with.

BC Highway 37A, the Glacier Highway

I didn’t take any more photos between the Bear Glacier and Stewart, because there are few places to get my rig off the road. I hoped to come back and do some shooting with the Tracker, but the weather went sour.

By about 1:30, I was set up at the Bear River RV Park. The wifi didn’t work at my site, which was one of the furthest from the office, so I took my laptop up to the deck at the office to work. While chatting with the manager there, we realized that a friend of mine in Whitehorse is her daughter-in-law! I haven’t met my friend’s husband, which is why I phrased it that way. I love small towns πŸ™‚

Bear River RV Park in Stewart, BC
With my computer stuff taken care of, the next order of business was to clean the Tracker. The RV park has built a car wash, and is it ever nice! For $6, the outside of the Tracker was soon shiny again, and I even got the engine compartment clean. Ready to go exploring…

New RV wash at the Bear River RV Park in Stewart, BC


Driving the Nass Forest Road from Nisga’a Lava Park to Meziadin Lake Park

On Day 58 of the trip, June 22nd, I took a shortcut to the Stewart-Cassiar Highway on what’s commonly known as the Nass Forest Service Road or The Cranberry Connector. When I last drove it about a dozen years ago in the Tracker, it was rough but not unreasonable. This time, it was a really bad route to use with a large RV.

I was stressed out about something that morning, but didn’t know what. As a result, we got off to an early start, without even feeding the kids or having breakfast. At 07:00, I had a last look around the very nice little campground at Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park, then packed up to go.

Campground at Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
While most of the area highway signs use the new community names, some old signs are still in place. New Aiyansh has returned to the traditional name Gitlaxt’aamiks. At 07:20, we made this left turn in the lava field that fills the valley floor.

BC Highway 113, the Nisga'a Highway
At 07:40, the pavement ended and the road narrowed. One of the many signs said that it’s 51 km to Cranberry Junction on Highway 37 (the Stewart-Cassiar Highway). Others warn that this is a “Wilderness road – road surface not maintained”, and that “extreme dusty conditions” could be encountered.

The western start of the Nass Forest Service Road, BC
The road was narrower than I remember it being. That could be a challenge if another large vehicle was met.

Nass Forest Service Road, BC
Within a few minutes, the road had gotten extremely rough.

Nass Forest Service Road, BC
Km 46 – it had taken 15 minutes to travel the first 5 km. By now, I might have turned around if there was any place to do that.

Nass Forest Service Road, BC
At 08:00, we came to very nice campground, at Gravel Lake. That was a surprise! Especially to see a pickup with a fairly large trailer camped there. By now, 20 minutes in, I was committed to the road, though I could have turned around there.

Gravel Lake campground on the Nass Forest Service Road, BC
One of the many one-lane bridges, at 08:12.

One-lane bridge on the Nass Forest Service Road, BC
At 08:30, I pulled over at a wide spot and took a short break to make the kids breakfast.

Nass Forest Service Road, BC
At 09:00, an hour and 20 minutes from the start, we were 14 km along the road. In many places, I could have walked quicker for hundreds of yards. A couple of times, the potholes were placed in ways that got the motorhome rocking from side to side so badly that I had to stop and wait for the rocking to stop before continuing.

Nass Forest Service Road, BC
At 09:20, we reached the junction with the road to Kitsault (to the left), called the Nass-Kinskutch Forest Service Road. That had been an hour and 50 minutes to go 19 km (take about 15 minutes off that for our breakfast break).

Nass Forest Service Road, BC
With a major mine having been there, and the Avanti Kitsault Mine now operating, I thought that it would be a much better road than this.

Nass-Kinskutch Forest Service Road to kitsault, BC
The road improved greatly past the Kitsault junction. While far from being a good road, it was a perfectly reasonable Forest Service Road. It’s hard to see in this photo, but the tire tracks going far to the left was a vehicle going around a tree leaning across much of the road.

Tree across the Nass Forest Service Road, BC
The Nass River, from a bridge over a tributary creek that we crossed at 09:40. Now we were making good time! πŸ™‚

Nass Forest Service Road, BC
You could see from the marks and chips that some traveller in the recent past had used a hatchet Not an axe) to cut off enough of this tree to get around it.

Tree across the Nass Forest Service Road, BC
At 10:25, “Betty” (the GPS) told me that I needed to turn left off “Highway 113” onto an “unpaved road.” How odd.

Nass Forest Service Road, BC
This was the “unpaved road.” Nice try, Betty – I’d had all the shortcuts I needed for one day! πŸ™‚

Nass Forest Service Road, BC
At 10:40 we reached the end of the Nass Forest Service Road at Cranberry Junction (it’s not a community, just a road junction), and turned onto the Stewart-Cassiar Highway. Ten minutes later, the sign ahead said that our destination, Meziadin Junction, was 66 km away.

Stewart-Cassiar Highway
We had a 20-minute delay to get around some resurfacing work. The chatty flagperson sure seemed to enjoy her job.

Resurfacing work on the Stewart-Cassiar Highway

Resurfacing work on the Stewart-Cassiar Highway
By noon, we were set up in a lakefront campsite at Meziadin Lake Provincial Park. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes were terrible again, and drove us inside. Haha, you can smell us but can’t bite us now!

Mosquitoes at Meziadin Lake Provincial Park, BC
Being in the motorhome was still good – Meziadin Lake is a gorgeous park.

Meziadin Lake Provincial Park, BC
The view out the side window. Many of the 20 or so lakefront campsites have trees, but I really like this area that’s wide open. All of these sites have electric outlets to plug into. Because of my laptop, that’s the one service I really do like having, but as soon as I get a chance I’m going to check into getting solar power for the rig.

Meziadin Lake Provincial Park, BC
There’s an excellent boat launch and dock. The boat in the photo belongs to the park operator, who uses it for fishing charters.

Meziadin Lake Provincial Park, BC
The entire park is immaculate. Meziadin Lake really is a gem in BC’s park system, and the operator does a great job running it. The building in the photo is the office and store that’s open for a couple of hours each evening. The park even has wifi! The park operator has been running it, but it’s now with a private service, and it refused to accept my credit card so I couldn’t log on.

Meziadin Lake Provincial Park, BC
Although the mosquitoes were too bad to sit still outside, Bella and Tucker and I went for a few walks and created enough of a breeze to keep them at bay. On a long walk out to the highway before bed, we had our route shortened by a black bear on the side of the road down by the creek (barely visible in the photo).

The Stewart-Cassiar Highway at Meziadin Lake Provincial Park, BC
Some stick-play with the kis on the beach in front of our campsite was a great way to end the day. I had thought about staying another day here, but decided to move on to Stewart the next day.

Meziadin Lake Provincial Park, BC


Visiting Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park

Leaving Gitlaxt’aamiks (New Aiyansh) at 4:00 pm on Day 57 of the trip, June 21, we began a driving tour of Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park, which is actually called Anhluut’ukwsim Laxmihl Angwinga’asanskwhl Nisga’a. See a park map (pdf, 198 Kb).

It was and has been extremely difficult to find many details about the lava that we’d come to see. Now that I’m home and can research, I’ve found an old Natural Resources Canada report that says that the eruption of the Aiyansh-Tseax River volcano in 1780 is the only eruption in Canada for which legends of First Nations people have been verified. Other sources give widely varying dates for the eruption. The Nisga’a tell of a prolonged period of disruption by the volcano that destroyed the village of Lax Ksiluux on the Nass River, and killed some 2,000 people, from hot lava or “poisonous smoke” (carbon dioxide). The people were killed at Lax Ksiluux, at the villages of Ts’oohl Ts’ap and Lax Hli Wil Giist, and at other places in the valley. The Tseax Cone, 290 meters in diameter at the base, is located in the narrow confines of a tributary of the Tseax River, and is currently only accessible on guided tours. Natural Resources Canada says that the vent was active at least twice, in 1780 and 1350, and remnants of other, older lava flows exist in the area. The park was created in April 1992 to honour the dead and to preserve the unique region.

Dropping down to the park from Gitlaxt’aamiks on BC Highway 113, the Nisga’a Highway. I had left Bella and Tucker in the motorhome while I went into Gitlaxt’aamiks, so the first part of the tour was solo.

Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
At the one-lane Tseax River bridge, the park boundary sign.

Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park sign
I had picked up a park Auto Tour brochure, and that was my guide for this tour. The brochure says that the tour can be done in any order, so #8, the Tseax River (Ksi Sii Aks) was our first stop.

Tseax River (Ksi Sii Aks), Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
The Tseax River provides an important gravel stream bottom habitat to salmon and steelhead spawning, and can be a great place to watch the fish. When the fish are spawning, the river also attracts both black and grizzly bears, but we were a bit early. A local fellow was fishing here, unsuccessfully so far.

Tseax River (Ksi Sii Aks), Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
Stop #9 was Gitlaxt’aamiks, which we had just come from, so #10 was next – the Boat Launch on the Nass River (Hanii-yaga-ba’ansgum Boot). When lava flowed into the Nass River, it pushed the river from the south side of the valley to the north side. Breaks in the front allowed lava to flow into the water, rapidly cooling and forming what looks like an elephant’s trunk, though I didn’t see any.

Boat launch at Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
The lava field on the drive back to the highway from the boat launch. The forms and shapes are extremely varied, but three forms dominant the Nisga’a lanscape. A’a lava is rough and jagged, formed when gases escape violently from the lava as it cools. Pahoehoe is smooth lava formed when gases escape quietly from the lava as it cools. Lava tubes are formed when the top layer of lava cools and hardens while molten lava is still flowing underneath. If the molten lava flows out before hardening, a hollow tube remains, and the upper layer often breaks and collapses into it.

Lava field at Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
Stop #11 is the Tree Cast (Wil Luu-galksi-mihl Gan). A 5-minute walk starting with this boardwalk over some A’a lava and collapsed tubes is supposed to lead to a tree cast, formed when molten lava flows around a tree and then hardens before the tree burns. The path led me nowhere, though. I’ve found tree casts in the lava field on my own during previous visits – I find them very interesting features.

Tree cast walk at Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
The Tree Cast walk provided lots of interesting sights, even if I couldn’t find the tree cast. Mother Nature’s transforming of the lava field back to a forest is occurring extremely slowly.

Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
A section of pahoehoe that almost looks like an old road.

Pahoehoe at Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
You can almost see the lava flowing in the patterns that remain 250 years later.

Signs of flowing lava at Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
This is the texture of much of the lava here.

Lava at Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
I got into the next photo so you can judge the size of these blocks of A’a lava.

A'a lava at Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
I didn’t go into stop #12, which is the village of Gitwinksihlkw, which means “place of the lizards). Stop #13 is the park Dedication Site, a particularly impressive location within the lava field where the ceremony was held on April 30, 1992. Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park was the first park to be jointly managed by BC Parks and a First Nation.

Park dedication site, Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
Blocks of lava at the Dedication Site.

Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
I love wilderness hot springs, so stop #14 was of particular interest to me – the hot springs known most commonly as Aiyansh Hot Springs now, but traditionally Hlgu Isgwit. This is the parking lot with a new outhouse, at the highway.

Aiyansh Hot Springs, Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
I’d heard some complaints that the wilderness nature of the hot springs has been ruined. The new boardwalk is nice – it used to be quite a slog to get in (see this 2007 photojournal).

Aiyansh Hot Springs, Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
There are still some sloppy sections to walk across, but the new boardwalk seems to go across most of them. The forest that the trail goes through is really beautiful.

Aiyansh Hot Springs, Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
Just over 5 minutes from the parking lot, Aiyansh Hot Springs. My first impression was pretty positive, although the mosquitoes were very bad.

Aiyansh Hot Springs, Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
Well, the water temperature is wonderful (about 104°F, judged by my hot tub at home), but that’s all the depth there is. I had brought a bathing suit and towel, but that’s as wet as I got. So while natural hot water is always interesting, Aiyansh Hot Springs is at the bottom of the list of hot springs I’ve visited.

Aiyansh Hot Springs, Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
I didn’t continue west for the distant stops #15-18, as none are volcano-related, and that was the focus at the moment. They will take a full day, so that will be something for the next visit. In the next photo, I’m back on Highway 113, the Nisga’a Highway, headed for the campground to get Bella and Tucker for the rest of the park tour.

Nisga'a Highway through Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
The access road to the Visitor Center and campground, which is stop #7 on the Auto Tour.

Visitor Center and campground at Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
Driving south now, retracing my route to the park from Terrace, the next stop was #6, Vetter Falls (Ts’itksim Aks). The water that flows over these falls is overflow from the Tseax River. The water disappears under the lava about 5 km downstream from here.

Vetter Falls (Ts'itksim Aks), Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
The short trail to the falls begins as a gravelled accessible path through the lava field.

Vetter Falls (Ts'itksim Aks), Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
The creek above the falls. I’d been to the falls before, but not when there was this much water flowing.

Vetter Falls (Ts'itksim Aks), Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
About 5 waterfalls were flowing, spread across about 300 feet of the forest, due to the increased amount of water. This photo was shot with a 1-second exposure at ISO 100 to blur the water. It was shot hand-held because I hadn’t brought my tripod – it’s nearly impossible to use with 2 dogs on leashes.

Vetter Falls (Ts'itksim Aks), Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
Rose petals beside the falls. There are no roses anywhere close, so they were put there on purpose. Interesting…

Rose petals at Vetter Falls (Ts'itksim Aks), Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
A slightly longer trail (just over 5 minutes) takes visitors to stop #5, Beaupre Falls.

Beaupre Falls trail, Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
I was really enjoying the smells of the damp forest on the last 3 walks.

Beaupre Falls trail, Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
The viewing deck also for comfortable contemplation of the scene. I noted that unlike the situation at the hot springs, there were very few mosquitoes here.

Beaupre Falls, Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
Beaupre Falls from the viewing deck.

Beaupre Falls, Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
Starting back towards the car, Bella wanted to go down a side trail to the creek. Walking up the creek a bit ed us to this view of the falls. Nice work, Bella πŸ™‚ Before going back up to the trail, Tucker initiated a play while in 6 inche sor so of water in the creek, and it got quite animated! Tucker doesn’t like water much, so that really surprised me.

Beaupre Falls, Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
Stop #4 is the Drowned Forest, the stop we had made earlier on the drive into the park.

Drowned Forest, Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
Stop #3 is Crater Creek, where a trail goes a short distance towards Tseax cinder cone. As I mentioned, the cinder cone can only be visited on a guided tour, and they weren’t being offered yet. I certainly would have stayed to go on the 4-hour hike if it had been available. The interpretive panels here were the first mention I’d seen about 2,000 people dying here.

Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
Another view of the vast lava field (about 39 square kilometers of it), from the campground access road in the evening light.

Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
At 7:30 pm, we were back at the motorhome, and it was time to get a late dinner for everybody. I’d decide in the morning what to do with the day, but moving on towards Stewart was the most likely plan.

Campground at Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park


Driving from Smithers to Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park

Having given up on some sunny days arriving in Smithers, on Day 57 of the trip, June 21, the first day of summer, we moved west and north to Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park.

A 253-km (157-mi) drive would still give us plenty of time to explore the park once we got there. Click on the map of the route to open an interactive version in a new window.

Map from Smithers to Nisga'a Park
Oh come on guys, it’s almost 7:00 and I’ve been up for 2 hours already! Geez, what a crew! πŸ™‚ It was a cold morning, though, and I had heard furnaces firing in many of the RVs, including mine.

Dogs and cat in bed in the RV
I haven’t said much about Glacier View RV Park, but I really like the place. The view, of course, is spectacular, but the entire property is very nice, and the short drive into Smithers makes it a great location for exploring. The sites aren’t large but are adequate, at $103.50 for 3 nights with wifi and taxes.

Glacier View RV Park in Smithers, BC
As well as the RV park, there are cabins above the RV spaces. Kent and Rose have done a great job with the property, and I wouldn’t consider staying anywhere else in Smithers.

Glacier View RV Park in Smithers, BC
At 08:35, we pulled out onto the frontage road, headed for Highway 16 westbound. I was grateful for the sun but it didn’t look like it was going to stay with us for long.

Highway 16 westbound, west of Smithers, BC
Within 10 minutes, the sunshine was gone. Oh well, I’ve seen this first part of the route many times on sunny days.

Highway 16 westbound, west of Smithers, BC
I stopped briefly at Moricetown Canyon, just to see if anything interesting was going on. It was just a bit too early for salmon, though they would arrive any day, so there was no action on the river.

Moricetown Canyon
The stop got me a logging truck, though πŸ™‚

Logging truck at Moricetown Canyon
At 09:45, the junction with Highway 37, the Stewart-Cassiar Highway, at Gitwangak (Kitwanga), was just ahead. That’s almost always my route north, but not this time.

Junction of Highway 16 and the Stewart-Cassiar Highway
Five minutes later, I pulled into large pulloff to walk the dogs. That view certainly doesn’t look like the first day of summer, does it?


After 2 months driving around BC, I had grown really tired of seeing “No Dogs Allowed” signs. When I saw the woman from this motorhome from Tennessee let her dog poop in a really nice grassy picnic area and then not clean up, I got out and tore a strip off her. People like that make RVers and dog owners all look bad, and it’s just bloody disrespectful. Grrrrr…..

Picnic area along Highway 16 east of Terrace, BC

I spent almost 2 hours in Terrace before heading north. I had to fuel up and do a bit of grocery shopping, but I also had to have yet another Whitehorse job fixed properly – the exhaust on the Tracker. Malcolm at Minute Muffler got me in right away, and asked who installed that mess. He said they’d fix what they could. I left knowing that at least it wasn’t going to fall off in the middle of nowhere – good insurance for $68.

Heading up the Nisga’a Highway (BC Highway 113), I found that I need to re-learn the map of this area. All of the communities have gone back to their ancestral names, and very few resources use both names. From here, Gitwinksihlkw (which I knew as Canyon City) is 103 km, Laxgalts’ap (which I knew as Greenville) is 139 km, and Gingolx (which I knew as Kincolith) is 169 km.


At 1:30, we were following the east shore of Lava Lake, which was formed when the lava flow we were going to see blocked the Tseax River. Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park starts at the head of the lake. The park’s name is actually now Anhluut’ukwsim Laxmihl Angwinga’asanskwhl Nisga’a but I’m sticking with a name that I can pronounce and spell.

Lava Lake, BC - Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
A one-lane bridge over the Big Cedar River.

A one-lane bridge over the Big Cedar River, BC
The rain slowed down enough as we reached the very short Drowned Forest Trail that we went for a walk. At high water levels, the Tseax River runs through the forest for a considerable distance in this area. The trail is at this small waterfall.

Drowned Forest Trail, Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
Bella was so intent on something there that I thought she was going to jump in, so we left and headed for the campground.

Drowned Forest Trail, Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
By 2:30, we were set up in a very nice site at the park campground. It’s very small, only 16 or 18 sites depending on which resource you read (and I didn’t count), with a nightly fee of $20.

Campground at Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
There’s a nice picnic area as you enter the campground.

Picnic area at Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park
The visitor centre is also at the entrance to the campground, but it was closed. With no good information on the interpretive panels, I decided to make the short drive to New Aiyansh – now Gitlaxt’aamiks – to see if I could get some park information. In particular, there is an Auto Tour that I thought must have an explanatory brochure.


Welcome to Gitlaxt’aamiks, Capital of The Nisga’a Nation (formerly known as New Aiyansh). I’ve always had a special interest in this community, as my youngest sister is a member of the Nisga’a Nation, and this was my third visit.

Welcome to Gitlaxt'aamiks, Capital of The Nisga'a Nation
The first building that you come to is the RCMP detachment, the Lisims / Nass Valley Detachment, which was worth a stop. The Nisga’s Nation house crests were painted on the building when the detachment was re-named in April 1997 (it had been the New Aiyansh Detachment).

Lisims / Nass Valley RCMP Detachment
The Holy Trinity Anglican Church is an impressive building that can be seen for miles across the valley.


The Nisga’a Lisims Government building is a good sign of how progressive this community and region is. There’s a brochure that gives a tour of the building. The receptionist was thankfully able to get me the information I needed for a proper look at the park.

The Nisga'a Lisims Government building
In front of the Nisga’a Lisims Government building stands the Nisga’sa Lisims totem pole (pts’aan), “Goothl Lisims – the Heartbeat of Lisims.” Raised on November 16, 2000, it displays the 7 gifts from the Great Spirit which have been adopted by Nisga’a clans. At the base of the pole is Gibuu, the Wolf.

Goothl Lisims - the Heartbeat of Lisims totem pole
The gym section of the school is one of several buildings worthy of special attention.


Armed with the information I needed, we began our park tour, which will be the subject of the next post.