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Safeway in Smithers Has Wifi — and Other Gems from N. BC

I’m back from ten days of driving and camping around northern BC with my family. A few observations and points of note:

  • Safeway in Smithers has free wifi. It provided useful when my celphone died and I was able to Skype from the parking lot.
  • The Museum of Northern BC in Prince Rupert is terrific. It displays artifacts from the north coast and from all time periods (historical and archaeological).
  • Highway 37 continues to be upgraded. The highway is now paved to Burrage Creek (just south of Kinaskan Lake). It is lined to Kinaskan Lake. And the seal coating is in good shape to Iskut.
  • Speaking of roadways, the rail grade into the Klappan (Sacred Headwaters) is in good shape too. The mud pits are gone. Still, driving the roadway requires care and caution.
  • Klappan Mountain remains as majestic and as peaceful as ever — despite being under constant threat of coal mining by Fortune Minerals and coal bed gas exploration by Shell.
  • We went to Barkerville for the first time. What a sense of anticipation driving 80km into the bush on Highway 26 east of Quesnel — and then finding a booming historical site. The place is in great shape. The historical recreations are terrific. The actors and store clerks in period costumes are wonderful.
  • I can never get enough of the bears along Highway 37 and at Hyder, Alaska. My four year old son was truly amazed.
  • We took BC Ferry’s Inside Passage route from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy. This was a terrific ride. The staff treat you well — it’s so much less hectic than the south coast ferry routes. We saw a lot of fog but it was a treat to see places like Butedale and Bella Bella. We saw humpback whales too. And, it saved the kids 12 hours of driving.
  • North Vancouver Island is a dramatic landscape. Lots of mountain passes and valleys; clear cuts are common. Native iconography — in the form of highway signs and totems — abound.

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