Day 100, drive to Prince Rupert
Aug 2, 2012
|Day 100, Thursday, August 02, 2012
One hundred days on the road and we are into August. It seem like things are winding down a little. We are at the point where we are looking at the map and deciding which highway we will take home. We have four more weeks to enjoy before then.
This area is the only known place where there are Kermodei bears, also called spirit bears. They are black bears but if both parents carry a particular recessive gene, the cub will be born with white fur. They are very reclusive and rarely spotted but we have seen pictures around town of them. If you see one you are considered to be very blessed and privileged. We apparently are not that special.
We drove about 90 miles into Price Rupert today following the Skeena River still. The salmon are out there and there were fisherpeople all along the banks and out in boats. We stopped at a rest stop about 40 miles from Prince Rupert along the river. A lady and her brother stopped to talk to us because we were from Arizona. She is from Manitoba which is prairie country. She was so excited about being in the mountains. She took our picture with her brother. I spotted a black bear across the river and we watched him walk back and forth through the water looking for a salmon. He didn’t catch one. There were a lot of eagles over there too.
We stopped at Diana Lake Provincial Park. There was no one else there. In fact, most of the places we have stopped have been empty except for us. This lake had the strangest water. It was clear, very dark red and kind of creepy. We drove through Port Edward and saw the old North Pacific Cannery that was built in 1889. Right past that I saw a big tree by the side of the road that was covered with shoes. I googled it when I got home. The original Shoe Tree I is on Vancouver Island. Some couple decided to recreate it here in 1994 and named it Shoe Tree II. There are dozens of pairs of work boots, cowboy boots, pink rubber boots, sandals, high heels, and flip flops nailed to the tree. Pretty funny.
Prince Rupert is actually on an island (Kaien Island). This whole coastline is broken up chunks of land and water with large islands and tiny islands that may have one tree on them. We drove around town looking for a place to get to the water. It was difficult considering it’s an island. We finally found a little park across from downtown right on the water’s edge. However, there’s more land right across from there. It is not anywhere near open ocean water. The town has some good totem poles though.
On our way out, we stopped at the Butze Rapids. It is a phenomenon called reversing tidal rapids. Each time the tide changes, the flow of this passage of water changes direction. When we drove by on our way in, I saw a glimpse of lots of white rapids. We hiked the 2 and a half mile (round trip) trail to the viewpoint. The trail was awesome, through a coastal rainforest ecosystem that went through old growth forest, bogs, wetlands, and swampy parts. It was all covered with moss upon moss. Out of the moss there were 50 other kinds of little plants sprouting and growing. There were several different kinds of berries, including blueberries that are ripening now. I ate a couple of them. In the swampy parts there were really big skunk cabbages growing. (When they bloom, it’s stinky.) The temperature was about 60 degrees but it was so humid in there. I was cold, clammy and sweating all at the same time. At the viewpoint, the rapids were quiet, no white water. It was the wrong time. I was having a little trouble on the trail coming back. There was a spot that cut off to the road so I bailed on Rob and waited up on the road for him to go back uphill and get the car and pick me up. Okay, I’m old and out of shape.
So, following the Skeena River back, it was obvious the tide was in. What we thought before was just the river delta was now full of sea water for at least 40 miles. We stopped at the same rest area and there were no more sand bars where the bear and eagles were. It was all water. It was hard to tell where the ocean ended and the river actually began.
Tomorrow, we leave here and plan to stay in Houston tomorrow night.