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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Northern BC Rockies

No internet yesterday, so for now, here's an update I wrote from yesterday, Tuesday the 25th....

Location: Muncho Lake, British Columbia
Population: 20

Have I mentioned that British Columbia is huge? I know I said so yesterday but it really is hard to believe that we often transit through British Columbia on our whale watching trips out of Friday Harbor and that after four long days of travel we are still in this amazing province. I see on the map where we are, but it is hard to grasp being at 59 degrees latitude, with much further north to go! It does the soul a lot of good to see so much untouched land, and to think that we’re seeing the most developed of it on the only main highway for hundreds of miles around. Over the years we all see and hear a lot about the world’s environmental issues, and I don’t want to belittle them because I worry about them a lot, but today was a perfect example of how there is a lot of raw wilderness left, and that all has not been lost.

They call this region the Serengeti of the North and with good reason. Black bears. Mule deer. Elk. Moose. Woodland caribou. Caribou!! And this isn’t even Alaska yet. I am just awestruck at the sheer beauty of this place. I'll let the pictures do most of the talking, since they capture it for me better than words as this point.

For the first part of the day the highway look like this:


Along this stretch of highway we spotted another moose, and this time she stayed long enough for me to take a photo:


Soon we started our climb into the Rocky Mountains, and for a while it seemed like there was wildlife around every corner. Elk - like this mom and her youngster:


We saw five black bears. This was my favorite photo from today:


We saw a couple of woodland caribou. I really didn't expect to see caribou until Alaska if at all, and I didn't know there were two types of caribou (the other type is the barren ground caribou). Here is a young male who was licking the rocks for salt alongside the road:


Whenever there weren't animals that demanded my attention, the scenery was breath-taking. Here is one example of the still mostly frozen Summit Lake, with snow-capped peaks in the background:


Today we covered part of the most remote stretch of the Alaska Highway. There are miles and miles of nothing but road, and when you come to a "town" it's nothing more than a hotel and a gas station, if it is open at all. Our stop-over for the night was the Northern Rockies Lodge on Muncho Lake.

Before leaving Fort St. John this morning, we saw a lake with Bonaparte's gulls and black terns (year bird 176) circling overhead. When we arrived at Muncho Lake, this gray jay (177) met us at our cabin:


Muncho Lake is a beautiful aqua color due to suspended copper oxide left as rock dust by receding glaciers. If you don't want to drive all the way to the lake, you can catch a float plane in from Vancouver, as many fly-fishers do for a weekend getaway. Here was an early evening float plane taking off in front of the beautiful mountains that encircle the lake:



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for posting your adventures in the beautiful northern region of British Columbia. The amazing wildlife and landscape photos make me wish I was there. Looking forward to your next post.