In early July, 2005, I went on a road trip to northern British Columbia, with brief trips into southern parts of the Yukon Territory and Alaska. While relatively close to Seattle and Vancouver, these areas are, except for the few highways, nearly untouched by human development. Many of those few hardy people who do live along these remote highways live up to the saying that the north is "home to the individual, and other endangered species." One woman, upon charging me the GST (Canada's federal sales tax) on the coffee I purchased at her gas station and coffee shop in a town of about 40 along the Alaska Highway, explained to me that "Canada is the original police state." Normally I would have to have defended the country I have so often enjoyed visiting, but I couldn't fault her because certainly she wouldn't mind at all if the government stopped maintaining the highway and providing all other services; that's why she lived there.

From Seattle, I headed north to Prince George, BC, on the first day. It was Canada Day, 1 July, and I camped near Prince George so I could go into town and see the fireworks, which started at about 11:15 PM, when it was finally getting dark.

On day 2 I drove from Prince George northeast to Dawson Creek, the start of the Alaska Highway, and then northwest on the Alaska Highway to just past Fort Nelson.

Day 3 took me through some beautiful parks in the northern-most parts of the Rocky Mountains, and ended in Watson Lake, a small town in the southern Yukon that is a major service center along the Alaska Highway.

On Day 4 I headed south from Watson Lake on the Stewart-Cassiar Highway, the shorter but much less traveled route between southern BC and Alaska. After reaching Dease Lake I took a detour to Telegraph Creek, a small town that sits 119 km (74 miles) down a dirt road from a lightly traveled highway in the middle of nowhere. After returning to the Stewart-Cassiar, I camped at a campground just south of Dease Lake.

Day 5 took me farther south on the Stewart-Cassiar and then west to the small towns of Stewart, BC, and Hyder, Alaska, which sit on a fjord reaching in from the Pacific, surrounded by the Coast Range Mountains. After getting there I headed up the mining road that continues past Hyder up one of the mountains and reaches stunning overlooks of the Salmon Glacier as it flows off of a large ice cap higher in the mountains.

After that I started the drive back to Seattle, reaching Quesnel, BC, on day six, and arriving in Seattle on day 7.

Here is a map of my route and the area.

Seattle to Dawson Creek Dawson Creek to Watson Lake
Watson Lake to Telegraph Creek and Dease Lake Dease Lake to Stewart and Hyder

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Page created 5 August 2005, Last modified: Sun Aug 7 14:02:23 PDT 2005