Northern BC, Canada – Part II

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This is Part II of the road trip from Kelowna, BC to Prince Rupert.

On our way north from Kelowna we stopped ‘half way’ in the city of Prince George (see the blog post “Northern BC, Canada – Part I”.  After spending one night in “PG” we continued our trip on Highway 16 towards the end of the rainbow, our final destination: Prince Rupert.

The first populated area we passed through was the district of Vanderhoof, located in the geographical centre of British Columbia. DSC_0111DSC_0119DSC_0123 The forest industry is the main economic driver in Vanderhoof. Although the photo above may not be esthetically pleasing to look at, this is a symbol of employment and financial opportunity for people living in this community. DSC_0134A familiar site when driving in northern British Columbia, Canada (both the above photo and below.  Trucks with timber.  And long empty highways…)

We continued to pass by small towns and areas with some buildings up and running, other buildings abandoned and/or for sale. DSC_0139DSC_0140DSC_0184DSC_0163 Although some creative souls were trying to tempt me to stop and check out the local museums, it unfortunately did not succeed.  We kept on driving through one area to the next.  I will admit we were not good supporters of local businesses – our stops were done at fast food chains when we saw them (sorry locals!).DSC_0228DSC_0203DSC_0161DSC_0170 We passed areas such as Fraser Lake, Burns Lake, Topley, Houston and Telkwa DSC_0224 By the time we arrived Smithers – half way between Prince George and Prince Rupert – the sky had cleared up and I decided it was time to get my camera out and explore the town up close. DSC_0242 Smithers is located at the foot of the Hudson Bay Mountain and has great opportunities for anything related to snow (or outdoor type of activities regardless of season). DSC_0247DSC_0249 According to Wikipedia a town bylaw requires businesses in the downtown area of Smithers to construct their buildings in an alpine style. If you ask me, it definitely creates a much more cozy atmosphere than other towns we passed through along the way. DSC_0252 The statue of a man blowing an alpine horn, knows asThe Alpenman or Alpine Al, is located at the entrance to the main street and has become the town symbol. DSC_0255 After a stop testing out the local hot chocolate and getting some pictures we continued on the open road towards Terrace. DSC_0262I always feel the scenery changes for the better after passing Smithers (no disrespect to the rest of the northern interior of BC…  I will let the pictures speak for themselves…). DSC_0276DSC_0291 Terrace is a city on the Skeena River in British Columbia, Canada. The Kitselas people, a tribe of the Tsimshian Nation, have lived in the Terrace area for thousands of years.  The flat mountain ranges surrounding the city of Terrace are traditionally called Ganeeks Laxha, which in the Tsimshian language means the “Stairway to Heaven” (Wikipedia). DSC_0299 Instead of heading north on the Nisga’a Highway, we continued straight – going west -towards the coast and Prince Rupert. DSC_0302 The road between Terrace and Prince Rupert, along the Skeena river is one of the most beautiful scenic routes I have ever seen. (It is on my “Top 3 most beautiful places list” competing against Rwanda and Norwegian fjord landscape). The way the clouds float above the land and the way the light hits the surroundings is so amazingly beautiful. Not sure my photos capture the true beauty, and it was a challenge due to the time of day we passed this area (dusk) – but I tried. DSC_0304DSC_0322

A train route from Jasper, Alberta to Prince Rupert, BC is also operated by Via Rail – with an overnight connection in Prince George. This route travels in daylight so that passengers can enjoy the scenic views. For more info, go to: http://www.viarail.ca/

The Via Rail travel info brochure says that “Wildlife such as bear, moose, elk, deer, wolves, coyotes, eagles, hawks and seals may be seen during the trip, depending on season and chance”. Although I have never been able to get a good photo as proof, I have seen moose, eagles and black bears on this route (oh my!)

DSC_0320 We arrived Prince Rupert late at night. I will share some Prince Rupert photos in my next post. Crossing fingers it will not take me 2 years to do it… 🙂 DSC_0333

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2 thoughts on “Northern BC, Canada – Part II

  1. Beautiful pictures and clever commentary Pia. I enjoyed Part II very much. We got to know and love those parts of Hwy #16 during our time in the north. We usually made that left turn at the Nisga’a Hwy #113 to our home for 2 years. Definitely worth a visit one day. I agree with you about the Terrace Prince Rupert highway – one of the world’s most scenic drives in the world. (although I am not as well travelled as you are) Thanks for sharing !

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