< Whitehorse, Yukon | Prince George, B.C. >

The Stewart-Cassiar Highway


Wow. So I left Whitehorse around 12 days ago and I am now in Smithers, B.C., having just finished riding the Cassiar highway. I saw 15 bears, ate as many different kinds of wild berries and mushrooms and never stopped being impressed by the scenery as it unfolded before me.

I met up with A.J. (from North Carolina) and Marie (from the Czech Republic) in Whitehorse, and we rode out from there together. The Alaska highway bummed us out with a combination of uninspiring landscapes and torrential rainstorms. We found shelter when we could, and tried our best to stay dry. My new favorite type of building became the abandoned building with a good roof. When we finally came back from our detour to Watson Lake and headed south into British Columbia, our spirits began to soar.

It felt so good to finally be making serious southward progress! And our stop at Boya lake the first night only increased our opinion of the road. The next night, after a mere 50 miles, we pulled into the Dease River Crossing Campground. We came into the office and saw the lady kneeding some dough. We asked her if she was making some bread for the camp, and she said that she was going to make pizza for her family. Pizza! We went outside to confer. Maybe we could pay her extra to make some for us? I went in to ask. No, she didn’t have time to make another dough. Well, I said, I have some pizza making experience in my past. Perhaps you’d let me make a couple of pizzas and we could pay you for the ingredients? Well, she went for it, and it was all I could do not to jump up and down with joy! A real kitchen, and making pizza again! Had I died?

The days progressed down the Cassiar, and one morning while I was riding I came across another bicyclist from Japan named Hiro. He decided to join our convoy to Stewart, and is still with us right now. I’m learning some basic japanese from him, and we’re all having a great time.

In Stewart, I met some of the locals who gave me the scoop on where to do what I needed to do, and what to see. I followed their advice to the Salmon Glacier, and did not regret it at all. We decided to take a break day in Stewart to top off our stomaches with endless refills of coffee at the bakery and giant cones of ice cream at the sweet shop.

The road continued on till Kitwanga, where because of a massive thunder storm which sounded like all the electric activity in the world was taking place above our heads, the power had been knocked out. We met some really great people who made us spaghetti for dinner and pancakes for breakfast and allowed us to sleep on their covered porch out of the driving rain. We also learned about the great mushroom bonanza that takes place every year around this time as you can sell pine mushrooms you find in the forest at $12/lb. We learned to our amazement that one year they were being bought at $350/lb. Now that’s a perfect job for Marie, our resident mushroom hunter!

Now we are finally on the Yellowhead highway heading east to Prince George. I got my second flat of the trip today as I rode over a piece of a blown out automobile tire, and I bought new tire for my bike, since the rear tread had worn nearly completely off.

I’m somewhere near 2,000 miles into the trip, and am only getting started. If the next 15,000 are anything like this, I will be in for one great year!

< Whitehorse, Yukon | Prince George, B.C. >