< The Stewart-Cassiar Highway | Victoria, B.C. >

Prince George, B.C.


The long trek out of the wilderness of Yukon and Northern British Columbia has finally ended. The past several days have seen the return of fast food franchises and exotic fruits from halfway around the world, the return of agriculture, and the pursuit of raising animals for fun and profit. As I rode east from the junction of the Stewart-Cassiar and Yellowhead highways, the coastal mountains gave one last attempt at grandeur near Smithers, and finally calmed into a landscape of rolling hills, grazing pasture, and thousands of ponds and lakes.

For the first time since I raised rabbits nearly two decades ago, I smelled alfalfa on the fields. I saw grass being cut and hay being made, and I was reminded of an observation that John Muir made about how it rained too much in the South East of Alaska for hay making ever to be a profitable enterprise. I am in a new geography now, and apparently here the suns shines just enough.

I don’t know how to react to the ready supply of goods and services. The balance of my trip so far has been through very sparsely populated country, some of it entirely wilderness. I see signs for A&W and Coca Cola and I am not appalled by them, but bewildered. When was it exactly that I left of forest? I can’t exactly recall. And I don’t know what it means that I am so disoriented by things that were so familiar as to be beneath notice only a few months ago. I have seen and done so much in the past two months of riding that I have filled my head with a year’s worth of memories.

My face is slowly disappearing beneath a beard which I just can’t be bothered to shave. My hair has become long and my look wild. I realize that the only difference between me and a homeless man is purpose. But I am suited for this life. I have never been more certain of anything than that. This trip is absolutely the thing I was meant to do right now, at this period of my life…

Tomorrow, or perhaps the day after, I head towards Vancouver and into the United States. I do not know how I will handle riding through my home state of California. Everything old will be new again, the distances recalculated as I arrive by bicycle rather than car. I find myself just as excited and fearful to be entering populated regions again as I was to leave them two months and two days ago.

< The Stewart-Cassiar Highway | Victoria, B.C. >