west of Prince George, British Columbia (B.C.). Bright, sunny morning. Wood stove starting to take the chill out of the cabin. Percolated Sumatran coffee tastes good. It was light at 3:30 a.m. Earlier it was kind of dark. I could see stars and the glistening, yellow light of the setting moon rippling like oozing lava upon the lake. As we drove the bumpy gravel road to get here, we came upon a large brown-colored bear that looked at us and then jumped into the woods. Earlier we saw deer and rabbits. Pilleated woodpeckers are nesting in a tree behind the cabin. The birds are the size of crows, but have a white collar below a flaming red head.
Getting started–From Oregon, we drove 1300 miles to get here. It took four days. We left Monday. The amount of gear we planned to take was far larger than our vehicle. With considerable reluctance, we left beind the float tubes, fins, neoprene waders, face masks, snorkels, extra tent and some clothing. Even leaving these items behind, the Toyota 4Runner was packed to the gills.In Seattle, we stopped at REI headquarters and bought a Yakima Rocket Box, a cargo box to put on the roof. With the sleeping bags and lighter gear above, I could see out the the back once again. I couldn’t feel much difference in the vehicle aerodynamics.
We stayed the first night in Everett, WA only about 300 miles from home. The border crossing included a surprisingly long and comprehensive inquiry into the purpose of our visit. The two-month duration and lack of a specific destination may have triggered a flag. Ultimately, it ended with questions about what fish we had previously caught in Canada and suggestions for future fishing locations.
We stayed the second night at Cache Creek, a small town above the Fraser River. The Fraser is the largest river in British Columbia. The first pioneers followed the Fraser and the first Canadian trans-continental railroad was built through here. It heads in the vast central interior with runoff from the Rockies and ends in Vancouver. The canyon is spectacular. The river is powerful with many rapids. The walls are a myriad of colors–red, orange, black, white, tan, and yellow.From Cache Creek, we drove to Prince George, the northern B.C. provincial center, with a population of 80,000. I felt like I had finally arrived in northern B.C., the North.