Sunday, July 27, 2008

Day 23: Boya Lake to Meziadin Lake BC, July 23

I got to spend the entire day driving the Cassiar Highway, which was a delight. It was rough in spots, but nothing worse than the road to Dawson City. We were driving alongside the Cassiar Mountains, then eventually next to the BC Coastal Mountains, which are also beautiful; pointy and snow-topped.

Our first stop was quite early on, in a community that calls itself "Jade City", but really only has a population of 12 and one business, a jade store. Apparently this one site supplies 90% of the world's supply of jade; up from 75% a few years ago. People expect to buy jade souvenirs when they visit Asia, so now Canada exports jade figurines to Asia for the tourist trade!

We stopped again to see and take pictures of a couple of dozen totem poles that are in a little village whose name I have to look up. There is a museum there, unfortunately closed, but under its porch roof are a huge pile of old totem poles, presumably awaiting restoration.

Dinner was the Bell 2 Lodge (named for the fact that it's the second place the road crosses the Bell River). It's the newest, and possibly the swankiest, spot to stay on the whole Cassiar; their main business is heli-skiing, so the people who come have serious money, I guess. My pan-fried trout would satisfy the pickiest of expensive appetites.

We stopped for the night in another beautiful provincial park, this time Meziadin Lake. The park had pit toilets and no showers, but they had wifi access available! Of course, that was only until 10pm when they turn the generator off for the night. There was a Westfalia from California in the site next to us, and the owner came over to chat and discuss routes with us, since they were considering going to Whitehorse. I was able to point out where the gas stations were (two that were listed in the Milepost were closed, causing me some slight worry earlier that day). They carry an extra 10 gallons of gasoline with them, which seems excessive to me, but I guess services must seem far apart to them up here.

Total so far: 8185km

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