Saturday, August 7, 2010

Traveling through British Columbia

We are now about 100 miles northwest of Jasper National Park, located in Alberta Canada. Just a few more miles to go before we are out of British Columbia. It has been an interesting past few days traveling through this province. Wednesday evening, before crossing the Yukon Territory into British Columbia, we started smelling wood burning and the air was hazy with smoke. When we checked into the campground just outside the town of Watson Lake, we were warned that we may not be able to travel on highway 37 the next morning. A forest fire had been raging for one week seven miles south of the campground.The road was currently closed, however, there was a possibility that the road would open in the morning. Supposedly the cool night hours sometimes cuts down the smoke. We soon found out that it was absolutely uncomfortable to be outside because of the falling ash and smoke.  There was concern for the campground; its cafe, souvenir shops, office and cabins. The owner was worried, she commented that if all the buildings went she stood to loose 4 million dollars. I guess our little discomforts with the fire were minor compared to her concerns. It was interesting to watch the activities of the firemen at the campground. Below is the recreation hall of the campground, which they were using as the base for their operations. On top of the building  is a water sprinkler which had just been placed there in case the fire did get that far.
The next morning we got in line with other vehicles on highway 37 at 7:30 AM. Three hours later the road barriers were lifted and we started on our way. Smoke covered the highway, and soon we entered an area of burned trees and smoldering brush. What was intriguing to us was that there were areas as yet untouched by the fire. Next to patches of green grass and weeds there were burnt  trees, which you may notice in the picture below.
We were told we would not see any flames, but I did get a picture of a tree furiously burning. In that picture too you may notice that there are still some trees untouched by the flames.
By late afternoon we had pretty much driven out of the smoke. We don't believe any other group of vehicles had been allowed on the highway because for most of the day we were alone on the road. That evening when we parked we had to deal with another botheration. Thousands of gnats were in the air; when they got inside our home it was impossible to kill them, they just escaped through the holes of the flyswatter! Earlier that afternoon we drove over a summit called Gnats Pass. We wondered why it was given that unusual name, until we encountered those pests that evening. Despite gnats, forest fires, and small stretches of gravel roads, we still enjoyed British Columbia. Below is a picture of some of the mountains we  passed. Pardon the ash-covered windshield, which made for a messy picture.
 One last item before I close off. This morning as we were headed out of the park we stayed in last night a black bear cub scampered across the road right in front of our motor home. He was so cute with his thick shiny black fur and small chunky body!  Unfortunately he was  moving too fast for me to snap a picture. Maybe he was trying to catch up with mama. We also saw a moose a couple of days ago next to the road.

No comments:

Post a Comment