Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Better To Be Safe ...
I'm not happy about it. But I'm not sad, either. Because I understand why we must change our plans. For safety.
The road I want (the Cassiar Highway) meanders through long, lonely, rustic, twisting, mountainous stretches of British Columbia. Gravel paves portions of this road.
The road promises a bounty of bear, moose, caribou, deer and other animals. But limited services. Like fuel. Limited because it's so remote; it's the road less traveled. That's why wildlife abound. And why I want to go there.
But we change our plans, trading endless vistas of animals for logic. I understand.
And logic tells us to use the the road most traveled, the famous Alaska Highway, know for years as the Alcan Highway. It's about 100 miles out of our way, but safe.
So we head northeast from Prince George, BC, up the Hart Highway, our eyes set on Dawson Creek (Mile Zero of the famous road) because, of course, there's not much else to do with our eyes. (I'm pouting.) I'm sure the wildlife hang out on the remote road, not this one, the one with lots of fuel and other vehicles.
Wait. Look, LOOK! A bald eagle, sitting on a low branch over that rushing creek. We pass by him within 100 feet. He's huge. I'm thrilled.
"Did you see it?" Allen yells. A bear. Allen says a black bear ambled down an embankment just as we passed by. He's about the size of a refrigerator laid on its side (not as long, but as wide).
WAIT! I see another bear, off to the right. What's he eating? Grass? We suspect maybe clover.
Now, LOOK LOOK! A beaver. And he's HUGE! I'd guess three feet by 18 to 20 inches. And what a LONG paddle tail! He' sitting on a log in the middle of a ponded area, chewing on something, using his paws to hold something up to his mouth. His redwood-colored fur glistens in the sun.
And, Yeah! Another bear. And another.
Within a four-hour span, we see seven bear, that bald eagle, the beaver, geese, crows and and something, maybe an otter, that slips into the water as we pass by. We also see magnificent vistas of snow-capped mountains, birch-filled valleys, mountainsides awash in spring colors, the edge of the Canadian Rockies, patches of roadside snow and the ice on a frozen lake beginning to give way to Spring.
And we find fuel, no problem.