Week 7 Review from Janine

Written by Janine Marek, the Ignite Possibilities Tour Bus Driver

Week seven “Destination Unknown” in the review:

Note. With the different wifi connections this summer my email has been hacked. If you were one of the lucky ones – don’t open the link- trust me, I’ve had no time to send emails and the email is apparently a one liner and that’s impossible for me to do! Now back to the update.

Aug 8 Stayed an extra night in Stewart, Why? Because we could. Without expectations or timelines we can embrace and enjoy random discoveries. Often found by talking to locals asking about hidden gems. We do our best to see as many as we can. It’s those spur of the moment field trips that have been the most rewarding. Steward was hosting its Community Days so we partook in as many activities as we could. There was a duck race, we all purchased ducks. 

At the duck dump we lined the small creek they were to float down. My duck right off the dump flocked off and got caught up spinning circles in a small whirl pool. But Jb’s duck stayed on course and was third across the finish line! Her prize was a well-known cooking spice called “Beaver Rub” and it came with a collector’s toque that Peter claimed and an awkward moment that I had to claim. The strange thing was she’d been talking about this spice all summer and looking to find some. I’d never heard of it before, but my spice palate is much more naïve than hers.

There were pancake breakfasts, children games and slow pitch tournament all reminding me of home. For the adults a beer garden and comedian happening so I head down to meet some locals and listen to the music. I hear “hey aren’t you the driver of the cyclists”? It was Chris one of the hitch hikers we’d picked up. Can you believe that? After the canoe trip he and his wife were camping their way back home. That was a neat surprise! Leaving Stewart we travel through pristine nature, which other than the highway and power lines isn’t too messed up by humans. That night we set up camp lake side at the Meziadin Lake Provincial Park

Aug 9 I wake and toddle off with coffee in hand and head down to sit by the water’s edge. I got right to enjoying the view and noticed a national geographic show playing out in front of me. I was watching the food chain in progress. Bugs hovering close to the water were getting snatched out of the air by fish jumping full body out of the water. I was impressed at the athleticism of these fish. It was interesting to watch, but then out of nowhere an eagle dive bombs the water and gets the unsuspecting fish whose sole focus had been the bug. Wow that was neat to see happen! I bet that fish wishes he had stayed in school.

We leave the lake side and head south with Kitwanga in our sites. I check out several logging roads from the safety of the highway and marvel at the ability of the logging truck drivers. I tell myself that I won’t complain about potholes anymore now that I see what those truckers deal with. We make it late day to Kitwanga and grab the first place we find which is the Church yard right beside the cemetery. We park and while the crew is getting settled I take a walk through the grave yard. I was enjoying the local history lesson until I felt a set of eyes on me. There was a neighboring dog watching my every move and when I walked he walked and when I stopped he stopped. Turns out he was super friendly but I didn’t find that out till the next morning, I thought he was stalking me.

In the morning I find a historic battle field named Gitwangak. There is an interpretive walk and a small hill to climb which of course beckons me, from the top there is a nice view of a small river. I watch for salmon as the run is supposed to be on but we’ve yet to see any in our travels. After exploring I go back to the graveyard since I was shut down early last night and meet a wonderful couple shortly after their big black dog charges out of the trees to greet me, giving me a mini heart attack! We’ve been in bear country for quite a while now.

Aug 10 was an interesting day. I’m telling on myself here, because social media eliminates the ability to keep secrets. We’ve dubbed the incident “the perfect fall”. Home was going to be Kleanza Creek Provincial Park, another beautiful river side campground. The cyclists had gone in ahead of us and found a spot right by the river. The options for me were to attempt to turn around and back in or drive a kilometer and come in from a different angle. It was going to be a challenge but with an empty lot facing ours I was up for giving it a go. Bad call. The back duals ever so gently dropped into an unforeseen ditch. Instantly, end of story, we were going nowhere fast. A perfect fall because nothing on the motorhome was touching anywhere except the frame. With ego rapidly deflating, the tow truck was called. We told the driver we were in a ditch at Kleanza Creek Campground and being from the area he said “there’s no ditches at Kleanza creek”, we assure him that “Yes. Yes there is. There’s one…and we’re in it”. The tow truck arrived quickly and it was an easy extraction, lifting the camper ever so slightly and me backing out. The worst part of the whole ordeal was having to do the “drive of shame” past rows of campers which now lined the road wanting to know what was going on. UGH!! I left my mark on the pavement and the fellow campers I’m sure. My driving prowess had been severely bruised but truth being told I was just too big for my ditches. I got over myself quickly with the help of calm, understanding employers and I pitched the tent falling asleep dialed into Mother Nature’s very own “white noise” with the Kleanza river a mere 20 feet from my head space.

Aug 11 Turned out be another spontaneous and exciting day. Passing the cyclists I scout for a pull out, right behind me a jeep pulls in as well. He’d been following me for quite a while so I get out and head back to talk to the driver. He asks “Are you coming for the peeing tree?” Excuse me? I counter not sure I’d heard him right. He repeats the question and I admit I’ve not a clue what he is talking about. He explains that the tree that I am parked beside if I go to the front of it – is actually a fresh mountain water fountain. What? No way?! I’m doubtful because seriously this is weird stuff but sure enough a metal pipe flows 24/7/365 with mountain water. Many decades ago an underground stream had been tapped and dug up to drain through the tree and the tree grew around it. We thank him for this hydrating information and seeing we love water, proceed to fill every jug we can find with the best cold water we’ve ever tasted.

With cycling done for the day we drive the rest of the way to the Nisga Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park. This was a surreal landscape because in the 1700’s the mountain literally split open and spewed out a river of molten rock. The “river of fire” which the surviving locals named it flowed over the valley taking villages in its wake, killing over 2000 people. The lava apparently flowed from volcanic cones located under Crater Creek, leaving over 39 square miles of land buried beneath a layer of lave up to 30 meters thick in some places. It grows a strange looking moss on the rubble now and it was interesting to see such a strange terrain set in amongst the beautiful surrounding mountain side.

Aug 12 we stop in Terrace on the way back from the Lava fields as Ignite has an interview with the local paper and then the family has a date with the local sushi restaurant. I opt to sit in the park under a shade tree and watch kids playing at the water park. I miss my little people. We leave Terrace cycling towards Prince Rupert. I’m stoked; this has been a “someday” trip that is happening today. We play leap frog down some pretty remarkable country side The first thing I do when I park while playing this game is to get out and start pacing, why? I’m the pace car it’s my job. I walk the shoulders checking for views one can’t see from the RV, treasures that fall off vehicles or animal stools because animals don’t cover their tracks. I like to take note of what critters I think have been in the area, are the piles hairy, berry or both and then check to confirm if I was right…turns out I don’t know scat. We stop just out side of Prince Rupert to hike amongst the tall trees. It was a trail taking us through the rain forest and we marveled at the size and beauty of the coastal trees. Home for the next two night was found in the Dollarama parking lot located across from the hotel.

Aug 13 I woke early and couldn’t get out of the RV fast enough to get down to the pier. The first thing I saw was the Ferry steaming by. It was a sunny day blue sky day which is apparently rare in Prince Rupert as they get over 95 inches of rain annually. No wonder everything is lush, green and healthy. At the pier I see harbor seals, an eagle and a raven just hanging out together which apparently is rare, I watch people fishing off the dock. I check out the boats, go through the shops and basically spend the morning hanging out at pier. After lunch I do my own version of a walking tour. It’s actually smaller than I thought it would be, considering its a major sea port. I had visions of it being like Red Deer big but there are fewer than 14,000 people living here, and get this. Prince Rupert is an island! I never knew that! I knew there are a ton of islands surrounding it but I thought it was part of the mainland. Even the airport is built on its very own island. When you fly into Rupert you have to take a ferry over to the city. But the best part of Prince Rupert for me was FAMILY!! My cousin Ronnie lives here and I got to visit with him, his wife Coreen, daughter Miranda, son Jeryd! I love it when destinations unknown result in a small but precious family reunion.

Aug 14 I wake and head down to the water with coffee in hand. It hits me that for someone who can’t swim, I sure spend a lot of time around water! I meet family for breakfast and get a once in a life time tour of Prince Rupert and its main shipping yard. My cousin has worked there for many years so he drove in like he owned the place. It was really neat to watch the shipping containers getting loaded from trucks to freighter and freighter to truck. From where we stood it looked like they got to play with LEGO all day in a very large LEGO land, but I’m pretty sure there is more to it than that. The time with family went way too fast and it was time to bid farewell. Now we turn this rig around and start heading east. The cyclist ride out of the port city, rain starts, we load the bikes and drive back to Kitwanga knowing there’s a cute church to park beside closing this day with a new week waiting to be opened in the morning.

Week eight here we come. Stay tuned and enjoy as this crazy adventure continues.