The previous blog post reflected our journey on the B.C. Ferry, Northern Expedition, from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert during August 2021. My husband, my mother, and I were taking advantage of an opening of travel restrictions within our own province of British Columbia, Canada thanks to over 80% of our citizens (including us) being fully vaccinated against Covid 19.
As darkness engulfed our 10:30 p.m. August 2021 ferry arrival in Prince Rupert, I have included some photos of the ferry terminal and surrounding harbour taken during the daylight on our 2019 trip.
These photos were taken during a previous trip on March 31st 2019 when we reversed route directions and departed from Prince Rupert heading south to Port Hardy.
The Prince Rupert harbour is a hectic location. As we departed from the Ferry Terminal we could observe the active CN freight train line, Coast Guard vessels, Commercial Fish Packing plants, Float planes, and stacks of containers being loaded and unloaded onto International freighters that were waiting their turn in the bay.
There are totem poles in several locations near the terminal. The dock connecting the B.C. Ferry is fairly lengthy and the way the ferry connects and departs from this dock is worth watching! (From our 2019 trip).
Time to explore Prince Rupert… This coastal community is a hub on the northwest coast of British Columbia. At present it boasts a population of 12,220 people. Wikipedia calls Prince Rupert “The City of Rainbows” and claims it is Canada’s wettest city with 2,620 mm (103 inches) of average annual precipitation.
The following photos were taken while exploring Prince Rupert in late March 2019. Note the snow on the surrounding mountains and frozen icicles hanging off the rocks beside the walking trails.
Cow Bay is a really colorful and historically interesting area to explore. You will have located Cow Bay when you discover the “Pride”rainbow sidewalk.
I must confess that as we explored Prince Rupert in mid August 2021 we were stunned by the green, lush plants and grass compared to the dry heat wave yard conditions on Vancouver Island and around much of the province this summer.
https://www.travel-british-columbia.com/northern-british-columbia/yellowhead-highway-16/prince-rupert/ For additional information about Prince Rupert this is a practical website to view.
Another fascinating aspect of Prince Rupert is that it’s actually located on Kaien Island in the territory of the Tsimshan First Nations.
Prince Rupert is only 48 km (30 miles) south of Alaska, USA! It’s closest main Canadian City is Terrace, B.C. located 145 km (90 miles) west along Yellowhead highway 16.
The majestic Skeena River, in its full glory, is a regal companion as you travel from Prince Rupert to Terrace. The highway runs adjacent to the river for most of the trip and its beauty is stunning!
Periodically you may lose sight of the Skeena as incredibly lengthy CN (Canadian National) freight trains pull cargo multiple times each day. Bill Gates owns over 10% shares of this Canadian company!
VIA rail also runs passenger trains which travel between Jasper and Prince Rupert, B.C. A good percentage of the train transportation route tends to run between the highway and the river.
Just prior to Terrace we encountered several interesting bridges. People were swimming and fishing in the rivers or enjoying sunbathing on the smoother banks.
Onward to Terrace which is a city of similar size to Prince Rupert—just over 12,000 population. It is located on unceded Tsimshian First Nations territory. Terrace is the largest city in the Kitimat-Stikine district. For more information about Terrace check out this website. https://www.terrace.ca/discover-terrace/about
While exploring Terrace keep a look out for Kermode or Spirit bears! They have many Spirit bear statues scattered around the city. Each one is unique and beautiful. Here is a sample of 2 Spirit bears we discovered.
Continuing on the highway, we headed northeast towards Hazelton area on highway 16.
This truck from Alberta had an interesting metal attachment on the back. Hmmmm…. We rarely see these on Vancouver Island. But as my brother lives in Prince George and has one for his truck…. I am familiar with its purpose. Snowmobiles or ATV’s! During much of the year there is deep snow up here!
The landscape started to change as we continued travelling away from the coast towards the confluence of the Bulkley and Skeena rivers at Hazelton.
There are several communities that make up the “Hazeltons” area. There is much rich history here in the historical heartland of northwest B.C. European Pioneer settlement started in the 1860’s. But the Gitzsan and Wet’suwet’en First Nations settled here over 8,000 years ago.
Mom was not keen to stop and explore during this trip. So I’ve included some photos from our March 2019 visit. The first collage depicts the Old Town Hazelton pioneer community 1880’s.
If you are fascinated by First Nations culture and history I highly recommend visiting the ‘Ksan Historical Village and Museum. Learn about Gitxsan history and if you are lucky, you may be invited to assist with carving a majestic totem pole.
We were invited to learn to carve at ‘Ksan! What an honour!
For more information about the diverse history and experiences available at the Hazeltons, check out their local website. http://www.hazeltonstourism.ca/ksan-historical-village-and-museum.html
Our final destination during this journey was Smithers, British Columbia. Smithers is located about one-half way between Prince Rupert and Prince George along Highway 16. It is 74 km (46 miles) by car from Hazelton to Smithers.
Smithers is a stunning alpine type town in northwestern B.C. famous for its world class skiing and fishing. Its population of about 5,400 people has remained remarkably consistent for the last decade. If you love outdoor recreation, this community has much to offer.
The next blog post will explore Smithers and the Nechako Lakes District area of north central B.C. Keep smiling and stay safe. Cheers.