One for a road to travel

If you have never driven through the Bulkley Valley in British Columbia, Western Canada – put in on your “things to do before I die” list. And mark it high priority.

I made my first trip down the Bulkley some 30 years ago driving west to east from Prince Rupert to Prince George. I wrote at the time that if the great city of London, England, was dropped in the Bulkley Valley a land-locked search party would have difficulty in finding it. And on the half dozen trips across its vastness since that first adventure I haven’t changed my views, although I’ll confess I’ve lumped more than the Bulkley into my vision of the eternal landscape between Kitwanga and Houston.

From the crest of every hill on what is now a first grade highway the majesty of BC stretches beyond the horizon.  The mountains of the coast, glorious in their own proud reach for the heavens, begin to fold their grandeur and widen their valleys east of Terrace. Then, as the old Indian fort and battleground at Kitwanga and the Hazelton’s – Hazelton, South Hazelton and New Hazelton – fall behind the highway swings into the Babine which folds into the Bulkley near Smithers, still circled by snow capped mountains but widening with every passing kilometer.

Between Smithers and Houston, then on to Burns Lake, Fraser Lake, Vanderhoof and Prince George the traveler begins to realize how insignificant prim and proper Victoria and arrogant urban Vancouver are in the grand scheme of things. They are mere midgets on the provincial map.

Today I mention only a “minor” journey – Prince Rupert to Prince George – in northern BC. Sometime in the future I’ll take my “foreign readers” – and any locals who’d like to come along – on a run through the Chilcotin and the Cariboo, real, and still, “Cowboy country.”

And just to keep the record straight, I do not work for a travel agency, a transportation company – or anyone related to the tourist industry. I’m just an old traveler happy to share – and equally happy to answer any questions (or challenges) via e-mail –  jhume@shaw.ca.

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