Go West Girls Go West
This month I am pleased to present a guest writer to The Travelling Lady, Christine Thelker. I met Christine and was instantly enthralled with her travel stories. I hope you find this story as interesting as I do. Welcome Christine
My name is Christine Thelker, I am a born and raised British Columbia girl, and for most of my 58 years, I have been somewhat of a gypsy. I love to drive, love to explore, see new places, and have been fortunate enough to see a variety of countries. What I truly love is to explore things right out our back door. The backroads, backcountry, the towns and cities and the people that make us who we are. From an afternoon adventure to being gone for weeks on end, my motto is “ get in let’s go.” I currently live in Vernon BC, where even a couple of days every year doing Okanagan Wine touring can turn up some unexpected things and places, but I am gone at every opportunity because you never know whats around the next corner.
Go West Girls Go West
finding or losing ourselves
Planning a girls road trip begins with a dream, the desire to see more, experience more, see places, meet people, it’s not about family, it’s not about romance, it’s a more basic yearning to find ourselves again. Those adventurous young girls, who weren’t afraid to venture out on our own, to find the carefree spirit that is in us all, that little girl who giggles at the wind and marvels at the wonder all around her. It’s that desire that starts the wheels in motion for a girls trip. I had the honor of traveling to the Prince Rupert Area, more specifically to the Cassiar Cannery in Port Edward a few years ago. I talked so much of it, and its magic, that the ladies who would be my traveling companions wanted to go….my response ….let’s do it
So it became a back and forth of many emails, how far is everyone comfortable traveling each day, how much is everyone comfortable spending on accommodation, food, types of accommodation suitable for everyone. Part of the pleasure of the trip is in the planning itself and watching it evolve until departure time. Over the next several months the plan was made, to go from Vernon BC to Port Edward BC.
Leaving Vernon, we head to Kamloops then head across to 100-mile house; we knew fires were still burning, we weren’t sure what we would see. What we saw was devastation for sure, but stopping at a little antique shop, what we found were people who were resilient, determined and willing to do the work to rebuild their communities. We saw fields scorched, yet you could see the green of the rebirth of grasses. So through the vastness of the area, we stopped, looked at the raw beauty, and you see the hard work it takes to live in this country, and you appreciate the beauty that captures people to come and stay and be part of this beautiful countryside. Along the route we were aware, there was a lot of firefighting efforts going on, in some areas the smoke so strong, other areas the skies were blue, but the burnt smell enveloped you, it was contradictory in what you were seeing and what you were smelling. We were at times all quiet; it was difficult to comprehend what we were seeing. Traveling further we arrived to find Williams Lake very busy, a city getting back to life, the busyness almost felt too busy, too rushed for a city that normally seemed to have a laid backness to it. We traveled through to Barkerville; it was on the list of must see and do’s. The little town of Wells, which is at the entrance to Barkerville, is unto itself a place to see and explore, the people are delightful, helpful. We stayed at a lovely little house we rented for two nights known as the Mountain Thyme Getaway, it was a lovely accommodation that provided everything one could need to truly unwind, from the well-equipped kitchen to the old turntable and LP’s for one’s enjoyment. The owners were most helpful and owned the gift shop next door, which was well stocked with a variety of gift ideas. A full day at Barkerville we explored, enjoyed fresh baked goods at the old bakery, panned for gold, took in a live theatre production, and a stagecoach ride. For sure a busy day, but worthy of the stop and ensuring we were rested by staying the night of arrival and the following night was the best way to enjoy and be ready for the journey to our next stop.
The following day we travelled to Prince George, stopping briefly before making our way towards Smithers. We stopped along the way; exploring many little communities. After a picnic lunch at the pictureous town of Burns Lake, one more stop at Frazer Lake, and then on to explore Smithers, a lovely city, surrounded by exquisite scenery. We were en route to our next stop which was in Morristown, known for its fishing and wildlife, we turned off the highways and made our way 12 Kilometers into the backcountry, rolling hills, beautiful ranches, and then we arrived, a beautifully carved gate announcing we were now at the Last Dollar Ranch. We stopped and marveled at the workmanship of the gate, opening the gate we made our way along until the road opened up to a lovely looking home, with signage to cabins, and the lodge. Amongst cows meandering, the lodge stood out tall and grand. We went to the house to find a note posted that the owner was across the drive working on a new cabin. Making our way towards the cabin, which looked more like a beautiful country home, we found our host Tammo, a delightful man, originally from Holland. He built this for his retirement.
He has built it from scratch, and his workmanship is impressive. He had us follow him to our cabin, ( I could live there ) opening the door, we stopped, it was so beautifully done, spacious, relaxing, a fireplace stood in Grandview of a large expanse of windows overlooking a large wrap around deck. Three large bedrooms, a kitchen, and bathroom that would have many wishing it was their house. There was a great supply of firewood for the fireplace and the outdoor fire pit. After unpacking, it was time to take a stroll and take in the scenery, already wishing we would have booked in longer, another place to return too. It’s easy to just be with your thoughts here, a peaceful tranquility that is difficult to find these days. We all spent the day, exploring, relaxing and enjoying some individual solitude, before meeting back up at the cabin for a lovely dinner, and then a fire at the fire pit.
Tammo joined us in the evening, truly someone who you won’t soon forget. A blissful sleep in beds that were comfortable and cozy. After a relaxing morning, good breakfast we regrettably had to head off to our final destination. The Last Dollar Ranch is so worth the visit and the trip to get there, but I suggest you book at least 3 or 4 days because one just isn’t enough. We were all now feeling relaxed and thought that the trip was providing exactly what we all needed, time to recharge, refresh.
The scenery between Morristown and Terrace is breathtaking, waterfalls, majestic mountains, truly an area to treasure, rainforests, lakes, rivers, untouched, unspoiled. After a coffee stop in Terrace, we were ready for the drive to Port Edward. A quick trip into Prince Rupert, then on to our destination of Port Edward and the Cassier Cannery
It is a place hard to describe; there is something magical about this place, you feel your whole being just relax. The air is fresh, the quietness is almost overwhelming, no traffic, or white noise, just the sounds of water lapping at the shores, the birds and Mother Natures rustling leaves.
We went into Prince Rupert on our second day where we met the Harbor Master, who was more than happy to explain the comings and goings of the waterways of the Port. The town itself is full of rich history, steeped in traditions; another trip will be planned for the failed Halibut fishing. We had planned on going halibut fishing out of Prince Rupert, but just days before the fisheries shut down all the halibut fishing, so Justine ( owner of Cassiar Cannery) said she could plan us another excursion that she was sure would satisfy, along with her and her son, off we went to meet (Rob Bryce) a local guide who would take us on an unbelievable trip. We met at the mouth of the Kasiks River and Skeena Rivers, up the Skeena River to the Gitnadoix River, stunning scenery, mountains, glaciers,
waterfalls everywhere. It’s a trip very few have ever traveled, the water levels must be right to get up the River, once up the river, it opens up to Alistair Lake, untouched, pristine, it was truly an Awe moment, one of those moments that puts everything into perspective. After lunch and fire on a small beach, with two waterfalls behind us, making our way back down we ventured into the waterways of the river, one marsh area we explored opened up to us to show us beautiful wild white swans, so unexpected so graceful.
Coming back to the Kasiks River, we then ventured up it to look at salmon spawning and again more spectacular scenery. We ventured out of the boat a couple of times, I found some very fresh, very large bear prints, so it had likely been fishing not long before our arrival. The areas and waterways of the two rivers are so different and diverse; it truly was one of those trips that the saying a picture is worth a thousand words….So, I will leave you with that…. Did we find ourselves? I think we found much more.