Days 47 - 59: Bears and Flats in Northern BC


We're sitting outside the Library in Dease Lake, BC on an incredibly beautiful summer solstice evening, tomorrow we will head off on the last 700 or so kilometers of this incredible leg of our journey.  The past couple of weeks have been full of adventure and challenge, but these seem to be the themes of the trip.  Glenn's knee is doing a lot better, but still not 100 %, so we have been trying to take it a little easy, which seems to be helping.  So onto the highlights :)

Whitehorse - Dease Lake



Wash Outs and Slides

After a weeks rest in Whitehorse we were anxious to get on the road.  Glenn's knee seemed to be tolerating biking for shorter days with plenty of breaks.  On the first day we only went about 50 km.  We stayed at a campground that night and were told that the road was closed about 150 km up at the town of Teslin, Yukon because of a washout.  There had been about a week of rain (thankfully it was the week that we were taking off!), which resulted in slides and washouts on just about every major road and highway in the Yukon...everyone was stuck.   But we had another couple of days before we would reach Teslin so we decided to carry on.  We reached Teslin around 7 or 8 in the evening a couple of days later, after riding on a pretty empty road for a couple of days, and were pretty tired and hungry...but we had a little trouble finding a site... Our first option was a little stinky....and our second option seemed great until two pretty drunk guys pulled up on an ATV about two metres from us and first asked us if we were selling any weed, and then told us that there was going to be a big party there that night....we decided to move on a little.  We ended up camping in the town park, which turned out to be alright.  

The next morning we talked to the workers at the road block, and they told us that the road would be opened later that day or the next day, but we would need to be shuttled past the washout site ... Some 200 km away... We didn't really want to be in a car or truck for 200 km of the trip, and they told us if we waited a couple of days we would be ale to bike through....so we decided to rent a canoe.....

Paddling the Nisutlin Delta

We were really lucky that an outfitter in Telsin was able to rent a canoe to us for a few days, so tht we could take advantage of the copious amounts of water.  We ended up paddling a few hours into a delta and camped at a pretty old hunt camp that Doug, the outfitter, told us about.  Doug was guessing that it was probably about 100 years old.  It was pretty neat, some old relics of boats and sleds remained.  The water was pretty choppy for most of the journey, but it was great to be on the water, and this also gave Glenn's knee more of a rest.  The night that we got back form canoeing we stayed in Doug's little cabin, and he made us a pretty awesome pancake breakfast and gave us some tips on foraging food along the way.... It was a lovely place to stay, and Doug was a great host!

Ripped Tire and no Spare...ooopppsss......

We were super excited to be on the road again...and especially about the fact that we didn't have to  get a ride tot he washout site.   But, on the second day back on the road Glenn got a flat....no big deal, he just patched it....but then a day and a half later the tire was flat again.   We noticed that there was a rip developing and that whatever had punctured the tire went right through the patch as well.  To make matters more exciting we don't have a spare tire with us.  We had already used both of the spares on our back wheels, and we very very stupidly did not pick up another in Whitehorse.  So, Glenn put on another few patches and we rode to the junction of Highway 37 where we began riding south.  We phoned around in the nearby town of Watson Lake to see if we could find a spare, but no luck.  Instead we lined the tire with some extra webbed strap that we had, put some layers of duck tape on it....and now we are hoping for the best.  It lasted about 250 km to Dease Lake....and there are no tires here.  We have another 550 km or so to the next bike shop....so please keep your fingers crossed!!

So many bears!

We turned onto the Cassiar Highway about 235 km ago, it will take us almost all the way down to Prince Rupert.  Although the hills are steeper, there is no shoulder to speak of, and there are a lot of bears....it is perhaps the most incredible road we have biked on yet.  The scenery is breathtaking and there is very little traffic, compared to the Alaska highway, and the bears....well it is actually pretty awesome seeing them so often.  We have seen mamas and cubs, young ones, big ones.... And none of them have bothered us....although I did get a little shaken yesterday when a big brown bear was staring at me from the side of the road when I was coming down a big hill.  I stopped quickly, but unfortunately I was at the bottom of the hill and still in my highest gear....eek.  I tried to gear down and the chain fell off....the bear was still staring....but then Glenn came down and his brakes screeched and the bear ran off.... Phew.

Mushroom Picking and Eating

No, not that kind of mushroom!   As I mentioned above, our friend in Telsin gave us some tips on foraging.  One thing that he mentioned was that burn sites have plenty of Morel Mushrooms.  Well...we were pretty lucky to find a lot of them along the way.  There are two varieties that we have seen, one is bigger with a reddish cap the other smaller with a brown cap.  At the north end of the Cassiar highway there is a little industry in mushroom picking.  There are piles of pickers camped out and they make about $100 a bucket.  The buyers are also a plenty, and they dry the mushrooms and bring them south to sell to restaurants and such....it did cross our mind to stop and do some picking....but we thought we were already running behind a little.... Oh well we have gotten lots to eat ourselves!

Wild Times in Dease Lake!

Well, who would of thought that so much excitement could happen in one little town.  We arrived later in the evening last night and were thinking of getting a motel room when Scott who worked at the restaurant 'Mama Z's offered a place for us to pitch our tent in the back of the restaurant.  When we walked over to the place, he asked us 'do you like couches and showers'. We said YES!!!!!!!  We had dinner at the restaurant and went over to Scott, Renee, Kyle, and Justin's place....they all work at the cafe.  It was an exciting evening....we drank beer for the first time in a couple of weeks.....which as Glenn found out may not have been a good idea after cycling all day in the heat up and down giant hills.....for a very very brief moment we thought we were going to need to take him to the local clinic....dehydration should be avoided at all costs.  After scaring our kind hosts, we went on to play some hallway golf and have a really good time.  Turns out that there are all sorts of politics with mama Z's...I guess you find it everywhere.   She opens her restaurant seasonally, and lives on the Baja for the rest of the year....she is super nice, from our experience, but apparently the whole town won't talk to her... But she is very hospitable with us, so there must be more to the story... But all in all our stay in Dease Lake has been pretty awesome and memorable....and we still have one more night here...yikes!

Glenn's words on his knee:

Thank you to everyone who has expressed sympathy for me and my knee! After a week of rest in Whitehorse I was able to get back on my bike and start riding. It felt good to be on the move again. I've found that cycling doesn't actually put too much strain on my knee, as it is a smooth, stable motion. The bruising healed during the week we were in Whitehorse, so moving it has not been very painful since then, and the range of movement I'm capable of has just about returned to normal. The only issues that remain are that it does still feel weak, especially after a long day, and there is still fluid around my kneecap. However we saw a doctor again here in Dease Lake and he said that there isn't anything to be too concerned about, and that it will just take time to fully recover. So we'll continue to try to take it easy, and hopefully my knee continue to heal.

The Stats!

June 8: Whitehorse - Marsh Lake 51 km
June 9: Marsh lake - Seaforth Creek 68 km
June 10: Seaforth Creek - Teslin 81 km
June 11: Canoeing !
June 12: Canoeing !
June 13: Canoeing ! 
June 14: Teslin - Smart Creek 70 km
June 15: Smart Creek - Rancheria Falls 67 km
June 16: Rancheria Falls - Big Creek 73 km
June 17: Big Creek - Blues Lakes, BC! 70 km
June 18: Blues Lakes - Boya lake 66km
June 19: Boya Lake - an unnamed river... 81 km
June 20: unnamed river - Dease Lake 83 km
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