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23 September 2009

1949 Beaver - Hunlen Falls

Nimpo Lake, 22nd September 2009

1949 Beaver

Another beautiful day in paradise and not a cloud in the sky greeted us this morning and we decide to go flying. We go up to the office and order a latte and a one hour flight of Hunlen Falls and the Monarch Ice field.

We meet the pilot "Sid" at the dock 20 minutes later, a nice young man.




The plane we board was a 1949 Beaver, made in England. The motor is Canadian made 450 hp, 9 cylinder Pratt & Whitney and it is pretty loud as it takes of. Actually you have to have ear plugs on the whole time.


 


This old plane just fly like a dream, with just Liz, me and the pilot, only 70% throttle is needed to takes off the lake. The production of Beavers ceased in 1967. A total of 1,657 DHC-2 Beavers had been built at that time. The Beaver was designed for flight in rugged and remote areas of the world. Its short takeoff and landing capability made it ideal for areas normally only accessible by canoe or foot.

Take off is as smooth as can be and we are headed for Hunlen Fall located in the southern part of Tweedsmuir Park.



Hunlen Fall is the 3rd highest water fall in Canada, dropping more then 1000 feet from Turner Lake in to Lonesome Lake. The fall is only accessible by foot, 6.5 hr hike in Grizzly Country or by float plane, we thought float plane would be a good idea after seeing the Grizzly bear move yesterday.






Turner lake is also know from the "Turner Lake Paddling Rout" a canoe route encompassing Turner Lake, Cutthroat Lake, Vista Lake, Junker Lake and Wildgeon Lake. The view is just spectacular. See our video below







After circling the Hunlen fall a few times shooting 257 pictures :)



we check in with Liz, she gives us the thumbs up and we are flying to the Monarch Ice fields and Monarch Mountain at 3533 m or 11,000 feet give or take.

The Monarch Ice fields are outside Tweedsmuir park to the south west. I'm not sure how many thousands of hectares the ice fields cover but it totally blew us away, it is massive.



 


From there we can see further to the south east, another even larger Glacier, the Kunaklini Glacier that is about twice as large as the Monarch Ice fields. Further to the south east is the Franklin Glacier and to the south east of it is the Homatbko Ice fields.



In the Franklin Glacier is the highest mountain in BC (where the whole mountain is in BC) Mt. Waddington at 4016 meters or around 13,000 feet. As we turn back toward Nimpo Lake the wind comes up a bit and we get bounced around pretty good. Once we are out of the high mountains and back over the plateau it smooths out, we fly over Charlotte lake, a very large lake and then in for a smooth landing at Nimpo Lake. What a fantastic flight. Don't miss it if you are out this way or anyway close.

The rest of the day we hanged around the camp ground, cooked up the rainbow trout for lunch, poached in tinfoil on the BBQ, stuffed with onions, lemon, tarragon, salt and pepper.

Added some water and white wine for poaching. It was fantastic. We later hanged around and talked to all the other campers, had an ice cream, and watched the sunset.

Tomorrow, depending weather we might stay another day or head to ????? Have to check the weather and we'll let you know.

Hugs and Love,

Anders and Liz

The Freedom Road to Bella Cola

21st September 2009

We left Vagabond Campground, Nimpo Lake at 8:30 am to head out for Bella Coola.


We left the trailer behind and just went with the truck. Nimpo Lake is on a high plateau at 3500 feet above sea level. After Anahim Lake, 15 Km from Nimpo Lake the gravel road started. It was in pretty good condition with some construction.


We drove and stopped and took lots of pictures as we were going along. We had an easy and gradual climb in to Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, the second largest park in BC next to Muskwa-Kechika Special Management Area in northern BC. Tweedsmuir Park is 994,246 hectares and the larges CONTINUOUS tract of parkland in the province of BC. The park was established in 1938, and named for Baron Tweedsmuir of Elsfield, then Governor-General of Canada.

We arrived at the summit of Hickman Pass, 5000 feet above sea level. There we stoped for some more pictures and a drink of water before descending "The Hill". On one side of the road at the summit the forest fire had just finished it devastating rage. It's black....

"The Hill", not a road for speed demons, drops 4200 ft in about 19Km and it is gravel all the way with lots of switch backs.
 
 

This part of highway #20 is called the freedom highway and was completed in 1953, not by the government but by the locals themselves. Tired of waiting for the government to complete the highway they took matters in their own hands and got things done. This is fantastic accomplishment and there is a plaque marking the spot where the two bulldozers met - one from the east and one from the west to complete the last link. I guess the saying "Never underestimate what a small group of determined people can accomplish" is true. We have lots of pictures and videos to be posted as we have better Internet access, so check back.

When we got to the bottom of "The Hill" we stopped and walked around for a bit. Liz's knuckles now started to come back to normal colour. I have to say the exhaust break on the truck is very nice when it comes to hills like this, one does not have to use the truck breaks much, saving on the break pads.

We continued now on paved road west going through the Bella Coola Valley, absolutely fantastic, it is really beautiful. Not to be missed in my opinion. We passed through Hagensborg. Hagensborg is a non native settlement of Bella Coola which began here in 1894, when Norwegians, attracted by the familiar settings of the fjords, moved here from their first settlement in Minnesota.

Hagensborg, is a very quaint little town and everything is very well tended to. There are several RV parks and lots of B & B's

Onward to Bella Coola the end of highway 20. Bella Coola is a mostly native town that is situated in a fantastic spot at the end of the North Bentinck Arm which leads out to Burke Channel, to Hugh Sound to the open ocean.

We walked around the harbour, and there is ferry service in the summer with BC Ferries.

 

We had lunch at the local restaurant, walked through some shops and then started back to Nimpo lake.

Back in the Tweedsmuir Park we stopped by the Bella Coola River and watched the salmon run,


 
Pink, Coho and sockeye jumping and swimming in the water.


 


We were told that over by Tweedsmuir Lodge there has been bear sightings today...... were off to Tweedsmuir Lodge pepper spray in hand, and sure enough when we sneak down to the river, there swimming is a large male Grizzly bear forging on salmon while swimming around. We will have a video here soon showing it all. It was spectacular!!! Liz's camera battery just gave up.



After the adrenalin levels dropped a bit, we headed for "The Hill" again. It was a bit easier going up then coming down, however going up, you drive on the outside edge and I think Liz's knuckles were almost white. Shaky videos of the trip up will be arriving soon.



We made it back to Nipon lake and as we are having "happy hour" one of our neighbours come over with a wonderful Rainbow Trout..... Got to love it, Rainbow Trout for lunch tomorrow.




Tomorrow we will go flying if the weather is good.

Love and hugs,

Anders & Liz

Heading For Chilcotin

20th of September 2009

We left Lac la Hache 


early morning at a temperature of +3C with lots of fog over the lake, a fantastic and beautiful morning. We took some pictures of the birds on the dock...
 

 


We drove north to Williams Lake and stopped and picked up a few supplies that was needed..... like coffee cream :)

Then we headed west on highway 20 towards Bella Cola. It sure is different country out this way. Most of it is very beautiful, but the burnt 


and dead (from the pine beetle) forest is pretty depressing. But that's nature I guess.






On the way out we saw something crossing the road up ahead and sure enough there was mama Grizzly Bear with a cub. They did not stay around long enough for us to get a picture, wow those guys can sure move fast.....

We ended up in Nimpo Lake at around 3:30pm and checked in to the Vagabond RV Park, right on the Nimpo lake. We got a great spot overlooking the lake and made a decision to stay here for three nights. Vagabond RV Park is run by Sid and Cora, a wonderful couple. Sid is also a pilot. Cora also runs Wild Trout Coffee Company. She makes wonderful coffees.... go and get one.


We un-hocked the trailer and went for a ride to Anahim Lake and got some diesel for the truck.... the first gas station was closed, the second just ran ut of diesel (I'm now sweating) however at "Grandmas Gas" we got 87 litres of diesel. We went over to the general store, the sign reads; "If we don't have it, you don't need it". Got to love this place, sure enough there is another Swiss person behind the counter :)   We get some brandy, and two book for Kooking With Karl, the books are very appropriate "Cowboys and Chuck wagons" and "At The Ranch House". Both great books with some fantastic recipes. Can hardly wait to try the "Spiced Beef" and the "Bullwhackers Baked Beans. They will be on www.KookingWithKarl.com soon.




We had a wonderful supper, bbq'ing some chicken with a great bottle of 2005 Merlot from Cedar Creek and a beautiful sunset to finish things off. Tomorrow the plan is to go to Bella Cola.... and the next day I'm planning on convincing Liz to come for a float plan tour of the Hunlen falls, the 3rd largest in Canada dropping a 1000 ft.

Hugs and love,

Anders and Liz

19 September 2009

Going Camping With The RV

Campinging with a 5th Wheel.

Last year we rented a small motor home "Itasca Navion". It is a great little class "C" motor home with a slide out. The Navion is built on a Dodge® Sprinter chassis with your choice of a powerful, fuel-efficient Mercedes-Benz® turbo-diesel engine or a 3.5L V6 gas Mercedes-Benz engine. A 5-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel ABS disc brakes and independent front suspension work together for exceptional handling and performance.


If you want to look at some pictures from our trip just head over to our Picasa Photo Album.

What is lacks in power it does make up for in comfort. It runs very quiet and as I mentioned handles very well both on gravel roads as well as hard top. It has pretty well everything you can ask for in a small motorhome. AC, entertainment system, generator and more.

There is a bed above the cab that is great for kids, don't think I will try to crawl up there and then fall down in the midle of the night. We had our grand kids with us and it was a great place for them to sleep.

The bathroom is a bit tight but ok (I got big shoulders). The bed in the back is on the small size if you are spoiled with a King size bed.

The "gas milage" or should we call it "diesel milage" was really good at around 15-20 miles to the gallon give or take depending on conditions and road.

Over all, it is a great little unit for 2 people. The base price on this baby is around 90K.

This year we have rented a truck and a fifth wheel trailer.The truck is a 2008 Dodge 3500 4x4 Quad Cab (four door) with a 6.7 liter cummins motor, that has lots of power. The 6.7 liter Cummins diesel with standard exhaust brake capability now has 350 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque with best-in-class low-end torque; it has a 5/100 limited engine warranty and is the cleanest engine in the Heavy Duty segment. A six-speed automatic with two overdrive gears has better launches and gas mileage, and lets drivers manually choose gears. The trailer is a 24.5 foot Sundance trailer and it follows very nicely behind the truck. Our gas milage so far is around 12 miles per gallon (2 days driving)

From the informationt that I have gathered I understand that The diesel engine can tow 23,000 pounds (gross combined weight). The Cummins is the most powerful diesel engine available in its class. It also has a longer certified engine life than Chevrolet or Ford diesels, with an average major overhaul interval of 350,000 miles and 30-40 percent fewer parts than typical V8 diesels. Starting in 2007, a single 6.7 liter Cummins diesel was available, producing 350 hp.

The truck has no problems what so ever to pull this little trailer. The 6 speed transmission (automatic) is great and the tow brake on the motor is fantastic coming down some of the hills. The truck has some features such as power windows, AC, power driver seat, power sliding rear window. Some features that would have been nice would have been built in GPS (we have our own portable), power driver seat automatic climate control, sunroof.....

I test drove a 2008 Ford Lariat just the other day and I have to say, it was incredible to drive.....

Back to the trailer "Sundance 245 Ultralite" is a nice 24.5 foot trailer and is great for two people. Don't think I would like to be more then two people in it. It has lots of storage, 25,000 BTU furnace, 6 gal DSI Water Heater, Electric slide out, Enclosed underbelly, Black Tank Flush System, Texas size storage doors, XLT Kitchen Package including microwave - Convecion oven, electric front jacks.

It is very easy to set and break up camp, only in matter of minutes and you are set to go on the high way or ready for happy hour.

 Now our trip. We picked up the truck and trailer in Langley at Candan RV. This is our second year renting from them and they are pretty good.

We then drove through Vancouver towards Whistler and then to Pemberton
View Larger Map and then on to Lillooet
View Larger Map where we stayed over night.

It is a great little town with lots of history and the Fraser River goes right along the city limits. We went into the museum, shoped at the Jade shop and picked up a coffee and crossant at the local coffee shop. Lillooet is the starting line of where many places, towns and cities have there name, ie: 100 Mile House, it is 100 miles from Lillooet.

From here we drove towards 100 mile house then on to Lac la Hach
View Larger Map where we are staying at a really nice camp ground called Kookanee Bay Motel and Campgrounds.

More in the next few days if we have internet access..

Hugs and Love,

Anders & Liz