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23 September 2009

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

1 comment:

  1. Amazing videos! Thanks for sharing your trip.

    Len

    ReplyDelete