British Columbia may have had some of the most surprises of the whole trip thus far. It was certainly incredibly beautiful. The Cassiar Highway started out with very rough, winding roads with lots of pot-holes and poor repairs. There were many 100 ft. patches of gravel every few miles, and even some greased down dirt roads.
Our first day on the Cassiar Highway took us over mostly rolling terrain as we neared a mountain pass. Towards the end of the day we started climbing up into the Canadian Rockies yet again. The water from runoff and springs was a beautiful teal/blue color. Sharp titanic mountains surrounded us on either side, and when we would yell, we would hear sometimes five or six echos! It was cool. We passed several lakes that looked like lagoons in the Carribean, but were frigid cold. We stayed in Good Hope Lake down by the lake at a spot that the locals often camp out. The view was incredible as the sun set.
The next day had us climbing again toward the summit. It leveled off at the top for a while, and we came accross "Jade City," which is not actually a city at all, but a Jade store where they design and make all sorts of Jade things. We stopped there because we needed food, and the store in Good Hope lake never opened up. They only had snack foods, but it was better than nothing. Several people came and talked to us, including a very attractive girl from Vancouver. These nice old folks also talked to us for a while, and then gave us $120 to help us on our way!!!
As it turned out, it really was a HUGE help a few days later... But I digress. The afternoon took us downhill a looooooong way. I was pretty easy going. I think we were "snowed" on that day. I'm pretty sure it was just snow blowing off the mountain we were by though cause there weren't any serious clouds nearby lol. In the evening we had some trials. We got rained on a bit, and also had 20 miles or so of that oiled dirt road stuff. On top of that, we had climb after climb after climb. Finally after a downhill stretch, we made it into Dease Lake city.
We didn't get out of Dease Lake until afternoon the next morning because of updating this page haha. We had a HUGE mountain to climb, and we didn't stop pedaling till we got to the top. It was 4100 feet high!!! It wasn't incredibly steep, but it was a workout. We could both feel that we had improved our strength and endurance over the past weeks since we didn't even have to stop. Past Gnat Summit, there was a lot of up and down terrain, but we made a descent at the end down into Iskut. Wow, that place looked really cool. I don't think we even took any pictures though because it was too big to try and photograph. The mountains just jutted WAY up all around us, and there was a great big lake right in the middle.
The next day we finally saw some bears! I saw a cub, and Mark saw the mom. It was way cool. The cub was right up next to the road, but down an embankment in the grass. It bolted off into the forest as soon as it saw me. The ride that day was filled with steep little climbs over little change in elevation. It goes without saying that we had lots of headwinds, but it was particularly frustrating that day. Coming into Bob Quinn Lake though, the wind stopped, and the ecosystem changed. We were suddenly into a rainforest climate! The trees were very tall, and thick to boot. The branches of many trees were draped with yellow green moss. The forest looked very old. In addition to that, the highway changed. It was a brand new, super smooth, broad shouldered road! It is the nicest road we encountered in BC! Also, it runs the rest of the way down the Cassiar from there!
The next day was bad. We got hit with rain hard. After only 30 miles (at least we went that far) we had to take shelter at the Bell 2 Ski resort. We used that $120 that those nice folks gave us and got a cabin for the night. We thawed out in the jaccuzzi for a while and slept in nice warm, queen-sized fluffy beds. It was the first day that we actually had time for leisure.
The next morning I was a bit bummed out because we had taken a huge chance by staying at the resort. The whole reason we stayed there was to avoid the rain since there was no kind of civilization for another 50 miles or so, and yet in the morning, it looked like more rain. Luckily though, when we actually got onto our bikes and started riding, the light rain stopped. We did 77 miles that day through easy terrain. It turned out to be mostly downhill or flat the whole day. We saw four more bears along the road. One of which was a full grown blackbear. It bolted off into the woods when it saw us, and I'll tell you what: those things are QUICK. I don't even know if you would be able to react fast enough to grab the pepper spray if one charged at you. Fortunately, they usually either just freeze and try to act like they are not there, hoping you didn't notice them, or they just make a "B line for the tree line." We stayed at a rest stop that night, 20 miles North of Kitwanga.
The next day, we came to the end of the Cassiar Highway, and with it, we reached the end of the remote wilderness that we had known all through Alaska and the Yukon.