I wanted to mail postcards to my grandchildren and needed stamps so we went into Jasper, not realizing it was Saturday and Canada Post does not operate on Saturday. We did find a convenience store to buy stamps so I could drop them in the postbox. I think we’re spoiled in the U.S. with our mail service – each postcard stamp cost $1.20, considerably more than the postcards themselves.
We kept seeing places with the name of Robson – Mount Robson, Mount Robson Provincial Park, Robson Pass, etc. and were curious as to who “Robson” was. A little research revealed that in the early years of the nineteenth century, the North West Company outfitted parties to hunt and trap in the mountains near the Athabasca River. One party was led by a man whose name was “carelessly pronounced” and had a camp near what is now known as Mount Robson. This was likely Colin Robertson (1783-1842) who worked for both the North West Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company around 1815. The spot became a gathering place for the various parties of hunters and the peak was probably named after him. Mt. Robson is the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies at 12,972 feet.
We were also curious as to why this particular highway was called the Yellowhead Highway. In a fur trader’s 1827 diary, he wrote of a location known as “Tete Jaune Cache”, a place where an Iroquois Indian half-breed who was fair-haired had made a fur cache. He was known as Tete Jaune or Yellowhead. We stopped and took a nice little walk to Rearguard Falls. The sign informed us that these falls mark the upper limit of the 800-mile migration of Pacific salmon.
A stop at the Ancient Forest provided us with a nice hike. The term “ancient forest” describes a forest that contains significant populations of trees that have reached great age and exhibits unique biological features. This is a temperate rainforest and is particularly unusual in that most temperate rainforests are found by the ocean. However, the interior Wetbelt in British Columbia is home to the world’s only known rainforest so far (800km/498 miles) from the ocean. As a result, a combination of coastal and interior species can be found in this unique forest.
“Big Tree” Circle of Cedars
The scenery changed along the Yellowhead Highway. Here farming and ranching are major industries. We did take note that dandelions seemed to grow especially well as we saw numerous meadows covered with their bright yellow flowers.
Rising out of the Fraser River Valley, in the Lakes Country there are more than 300 fresh-water lakes, of which Fraser Lake is one.
Tintagel Cairn is a roadside monument that was named after Tintagel, Cromwell, England. The central stone in this cairn once formed part of the Norman wall of Tintagel Castle, reputed birthplace of King Arthur, knight of the Round Table.
‘Ksan historical village is a reconstruction of the traditional Gitxsan village which has stood at this site for centuries. There are seven traditionally styled cedar longhouses as well as various totem poles and dugout canoes. We felt they could have used a bit more signage as we nearly gave up before we got to the village.
In Gitwangak, there is one of the largest concentrations of standing totem poles in northwest British Columbia. These stately monuments in cedar proclaim the owner’s clan status and inherited family traditions but were never associated with religion. Clan crests portrayed mythical creatures, sometimes in human form, from the legendary history of the clan.
On this beautiful clear day, we could see the Coastal Range, rugged and snow-covered in the distance.
British Columbia has really nice provincial parks and Meziadin Lake Provincial Park was a prime example. We met up with several other RVers who were also doing the trip from Iowa. The ranger joked with us that there were about forty of us missing based on consecutive license plate numbers. One of the couples we visited with here, we had first met in the campground in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. Camping overlooking a lake, jazz background music with cocktails and a steak dinner is a really nice way to spend an evening.