For many weeks, people kept asking me which way I would go into BC after riding across Yukon. I would answer : “via that smaller road, highway 37 I think.” And them to reply : “Ho, the Stewart-Cassiar highway, you are a brave man! There is massive elevation gain and bears everywhere! It sounded like I was about to ride the Himalayas with angry grizzlies ready to eat me behind every corner. A very exciting and appealing program indeed but one should not listen too much to people stories, even more when they experience the scenery without stepping out of their RVs. As a friend of mine used to say, the scariest bear is the one that is in your head. I took the bet to go check it out myself.
I will relieve the suspense right away, I did not see any grizzly. Not even half of one. But I did see countless bears. Everyday I would ride along at least three blackbears. They never bothered me, at all. They were either scared to death and flew into the bush or intrigued and lift their heads from their munching to observe that weird looking animal with a helmet before going back to their food without paying more attention to me. For more than half of them, I realized that : “Ho, there is a bea right beside me in the ditch” only when I had already passed them. Regardless how many I saw and how they reacted to my presence, it is still such a pleasure and a privilege to be able to encounter wildlife roaming in its natural habitat. Too bad someone put a road there. Ho wait, I am riding it. Bloody paradoxes…
Coming from the Alaska highway, the first thing that struck me was the narrower, windier and more charming aspects of the road. It was not cut through the landscape but going along with it, which involved some rollercoaster-like sections and a bunch of nice steep and strenuous hills. But I am still waiting for the tremendous passes climbs. The narrower and windier aspects of the road also meant no shoulder, forcing me to ride in the lane. I loved it because I would not get all the odd gravel and debris but also and mostly because it would force the cars to slow down and take on the other side of the road, leaving a lot of room in between us. There was less traffic anyway and it was forced to be slower because of the terrain.
The scenery changed almost drastically as I was now riding through dense lush bush. I was astonished by how bright and green it was, full of life. No doubt this was a wildlife heaven. To have so much vegetation, you would need a large amount of water, which also meant a large amount of mosquitoes. The water was ever present, coming from the Earth and the Sky. I found numerous creeks and countless lakes from all sizes, shapes or colors. Some were dark blue, others emeraude green or crystalline turquoise. It even felt like I was already in Central America when I laid on Boya Park’s white sand beach with my legs dipping in the transparent blue water empowered by the clear blue sky and the glorious sun.
It did not last the entire trip. On the second day, qs I was about to leave Dease Lake after a late lunch, lightning and thunder started their dance in the horizon. But I did not smell the unique scent of the rain coming and a local firefighter confirmed that it would likely be a drystorm. I went on and got lucky except for a 10min little shower. I was not as fortunate the next day. I saw the darkness raging towards me , the atmosphere turning to humid and electric. With no shelter for the dozens of kilometers I had no other option than keeping on pedalling. For five hours I rode through a massive hail and thunderstorm with torrential rain but at least it was not too cold. The highlight of this idyllic cycling afternoon was when I bushwhacked in the mud, carrying my bike over slippery boulders, trying to find refuge under a bridge to finally realize it was a metallic grid platform it was pouring through.
I was cycling long days and was a little ahead of schedule which allowed me to do a side trip to scenic Stewart. Less traffic, smaller road, fun climbs, long descents, bluebird, big mountains, steep gorges, massive glaciers, roaring river and wild cascades, everything you could ask for the most enjoyable bike ride ever.
Getting closer to the bigger highway I was slowly getting bored of the pavement monotony and the heavier traffic. But I found a few gravel forest service roads to cut across the mountains and get back to the wilderness. It was gorgeous and super fun, the perfect way to end this marvelous section of the trip on a good note before grinding the last hundreds of kilometers to the next resupplying place, Prince George, and transitioning to my hiking gears in Jasper. It is gonna feel weird to part with my bike for an approximate five weeks but I am very keen on leaving the roads to step into the backcountry.
Tramping, cycling, running, skiing, travelling, I keep exploring this amazing planet we live on. The following texts give an insight of my various wanderings. From poetry to trip reports or thoughts on particular subjects, this pages try to reflect how I travel through this modern world.