The Drive From Terrace,
The plane arrived into Terrace,
British Columbia, at around 8:30 AM. It is a large town (large, that is,
for northern B.C.) of about ten to twelve thousand people. It is not an
exaggeration to say that, for hundreds of kilometers in every direction,
Terrace is the one real connection back to civilization.
As such, we were able to rent a 4x4 GMC Jimmy SUV from one of the rental
agencies located at the airport itself. (But make sure you place a reservation
in advance of your arrival, since there were plenty of others getting
off the plane who had the same idea.) Rates were pretty reasonable for
us at a flat fee of 70 Canadian dollars per day and one Canadian dollar
for every 4 kilometers driven. Since the trip from Terrace to Stewart
is about 300 km one way, we ended up traveling around 860 km. But the
girl who gave us the car keys was nice enough to knock off 100 km for
each day we rented the 4x4. So, after all was said and done, we ended
up paying about 380 Canadian dollars for our SUV rental. Since that cost
was split evenly between Todd and SPC, it wasn't bad at all for each of
us. (One big reason why you'll want to travel with friends if you're going
to make the trip.)
We first took Highway 16 northeast up to Kitwanga, running parallel to
the Skeena River. Then we made a turn onto Highway 37 north up to the
Meziadin Junction where we finally got onto Highway 37A west, the only
road leading into and out of Stewart.
The drive lasted somewhere between 3 and 4 hours, and it was absolutely
gorgeous. The ... mountains ... are ... gigantic. They
are much larger than any peaks that we had ever seen, and that includes
the Rocky Mountains that SPC saw during his summers in Colorado. We were
so blown away by the sheer size of what we were seeing that we stopped
the SUV many times along the way just to take pictures.
We should also say something about the wildlife along the drive. Most
of the time you don't see any animals, but along the way we did spot of
bald eagle and caught a quick glimpse of a female moose before she skitted
back into the dense woods.
Here are some of the sights to behold as you make the drive to Stewart.
Remember that cameras tend to shrink the things you photograph. So what
you see below just does not do justice to the great beauty of northern
Series of peaks known as "The Seven Sisters"
A shot of the Skeena River near Kitwanga
Some of the massive cliff faces.
Notice the huge snow deposits on top of some.
The melting snow produces dozens of waterfalls.
A huge snow and ice deposit as we came close to Stewart.
"Avalanche skirts" for Stewart &
Hyder's only power lines
As we approached Stewart on Highway
37A, we came across a real treat. The road goes right past a large lake
fed by the great Bear Glacier. You could immediately feel a change in
the air temperature the closer you got. When we stopped the SUV and got
out, we actually had to put on sweaters and jackets because of the strong
cold breeze coming directly from the glacier. This is the same glacier
seen towards the end of the recent Robin Williams and Al Pacino film Insomnia,
which made it cool because we got to see the filming location of two
movies on this trip! The next time we go, we'll just have to get our hands on a canoe to get
a closer look!
The face of Bear Glacier is at least a dozen stories tall,
as you can tell by how small this canoe was.
SPC and Todd hold up pieces of glacial ice about 100 ft
down from the road to Stewart
SPC and Todd in front of Bear Glacier
Al Pacino in a scene from Insomnia with Bear Glacier in the background
Another scene from Insomnia showing the set at the Glacier
Stewart & Hyder