Farewell to the Past


Half a block down from the iconic Mile Zero marker for the beginning of the Alaska Highway stood the equally iconic Alaska Hotel.  Originally named the Dew Drop Inn, she earned the title historic and became embedded in the memory of any who lived, worked, or vacationed in Dawson Creek, British Columbia.  At least until last Friday, then she became a much different memory as hundreds of people gathered round to watch her last breaths go up in smoke.

We arrived after the more spectacular event, the wood frame building billowing with fire and smoke.

( photo – K. Sullivan http://www.photosbykas.com/)

At 7:30 the Dawson Creek Fire Department was trying to save the Brass Scissors, again.  That building suffered the same threat a year earlier when the video store south of it burned down.

The next day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isaiah 64:11
Our holy and beautiful house, where our fathers praised you, has been burned by fire, and all our pleasant places have become ruins.

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Spring in the Peace


Yesterday we drove up the Alaska Highway to Fort St. John.  I was leading the ecumenical Good Friday Service at Fort St. John Presbyterian Church.  The drive always provides amazing vistas of the South Peace District in British Columbia.  On this trip, I was not the driver.  As navigator I was able to dictate when to stop for a few pictures.  We have had an unusually mild winter.  There is precious little snow left.  I say ‘precious’ as the way below normal snowfall has the farmers concerned for this summer’s crops.

Farms near Farmington, British Columbia.

The appearance of the fields with their lack of snow may indicate spring, but the colours prove otherwise.  There is no hint of green yet, the nights are still quite cold and the ground has not warmed enough to encourage the tree buds to swell or the dandelions to push forth.  The scenery remains grey, beige, old gold, with shrinking patches of bright white as the snow retreats before the lengthening daylight and increasing warmth.

A half hour along the highway the pavement gradually rises to a breathless view of the Peace River near Taylor, BC.  Suddenly one is above a panorama of this deep cut into the prairie stretching the entire breadth from south-west to north-east.  The descent is severe, tractor trailer drivers are instructed to check their brakes before heading down the 10% grade to just before the Taylor Bridge.  Provided is a link by a truck driver descending Taylor Hill in winter.  It’s snowing so you won’t see much of the view.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWOWiLzR7ME

It is a long video clip, taking the drive almost eight minutes to travel from top to bottom.  Note all the trucks chaining up at the beginning of the hill in preparation for the climb.

It is apparent that this driver frequently drives through the Peace, notice the windshield chip – left side a little more than half way up. Almost every person living in the Peace has either chips or a full width crack in their windshields.  They do not sand the highways in the winter.  They use gravel, otherwise the wind, strong and persistent, blows it off the highway.  Here is our windshield after a trip to Fort St. John a year ago.   People around here say, “Until you’ve replaced your windshield, you can’t call yourself a resident.”  When you do replace one, your first chip repair is free.  Ones the size in the picture don’t count.  (click on the picture for a larger view, or any picture for that matter)  In this case if you don’t replace your windshield you are liable to receive a ticket from the RCMP.

Giving up on that rabbit trail, here are some more pictures of the vistas at the Peace River.

Isaiah 33:17
Your eyes will see the king in his beauty and view a land that stretches afar.

Alaska Highway – Part 1 – Mountains


1st Pass into the Rockies

In case you were unaware, I am Canadian, proud to be so.  I am a Canadian who loves to travel.  Living in Canada, therefore, is a blessing.  It’s a big country, with lots to see, and even more places to go.  One of the things on my bucket list* is to visit every Canadian Province and Territory.  This past May long weekend I managed to cross another off that list.  Hubby and I packed a suitcase or two, coaxed the dog into the truck, and headed north on the Alaska Highway, destination — Whitehorse, the Yukon. The morning was lovely, occasional sun breaking through white cloud, and increasingly hazy as we got further north.  Until one gets past Fort Nelson the geography is pretty much high prairie, cleared of aspen, although still many groves of them in areas that the large farm machinery cannot access.

Approaching Muncho Lake

Almost at Muncho Lake

We stayed at Muncho Lake Friday night.  It is about half way and VERY expensive as it is one of the few places on the way that has gas ($2.89/lt), food, and washrooms.  Everything for the resort is trucked in from Edmonton, including the fuel for the generators, no hydro wires along this stretch of highway.  The colour of the lake is incredible (pictures to follow in another blog).

As we got further north the next day, there was more and more snow on the ground.  The above pictures were at our third major stop near Stone Mountain.  It was stunningly breath-taking.  The mountains are magnificent in their silence and grandeur.  I’ve visited them on numerous occasions, the scale and immensity never fails to impress.  Somehow the imposing size seems to fade so quickly once they are past.  And, of course, a picture never accurately represents them either.  Showing another person a 4 x 6 picture and say, “This is a mountain” is paramount to using the word “Holy One” to encompass all that God is, and was, and shall be.
Psalm 76:4   Glorious are you, more majestic than the everlasting mountains.

*Yet to visit – the Northwest Territorities, Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador

Old Alaska Highway – Curved Wooden Bridge


 

At mile 21 from Dawson Creek, BC on the Old Alaska Highway is one destination I bring all out of town/country guests.  It is a wooden deck, curved bridge spanning the Kiskatinaw River.  During the construction of the Alaska Highway in 1942 the approach and shape of the river presented a problem for engineers.  The deck is banked to facilitate water run off.  The bridge is 190 feet long and boasts a 9 degree turn.  It took 9 months to complete, almost as long as the entire Alaska Highway!  It is the only wooden bridge of its kind remaining in Western Canada.

 

 

 

 

 

Below is the steel structure that supports the wooden deck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking down river to the north.

 

View up river back toward the bridge.