One of the iconic towns of the Skeena River is the town of Port Essington. Founded by Robert Cunningham in 1871 and a fall camping spot of the Tsimshian known as Spokeshute this site has over a wealth of interesting sites and features that will truly amaze you! A jungly 100 year cemetery with hundreds of moss covered headstones, a grisly boneyard of cow skulls and bones, a one km long boardwalk falling into disrepair, pilings protruding out of the brackish river on their last legs, a boiler form the Cunningham sawmill, old bottles, trinkets, and remnants from over 100 years of habitation. The One day Port Essington Experience will jet boat you back in time to a place that few have visited and explored.
On all of our trips our guest really make the trips. We have had so many interesting people participate in the tours and it has been great to get to know them over a short period. Many of them are repeat guests that are coming back for another tour the following year. We always like to to take a lot of photos on the tours for marketing purposes and many of these now include photos of guests participating in the tours. Here are some photos from last August’s Ghost Towns of Northwest BC Tour. This year’s tour is starting to fill up and will be another great tour to some of northwest BC’s most remote and inaccessible Ghost Towns.
A big part of the history of the Skeena River and Upper Fraser River involved the use of Sternwheelers to transport people, equipment, supplies, furs and food up and down the rivers which were the main transportation routes. Almost all of the sternwheelers used wood to fed the boilers which in turn powered the large paddles at the rear of the ship. Wood was a readily available resource that grew adjacent to the river and could easily be cut and split into 3-4 ft sections and piled into cords by local contractors. The term Cordwood became part of everyday language as it was a necessity for every day travel. The cordwood cutters would get around $3-4 a cord for each one that was used by the boats. They would cut it and stack it next to the river at strategic points so that there was always an available supply along the routes that they traveled. The sternwheelers could burn 1-3 cords and hour depending on the size of the boilers and how hard they ran the boat. This was for upstream navigation only as downstream typically used a fraction of this as they used the current for most of their power. Passengers were typically enlisted to help with the loading of the cordwood at the supply points. some boats could hold up to 10 cords of wood at one time. It was one crew members job to continually feed the boilers with wood the entire time the boat was moving.
Ironically the Sternwheelers faded into obscurity in the 1912 -1920′s as the railway replaced the need for them. The last use of the sternwheelers was the assisting with goods and supplies to build the railway.
On the Skeena River the last sternwheeler the “Inlander ” did its last trip in 1912. Why this is interesting is that there are still piles of old cordwood lying along the banks of the river that were never consumed. In one location that we visit there are 6 piles lying adjacent to the river and they are in different stages of rot and decay but they can still be identified. For some reason I find this fascinating that these piles are over 100 years old and are one of the only remnants of the historic Sternwheeler days. If you want to visit these piles you can always join one of our tours that visits them or send me a note and I would be happy to provide you directions to them.
One of the most photographed items on our visits to Port Essington is the abandoned boat lying in the deep sedge grass. I was fortunate enough to find out some more information on the boat and acquire a photo of the boat when it was seaworthy. The boats name is the Hi-Lo and it was a small crab fishing boat that plied the inner water of the coast in search of crabs. The lady who told me about it said that she remembers fishing on it it with her grandfather and rolling out a sleeping mat on top of the warm engine compartment at night time to go to sleep. The boat looks a little worse every year we go back there but still stands out prominently in the dark green sedge grass. We visit Port Essington on a few of our tours and we are doing a Brand New one day tour to Port Essington May 27, 2017. Don’t miss this opportunity to visit the town that still “Stands Guard over the Mouth of the Skeena”
What to expect when you take part int he 2017 UNBC Adventure Tour “Northwest Grizzly Bear Discovery Tour”. Adventure and exploration as we view and photograph Grizzly Bears in their natural habitat in remote locations throughout Northwest BC. We use Jet Boats, Ocean Boats, and float planes to access some of this regions most inaccesible bear viewing areas. Don’t miss this opportunity of a lifetime June 6-10, 2017. Tour starts in Terrace, BC.
When most people think of Ringbolt Island on the Skeena river they think of the one in Kitselas Canyon. There is actually another on the Lower Skeena in the Salmon Cannery area. Directly in front of the remnants of the 1895 Carlisle Cannery lies another small island with a series of ringbolts lining the top. I am not sure of the exact purpose of the ringbolts but most likely they were used to tie off some sort of fishing boast that were used in the fishing industry. It was one of the first Canneries to be built outside of the protected waters of the Skeena River. This Cannery was built in 1895 and ceased operations in 1950. The cannery produced a high of 72 000 cases in 1941. It is one of the many Canneries we will visit on our Canneries of the Northcoast tour in May 2017. It is very seldom visited and one of the unique places we will explore on the tout
Average weight- 250 – 350 kg (male) and 125 – 175 kg (female)
Life expectancy- 15 – 20 years
The grizzly bear is the second largest land carnivore in North America.
The grizzly bear has been known to run at speeds of 55 kilometres per hour
The grizzly bear is not a true hibernator. In the winter its body temperature may drop a few degrees and its respiration may slow slightly, but it can remain active all winter
It is considered a meat-eater, the grizzly bear is actually omnivorous, which means it eats both meat and vegetation
If you would like to experience a trip of a lifetime learning about grizzlies and viewing them in remote locations in northwest BC then check out our “Northwest BC Grizzly Bear Discovery Tour” June 6-10, 2017.
The Ghost Town of Anyox has all kinds of remnants from its days as a copper mine in the early 19th century but after the town was shut down in in 1935 and a fire roared through the town in 1942 the majority of the buildings that survived were the one made of steel and concrete. A jungly forest has grown up inside and out of the remains which makes the buildings even more eerie. Here are a few of the buildings and the concrete walls that still remain. If you are looking for a unique “Off the Beaten Path” adventure then check out our “The Town That Got Lost” Anyox Exploration June 3-4, 2017 or the “Ghost Towns of Northwest BC” tour August 21-27, 2017.