How many of you would jump at a chance to be taken back in time to the 80’s ? Well…… it is now possible through the Ghost Towns of Northwest BC Tour where we visit the town of Kitsault. Our exclusive access to this 1980’s ghost town will take you back in time to 1983 when the moly mine closed and the towns residents were told to pack up and leave. The town has been left as is for 35 years. Complete with a shopping mall, swimming pool, fully equipped hospital, curling rink, movie theatre, library, pub, gymnasium, stores, apartments and houses. How many of you remember the harvest gold appliances? you will be re-aquainted as you spend the night in one of the 1908 apartments complete with harvest gold stoves and fridges. You do not want to miss an opportunity to be one of the few people allowed exclusive access to this town and btw who wouldn’t jump at the chance to go back in time!
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”
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.
On all of our Adventure tours the chances of seeing some sort of wildlife are almost guaranteed. The places we visit are remote and relatively untouched with few visitors. The bird life is amazing with so many species and a variety depending on where we are. There is always a chance to see a bear or moose and the odds go op greatly when we target the species. Here are just a few photos of some of the wildlife.
One of the highlights of visiting the Ghost Town of Anyox is the trip up to the Anyox Dam or Dam#2as the residents called it. The dam is about 4 km up a winding road that eventually drops down to the site. It is a truly awe inspiring moment when you come around a corner and see this massive concrete structure located in a small valley 120 miles north of Prince Rupert down Observatory inlet. The dam was completed in 1923 and was built by hauling pallets of concrete bags up a single guauge railway line operated by electric hoists. The dam is 635 ft long and 137 ft high and 28 000 acre ft of water capacity. In 1923 before the dam was complete heavy rains caused a landslide above the dam and the debris from the slide plugged the penstocks and the water level rose to dangerous levels so much so that they had to evacuate people living in the lower parts of Anyox below. The water eventually subsided and the dam was completed.
we will be visiting the dam on our brand new two day “Anyox – The town that got lost” tour June 3-4, 2017 and on our Ghost Towns of Northwest BC Tour August 21-17, 2017. Don’t miss your chance to be on of the few people to visit this iconic structure.
We jet boat down the “River of Mists” or Skeena as it is better known on a few of our tours and at one of the spots near the tiny town of Usk we come around a corner and there lies a “Giant Bunny” Towering over the River. It takes many of the guests awhile to see this massive bunny but once seen it is always easy to spot again. The river provides a great vantage point to see the bunny. You can also spot the bunny in a few spots from the highway as well. Thanks @simonsees for the photo
Who thought it was possible to go back in time. Visiting the Kitsault Mall may be as close as one can get to a time warp. The mall closed shortly after it opened and I think they were still looking to fill all the stores. As seen in the Kitsault Times the mall opened in 1982 and the residents were told to leave in 1983. The “Hospitality Foods” still has grocery carts in the store, the bank still has the charge machines and stationery. The mall had a grocery store, restuarant, sports store, post office, clothing, sears and more. It is quite the feeling wandering around the mall and expecting people to come out of the stores or expecting there to be packages of bacon in the meat section of the grocery store. We will be heading back to Kitsault in August 2017 as one of the five ghost towns on our “Ghost Towns of Northwest BC tour.