The Bolts of Ringbolt Island

One of the highlights on a couple of our tours is a jet boat ride through Kitselas Canyon. The narrow canyon restricts the flow of the Skeena River into two narrow channels. The narrowing made the canyon unnavigable for the Sternwheelers of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Their engines and paddles were not to propel them through the canyon during all but low water levels. This made the need for large steel bolts to be drill into the rock island in the middle of the canyon. The sternwheelers were then able to run a steel cable through the bolts and back to the capstan to winch the boat through. Ringbolt Island has the highest concentration of bolts but they are also lined all the way up the canyon. Every time we boat through the canyon we spot new ones. They blend in with the moss covered rocks and can be difficult to see. Be one of the few people to see this part of the Skeena River History and visit the Island during one of our adventure tours.

Ringbolt island Ring in Kitselas Canyon
Ring Bolt with Cable still attached
Bolts on RingBolt Island
Kitselas Canyon with Ringbolt Island on the left
Can you spot the ringbolt
Ring Bolt on Ringbolt Island
Kitselas Canyon Ringbolt

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Running the Historic Kitselas Canyon


Taking a jet boat through the historic Kitselas Canyon is definitely one of the highlights of a couple of our tours where we run jet boat with our guests through the Canyon. The full force of the Skeena River is condensed into two narrow channels that were just wide enough for a sternwheeler to navigate through. It wasn’t until 1891 that the first Sternwheeler “Caledonia” was successful where others failed in running up and through the churning waters of the canyon. Running through the canyon is always an exhilarating ride but especially during high water in the spring when the full volume of water pours through. One of the most notable incidents in the canyon was the sinking of the Hudson’s Bay Company Sternwheeler the “Mount Royal”. It was July 6, 1907 when a blast of wind turned the boat sideways as it entered the upper canyon. This wind turned it sideways and wedged it sideways across Ringbolt Island where it eventually sank.

The Inlander navigating Kitselas Canyon

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Kitselas Canyon Historic Site

We mentioned the Kitselas historic site in a previous blog entry but it deserves another post as the canyon ans site is an amazing place.  Not many people have the opportunity to visit the canyon by jet boat and visit Ringbolt island.  By viewing the canyon by boat it provides a unique perspective when we are toured around by Kitselas First Nations member Web Bennet.  Web is a wealth of knowledge and can tell you anything about the history of the area.  On this day we jet boat up the Skeena and ride through the boiling waters of the canyon.  After exploring Ringbolt island we have a shore  lunch in a secluded beach right in  the canyon.  After lunch we hike up a short trail where Web meets us with his UTV and passenger trailer.  He shares his knowledge and shows us the sites as we wind along a path through the beautiful hemlock forest.  Highlights include the longhouses, petroglyphs, totem poles, lookout, dugout canoe, interpretive signs and the flora and fauna.  This day is one you will remember for a long time.

Cruising along the Kitselas Historic site path in the UTV Passenger trailer

 

Kitselas Longhouses
Petroglyphs – Web will explain the significance of this