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.
One of the most interesting times to explore the old canneries of the Skeena River is at low tide. This area still has upto 20 ft tides and for a few hours each day the shores come alive with items from the past that provide some insights into the history of these abandoned sites. We usually visit a couple of them at low tide and provide the guests with some time to explore. Old animal skulls, bones, teeth, headstones, bricks, beach glass, muffin pans, pots, ceramics, and much more still remain. Every cannery is unique with the remnants from the past depending on the dismantling, length of operation and year it closed. These seldom visited sites are truly a unique trip and we visit them on our Canneries of the North Coast tour in May 2017.
Have you ever wanted to be a part of a very unique and exclusive research project. The White Sturgeon Biology Project in partnership with EDI Environmental Dynamics and the L’heildli Tenneh First Nation. This two day tour on the upper Fraser River we track Sturgeon with radio telemetry equipment and then attempt to catch them with set lines and angling gear. Guests learn all about these prehistoric fish and all the surgical and measurement techniques that are done for each fish caught. This years two day Jet Boat Sturgeon Project takes place on May 4-5, 2017.
The Skeena River is fed by thousands of waterfalls cascading down the mountain slopes into it’s tributaries. A couple of the rivers we venture up are untouched with no roads or industry and the steep valley walls are a perfect recipe for hundreds of waterfalls. During the spring melt and after a rainfall the valley rocks walls become alive with waterfalls cascading in all directions. With UNBC’s Adventure Tours “Experience the Extraordinary!”
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.
On our UNBC Adventure Tours guest safety is one of our main concerns. With many of our tours utilizing jet boats we must enure the drivers have a vast amount of experience driving jet boats and familiarity with the rivers and ocean that we take guests up. We many pre-trip inspections of the waters we venture into to ensure we do not incur any surprises. One of our drivers is Terrace resident Fred Seiler and owner of Northwest Jet Boat Services http://northwestjetboat.ca/. Fred has thousands of hours of experience on the rivers and also instructs our UNBC Jet Boat Safety course. Our guests are in good hands with Fred at the helm of the jet boat.
The Anyox General store was one of two stores in the community. It was the company store that was owned and ran by the Granby Compaany. The other store was “Franks” or Frank Lew Luns and it was one of the only non company owned buildings in the town. The General store got shipments of fresh fruit, vegetables and milk twice a week. An interesting side note is that the company did try and have fresh milk by bringing in 12 dairy cows but the Smelter killed off all the vegetation in Anyox and there was no grass for them forage on and they were eventually condemned for being sickly and sent to the incinerator. The store really was the hub of the town and on saturdays and paydays it was bustling with activity. The store sits on the ocean and is one of the first structures one sees when entering Granby Bay, It is 117 ft long and 60 ft wide and three stories high. It sold groceries, postoffice, clothing, furnishings etc. The store is an eerie place now as a forest of trees has taken over where the rows of canned goods and ladies fashions once sat. The branches have climbed there way through the roof and windows and break the beams of sunlight that try and penetrate the floor.
One of the things we strive to include in all of our tours is the “uniqueness” of all aspects. Our locations that we visit are all unique northern BC focused. On our Skeena River Historical Journey we re-trace the route and history of the early 1900 paddlewheelers that navigated the infamous Skeena River from Hazelton to Port Essington. Our goal for this tour is to have the guests overnight in accommodations as close to the Skeena River as possible and have their luggage transported to the next nights accommodations and have it waiting there for them while they are on the river learning about the history and taking in the sights. One of these is the Soaring Spirits Lodge in which we spend out first night. These unique raised “tent” sites are quite luxurious and will make for a special story and memory that you will never forget. Our Skeena River Tour is scheduled for August 1-6, 2017.
The jet boat is one of the most versatile modes for transporting guests into remote and otherwise inaccessible locations. These boats have alot of horsepower that allows us to carry 5 guests per boat and move them up rivers to amazing places with incredible scenery. Most of our tours utilize jet boats for a portion of the trip as we navigate larger rivers like the Skeena and Fraser and then smaller tributaries of the Skeena and rivers off remote ocean inlets. Navigating up and down rivers provides an exhilarating experience as you never know what is around the next corner. They are great for photography as they can be stopped quickly and held in place to allow guests to get that shot of a lifetime.