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Old 08-09-2011, 08:50 AM   #46
Deadly99
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Old 08-09-2011, 01:14 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Trider View Post
A video recap.
Nice . I was wondering if you recorded anything on that section. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:42 PM   #48
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Old 08-09-2011, 07:20 PM   #49
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Fantastic stuff! (more tea )
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:29 PM   #50
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:40 PM   #51
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Great story.
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Old 08-10-2011, 01:04 AM   #52
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Eek Tatogga Lake to Little Klappan River - 113km

At the Tatogga Lake Lodge, we tried to get some intel re: condition of the rail bed. No dice.




So without further ado, we continued north to the Ealue Lake access road. Actually, we passed right by the first time as it looked a lot different than even a year ago.




Last summer, there was a piece of plywood leaned against a tree with "Sacred Headwaters" spray painted on it. But not this year. The turn off kinda looks like a gravel pit, but with a building like this. There we found a few Tahltan gentleman, but unfortunately all were in various states of inebriation and none had been past Mt. Klappan on the rail grade.




This Sacred Headwaters thing is kind of a big deal here. It's a long (and complicated) story, but here's the gist from Wikipedia:

Quote:
The Sacred Headwaters is the name given to a subalpine basin in northern British Columbia that is the source of three wild salmon rivers: the Skeena River, Nass River and Stikine River. It is also referred to as the Klappan Valley, although the Klappan—a tributary of the Stikine River—is only one of the area's watersheds. Local Tahltan people call the area "Klabona", which is loosely translated as "headwaters."
The area has a significant population of grizzly bears, stone sheep and caribou wolves and goats.[1] Salmon swim over 400 kilometres from the Pacific Ocean to spawn in the upper reaches of the river.

The Sacred Headwaters is rich in mineral and energy resources, particularly coal and coalbed methane. Several industrial development projects are planned for the area, including Fortune Minerals' open-pit Klappan Coal mine [2] and Royal Dutch Shell's Klappan Coalbed Methane Project.[3] Shell Canada's website reports to be conducting several environmental baseline studies being carried out within the Klappan tenure area.[4]. The British Columbia Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources estimates the Klappan coal deposit could contain as much as 8.1 trillion cubic feet (230 km3) of coalbed methane gas.[5]

The Klappan Coalbed Methane Project is a proposal by Shell Canada to develop a coalbed methane methane project in the area known as the Sacred Headwaters. In 2004, the British Columbia government granted Royal Dutch Shell (which is now a parent company of Shell Canada) a 400,000 hectare (4,000 km2) tenure for coalbed methane development. It is accessed by road via the abandoned BC Rail grade, which intersects British Columbia Highway 37 south of Iskut. As of Summer 2008, Shell's project is in the exploration phase. Shell drilled three exploratory wells in 2004 and is preparing to drill an additional 14 wells in 2008, 8 of which are proposed for the headwaters of the Skeena River. If developed, shell's project will entail a network of gas wells connected by roads and pipelines, as well as a pipeline to deliver the gas to market. Shell has disclosed neither how many wells will be necessary to make the project economically viable nor route options for the delivery pipeline. The Klappan Coalbed Methane Project has been met with opposition by both First Nations groups and Non-governmental organizations. The Pembina Institute, an environmentalist think-tank, released a report on the potential impacts of the Klappan Coalbed Methane Project methane project on wild salmon, calling it a "risky experiment" as commercial coalbed methane production has never been attempted in a salmon-bearing watershed[6]
For more info on the conflict re: the Coalbed Methane project, click here.

Wade Davis has written several articles and a book about the subject due out in October.

www.sacredheadwaters.com
has some great pics of the area.






As recent as this fall, road blockades were in place here, and even on the main Telegraph Creek road:




But we weren't there for politics, we were there to ride, so we said goodbye to our native friends and hit the road.






The Ealue Lake Road was superb, lined with brilliant fireweed for miles.








Even if you are too chicken to ride the rail bed, the short jaunt to Ealue Lake is worth your time.




The gravel is twisty with lots of great views. Oh, and it's full of bears.



And by "full", I mean there was 12-15 bears in the 22km before we hit the rail bed. Big ones, small ones, black ones, brown ones. Pretty much a bear a minute. Maybe it's because the WR250R is so fast and quiet, or maybe it's because it's been so wet this year, but I saw a ridiculous amount of bears on my trip this year, probably 90-100 in four days. No joke.

Despite all the worrying about getting attacked, the primary danger from bears in Northern BC is collision, not consumption. I came within 6 feet of hitting 3 different bears on this trip (two if them Grizzlies: one on the Golden Bear and one the Telegraph Creek Road.) And if you don't hit an actual bear, their turd mines will take you out on the corners if you're not careful.

Anyways, this one was interesting because it looked like a young Griz when I first rode by, but the head and front said it's a black.



Eating clover, not campers.
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:44 AM   #53
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Great RR Ben, you and your bunch are allowing me to see places I had only heard about while teaching Valemount.

Let 2Trider know that his video from Hazelton to Hyder was super , I almost choked on my coffe when he turned his head totally backwards against that rock face. Must be a young whippersnapper , my neck could never turn that far that fast to the rear!

Looking forward to more, that Squonker in Victoria and Gunnerbuck up island also sure bring back many memories of places I had wished to ride while still in BC.

keep it coming, gale

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Old 08-10-2011, 12:35 PM   #54
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Looks like one to me

Quote:


Anyways, this one was interesting because it looked like a young Griz when I first rode by, but the head and front said it's a black.

Eating clover, not campers.
That looks like a hump on his back. Either way that is a lot of bears to see in such a small stretch of riding. Nice pics and great RR as always.
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:58 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gale B.T. View Post
Let 2Trider know that his video from Hazelton to Hyder was super , I almost choked on my coffe when he turned his head totally backwards against that rock face. Must be a young whippersnapper , my neck could never turn that far that fast to the rear!
I think 2Trider is following the thread, so he should get your message. I'm not sure how old he is , but I remember him looking backwards while driving forwards a few times on our ride. Probably because he was riding with his mirrors folded in.




Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowknife View Post
That looks like a hump on his back.
Yeah, that's the first thing I noticed too. But unless he's a hybrid, the ears, lack of forehead crease, and white patches give it away. Compare to this one from later on in the trip (also eating clover.) Interesting bear either way and glad he stuck around for pics.

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Old 08-10-2011, 06:15 PM   #56
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Looking good....

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Old 08-10-2011, 07:29 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gale B.T. View Post
Great RR Ben, you and your bunch are allowing me to see places I had only heard about while teaching Valemount.

Let 2Trider know that his video from Hazelton to Hyder was super , I almost choked on my coffe when he turned his head totally backwards against that rock face. Must be a young whippersnapper , my neck could never turn that far that fast to the rear!

Looking forward to more, that Squonker in Victoria and Gunnerbuck up island also sure bring back many memories of places I had wished to ride while still in BC.

keep it coming, gale
thanks Gale
45 years young and still whipper snippin

The video was filmed by me and then edited by bchunter...for more wet your appetite footage of the north check my channel http://www.youtube.com/user/bkrgi?feature=mhee and bchunter300 channel for the more refined edits

Hopefully this RR and our videos will encourage ADV'ers to explore more off the slab up here
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Old 08-10-2011, 07:55 PM   #58
Gale B.T.
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Hopefully this RR and our videos will encourage ADV'ers to explore more off the slab up here

I hope so , I was just through there on the RT after a ride up island ,Timmies coffee with Gunnerbuck and then on to Haida Gwaii,back through PG to Tete Jaune Cache.

Gonna have to ride the 640 ADV R next time and see if I can keep you young bucks in sight
great videos

gale here is one of mine;http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=572583
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:14 PM   #59
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Wicked Tatogga Lake to Little Klappan River - 113km (for real this time.)

As I was trying to prepare this next section of the RR, I hit this next picture and I realized that I have made a mistake and gotten ahead of myself with my last post. Probably should have been sleeping last night at 2am instead of catering to you FF's (fine folks.) Good thing, I'm not writing the report 6 months after the fact like last time.

Those last five pics were actually from the Cassiar highway between Bell II and Tatogga. (I had inserted the ones of the lodge and lake from last year's pics, as I remembered not taking any this time.) The terrain is very similar to the Ealue Lake road and the first part of the rail bed and the gravel shoulders threw me off. I could have edited the previous post and swept it all under the rug, but either my sense of integrity arrested me or I was just too lazy to redo the post. You can decide.

Either way, here's a few more from the last section of the slab.



Looks a lot like the rail bed, doesn't it?


This one was taken on the fly (not of the fly), and was supposed to feature the scenery behind me, but my arm wasn't long enough .






NOW, we are in Tatogga Lake. Here's the map that hangs on the door of the lodge:



On the Ealue Lake road, we ran into an American couple who just been checking out the rail bed. They had only been in 46km, but had seen lots of bears too, and a cougar (walking down the road towards then.)




That fireweed is horrible for my allergies, but it sure is pretty. (FYI, This is the picture that messed me up last night. I remembered taking it and thought the one a few back off the Cassiar was this one.)




This was one of the biggest black bears I saw that day, but he was camera shy.




Saw lots of the these guys (ruffed grouse) as well. I was tempted a few times to "accidentally" hit one with the bike and add it to the pot, but I kept remembering when I hit a raven with my shoulder at speed (and how that felt), so I would always dodge at the last minute.




In short order (and without hitting a bear) we were at the Klappan River.




This is the bridge that was out when Swinada was last here, 18 years ago. By now, looking at how high the Klappan was it was pretty clear that the river crossings we had planned for the next day were not going to be easy.




Sure beats swimming.




Pretty soon we were at the rail bed. This sign was new.




Before we even started down the rail bed, I confirmed there were bears there as well. I took this one while riding (as I do with most of my roadside wildlife shots, because the critters tend to take off as soon as you stop.)




Here's the rail bed going north, which we would later explore.




But for now we were making some miles, as we wanted to set up camp before dark. There are lots of mice little wooded bridges on the rail grade. I think this one is at McEwan Creek.






Oh, I guess I should explain why there is a rail bed here in the first place. Once again, Wikipedia is your friend.

Quote:
In the 1960s, a new line had been projected to run northwest from Fort St. James to Dease Lake, 412 miles (663 km) away. On October 15, 1973, the first 125 miles (201 km) of the extension to Lovell were opened. The cost of the line was significantly greater than what was estimated, however. Contractors working on the remainder of the line alleged that the railway had misled them regarding the amount of work required so that it could obtain low bids, and took the railway to court.
The Dease Lake line was starting to appear increasingly uneconomical. There was a world decline in the demand for asbestos and copper, two main commodities that would be hauled over the line. As well, the Cassiar Highway that already served Dease Lake had recently been upgraded. Combined with the increasing construction costs, the Dease Lake line could no longer be justified. Construction stopped on April 5, 1977. Track had been laid to Jackson, 263 miles (423 km) past Fort St. James, and clearing and grading were in progress on the rest of the extension. It had cost $168 million to that point, well over twice the initial estimate. The trackbed can be seen on Google Earth all the way to Dease Lake, via the small towns of Leo Creek and Takla Landing.
The management and operation of the railway had been called into question, and on February 7, 1977, the provincial government appointed a Royal Commission, the McKenzie Royal Commission, to investigate the railway. Its recommendations were released on August 25, 1978. It recommended that construction not continue on the 149 miles (239 km) of roadbed between Dease Lake and the current end of track, and that trains be terminated at Driftwood, 20 miles (33 km) past Lovell. The rest of the track would be left in place but not used. In 1983, after logging operations ceased at Driftwood and traffic declined sharply, the Dease Lake line was closed. However, it was reopened in 1991 and, as of 2005, extends to a point called Minaret, British Columbia, still over 175 miles (281 km) south of Dease Lake.
The only section of rail bed north of Minaret that has been maintained is the 102 km from the Ealue Lake road to the Didine Portage. I'm glad it is, because I'll going to be launching a canoe from there in a couple weeks .

Beautiful country though. Early on you pass though this recent burn.








Even the little creeks were real high.




You can see where the rail bridge was slated to go in.



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Crooked Creek screwed with this post 08-10-2011 at 11:20 PM
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Old 08-11-2011, 09:05 AM   #60
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[QUOTE

Yeah, that's the first thing I noticed too. But unless he's a hybrid, the ears, lack of forehead crease, and white patches give it away. Compare to this one from later on in the trip (also eating clover.) Interesting bear either way and glad he stuck around for pics.

/QUOTE]


I'm with black bear for this. The look of a hump is how he was standing with a shoulder high. His/her head looks pretty big, so it's probably a fairly young bear - the head grows up first, then the body catches up. A big bear will look like it has a small head. In my case, it's just too much weight everywhere BUT the head... Excellent ride report, CC.
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