What you're Missing: a Guide to Side Trips off the Cassiar

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Crooked Creek, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. 2Trider

    2Trider Been here awhile

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    "Once we got on the highway, the tables were turned and now we were waiting on the other two."

    Hey I was not speeding....a steady 100kph ... plus road side fuel stop. If you wanted me to go faster I could've hauled out the KTM:D....and go bye bye :rofl


    Amazes me more "Adventure" riders don't do the Mitten to the Helen or Kispiox FSR roads....so so so much nicer than pounding out all that slab
    #41
  2. 2Trider

    2Trider Been here awhile

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    The bike makes you look small....er:evil

    :D
    #42
  3. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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    2Trider and I can make anyone look fluffy in comparison.

    Well that fuel stop must have taken 20 minutes, cause I wasn't speeding. Much. I just don't slow down for the corners :D.
    #43
  4. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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    <iframe marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Cranberry+Junction,+BC,+Canada&daddr=Tatogga,+BC,+Canada&hl=en&geocode=FT1gUAMdAqdW-ClneKANm-4KVDFnov8VctDWJg%3BFR_0cAMdWZ5A-Cl3WpokpY_3UzF3Dis5AsczAA&mra=ls&sll=55.166667,-117.866667&sspn=0.025101,0.084543&ie=UTF8&ll=56.926993,-128.858643&spn=2.878164,7.03125&z=7&output=embed" frameborder="0" height="480" scrolling="no" width="640"></iframe>
    <small>View Larger Map</small>

    It's only about 80km from where the Mitten FSR pops out at the Cassiar Highway to Meziadin Junction. And from there only another 66.4 km to Hyder. In any other circumstances, I would have ran out to the Salmon Glacier, but Swinada and I were committed to tackling the rail bed and we wanted to make it to my campsite (from last year) on the Little Klappan River by nightfall.

    [​IMG]


    So once our slow friends ( :rofl) arrived, we thanked them again and bid them adieu. 2Trider and Warren did make the trek out the the glacier and were kind enough to record what we missed.

    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/EvBczkJU8hs" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" width="560"></iframe>


    Just 2km from Bell II, Swinada ran out of fuel, confirming the WR250R as the fuel range champion. But we hadn't fueled up since Smithers, so considering its load and the pace I was setting, the KLR's performance what nothing to scoff about. And it was good to have an idea of our range before the Spatsizi.

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    One of my favorite things about riding in northern BC is the steel grate bridges. Lots of fun on knobbies :lol3.

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    Actually I don't really mind them. If it's not raining, I find that the faster you hit them the better. Don't fight it; just stay loose and let the front end follow the grooves.

    While waiting for Swinada here at Bell II, I took some pics of this bluebird picking up a load.

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    Saw the first moose of the trip here.

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    Can't see it? Try 12x zoom.

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    With a little digital zoom (bringing it to 48x), you can see that there are actually two.

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    We didn't waste any time, though, and pretty soon we were in Tatogga Lake, filling up our jerry cans.
    #44
  5. 2Trider

    2Trider Been here awhile

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    A video recap.
    Up to the 1:32 mark is the run out the Mitten from Hazelton then the rest is a condensed version of Stewart and Hyder


    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/buzQp4k7tv0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" width="560"></iframe>
    #45
  6. Deadly99

    Deadly99 Fast and Far

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    :lurk
    #46
  7. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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    Nice :clap. I was wondering if you recorded anything on that section. Thanks for sharing.
    #47
  8. Jettn Jim

    Jettn Jim This is Liv'n!!!

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    NE PA Some... PNW Some... On HIGH ADVENTURE Most!
    :1drink In fuuur suuure!
    #48
  9. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    Fantastic stuff! :*sip* (more tea :D)
    #49
  10. RiderJones

    RiderJones sketchy

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    ...moose, helicopters , motorcycles... cool, I'm in!

    :clap
    #50
  11. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

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    right here on my thermarest
    Great story. :lurk
    #51
  12. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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

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    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.

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    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.

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    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:

    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.

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

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

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

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

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

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    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.

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    Eating clover, not campers.
    #52
  13. Gale B.T.

    Gale B.T. Long timer

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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!:lol3

    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
    #53
  14. yellowknife

    yellowknife Is In Canada

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    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. :clap
    #54
  15. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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    I think 2Trider is following the thread, so he should get your message. I'm not sure how old he is :rofl, 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.

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    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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    #55
  16. hardwaregrrl

    hardwaregrrl ignore list

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    Looking good....

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    #56
  17. 2Trider

    2Trider Been here awhile

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    thanks Gale
    45 years young and still whipper snippin:evil

    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:clap
    #57
  18. Gale B.T.

    Gale B.T. Long timer

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    Hopefully this RR and our videos will encourage ADV'ers to explore more off the slab up here:clap

    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:D
    great videos

    gale here is one of mine;http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=572583
    #58
  19. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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    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.

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    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 :D.

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

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    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.)

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    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.)

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

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    Sure beats swimming.

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

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    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.)

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

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    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.

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

    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 :clap.

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

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    Even the little creeks were real high.

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

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    #59
  20. aquadog

    aquadog Dude Buddha

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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...:D Excellent ride report, CC.
    #60