RubiKon Adventures

Tales and travels of "GrizzLee", "Looksha Lori" & "Yukon Johann"

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

RubiKon Quest 2012: Seattle to WhiteHorse

The plan....  Paddle 500 miles on the Yukon River. This time it would be different. Looksha Lori would go. It would be Looksha Lori and me... no kids... just us this year. It has been a very long time since Lori and I had a trip like this alone. I was to drive and Lori would meet me in WhiteHorse 4 days after I left. 
Well, that was the plan anyways... 
Traveling just outside of Lytton, B.C. Everything is looking good.
Helicopter going down the Thompson River Canyon.

I drove 700 miles on my second day of travel.. not  by choice.
Seattle to Cache Creek was wonderful. I saw Bighorn sheep on the road just before Cache Creek at Spences Bridge. I was able to get some pictures and video.

Looks like this one wasn't so lucky. Cougar I assume.

From Cache Creek north it rained like I have never seen before... all fricken day. At times driving was near impossible as the rain came down faster than my wiopers could clear the windscreen.  I took the cutoff over to Kamloops and headed north on the Yellow Head highway. I arrived in Valemount  and there was a reprieve in the rain, however, the road to Jasper was closed due to flooding. Even worse, the the road north to Prince George was closed due to a mudslide. I was told the mudslide would clear by 10 p.m. that night. Mother nature had other plans. 
The great fakeout. Valemount was beautiful... for 5 minutes. Then all hell broke loose as the gods pissed on us for hours and hours

I found a nice campground by the swift river. As I was setting up it was if a faucet was opened to full... check that... it was like 20 faucets.  A motorcycle rider from Penticten was trying to get dry in the camp cook shelter. We both moved our tents under there… where we spent the night. Next morning, it was drizzly and as I pulled onto the road... it was blocked. Damni it!! The RCMP had shut down the highway and stated that the slide got worse overnight form the severe rain. And the road to Jasper just had a slide. There was no way to go north for at least a day.  My only choice was to head back down to Kamloops and cut back over to 100 mile house… a 350 mile detour. This country is BIG!! 
A quick stop in Williams Lake visitor center.
I guess this is a typical weekend outing for the people in this part of the country.
With gas prices hovering around $6 per gallon, the SUV has been downsized, but not their fun.

Later that night I made it to Smithers. It was raining, but it looked like it might let up.  I spent the night in Tyee Provincial Park where I met Gladys again (the Park Facilitator Operator). She recognized me from our previous trips... she asked about Johann.  Gladys let me set up under the group campsite cook shelter. So I was warm and cozy for the night. I left Smithers in the rain... heavy rain.
My camp at Tyhee Provincial Park... in between rain squalls.

This is Morice Town and the Selwyn River
Looks like the first nations aren't too happy with Enbridge either. Working together we can stop them. Read more here in the article "Oil in Eden". What's at stake is more than a pipeline. What kind of world do you want to live in?
Junction 37... Start of the Cassiar Hwy.
The first rest stop didn't look to promising. Something about outhouses flooding into the river doesn't seem right.

The rivers wer very high and I was to get through the Cassiar hwy to the Yukon w/o any trouble.
Here is some more of what I saw in my 1 day drive up the Cassiar...
In Bell II, where I got gas, I saw this cute couple from Austrailia traveling North America on BMW 1150 motorbikes. They were a hoot to talk to. The rain didn't seem to phase them. They reperated the old saying that there is "no bad weather... only bad clothing". I disagree. Had they rode through what I drove through they would change their tune I'm sure. 

These steel gate bridges are common along the Cassiar. Many still have wood decks and are usually single lane. 

Every now and then I caught a glimpse of some beauty in between the rain.
This picture was interesting. I was rounding a curve and this black bear was sitting in the road. I wanted to stop, but I had a "megaton" logging truck on my heels and stopping was out of the question. With the steering wheel in one hand and the camera in the other, I was able to take a sequence of pictures of this guy scrambling.

Just outside of Iskut is where some fantastic wilderness areas exist. I keep telling myself that someday I'll explore this area more. Mt Edziza park is here, A hidden jewel. Someday
As I approached Kinaskan Provincial Park I see this cute little creature.

As I drove toward him, he decided to play chicken with me and bolted, not into the woods as one would expect, but rather... right in front of my truck.

I assume that since I was at the park entrance, he wanted to race me to the garbage bins and get first pickens. Fine with me :-)

Next stop...the Stikine River.
Under normal conditions, this river is tricky at best. With the flooding, giant logs (old growth forest) were washing down the river and making rather large waves on the shore. Soon after this picture, I had to move rather quickly as a giant snag was coming for me through the high bank brush. CRASH!!!

Mt Edziza park can be seen here. It was at this point I noticed the sagging of the kayaks in the rear of the roof rack.

A close call. The rear rack had slid down the main rack on the canopy and was only held in place by the strap that I had tied around the Yakima rack and the canopy rack.

I cannot stress enough the importance of practising multiple tie down points. The redundnancy saved the boats, the trip and the vacation. One can clearly see the strap holding the enitre system on here. My kayak sitting on the canopy bar. Luckly, no damage. WHEW!!
Later that day on the Cassiar
I stop at Jade City (Looking North)

Jade City (Looking South).
I meet two gentlemen from Switzerland traveling around the world on bicycles. AMAZING!!

Lorenzo (left) and Julian (Right) travel about 50-60 miles a day. Since they were slow (relatively speaking) and in a remote wilderness, they missed all the torrent rainfall. Folks like these are true adventureres. How they do it, from both a financial and physical perspective is beyond me.

My final camp on the Cassiar hwy was at Boya Lake.

Boya  lake is a special place. Always beautiful, peaceful and inviting.

Out side of Teslin, on the way to WhiteHorse, a couple of bears decided to play chicken with the roaring semi trucks. I hit the flashers and pulled over to the side and escorted these bears to safe passage. I'm not sure if they are siblings or a mother and a cub.

I wish them long and happy lives doing what bears do. Please be careful.

Tonight, I pick up Lori at the WhiteHorse Airport. She arrives at 11:30 p.m.. It is 10 p.m. and still very light out side. We will watch the opening ceremony and the start of the Yukon River Quest (the worlds longest annual Canoe and Kayak race). We will then put our boats in shortly soon after. We plan to paddle 2 weeks and nearly 500 miles on the remote Yukon river from WhiteHorse to Dawson City.

Stay tuned for more as the advneture unflods. Read follow along as we begin our Yukon River odyssey in this post:  RubiKon Quest 2012: 10 Minutes From Nowhere - Day 1 on the River

Until Next time...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mt Rainier Day Tour on my BMW R1200 GSA

“Of all the fire mountains which like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific Coast, Mount Rainier is the noblest.” - John Muir

Last weekend, we were fortunate to have one day of warm sun. A perfect day for a spring ride over to the Yakima Valley.

I took the bike over Chinook Pass on Mt Rainier (Hwy 410) and over to Naches and then took Hwy 12 back past Rimrock Lake. Form there I entered Mt Rainier park and rode up Steven's Canyon to Paradise.
Enjoy these panoramic photo teasers.

Entering the park on hwy 410 up to Chinook Pass.

Near the top of Chinook Pass
Tipsoo Lake area.. yep there is a lake in there... somewhere
Gretchen is enjoying the views.
Just on the other side of the Chinook Pass, I stop for lunch and enjoy this view.

Near Naches and the junction for hwy 12. I tried to get some good video of a bald eagle which kept passing within 10 feet or so of me along the river. However, when I got my camera ready, the Eagle refused to cooperate.  
Hwy 12 heading towards Mty Rainier.
She's a beauty.
Front row seats for the show.
Little Tahoma (11,138') is a satellite peak off of Mt Rainier. Look closely.. that looks to be an interesting ice cave forming in the glacier.

Reflection lake. Yep, there is a lake in there as well. Later in the summer, Mt Rainier can be seen reflecting in the snow cover lake in the foreground.

Just before the Paradise parking lot, there are great views of the Nisqually glacier.

Looks like some good hiking here along the edge of the glacier.

The Tatoosh mountains, just south of the Mt Rainier.

Pinnacle Peak and Plummer Peak. I've climbed these years ago. They offer GREAT views of Mt Rainier and the surrounding volcanos on a clear day.  

Another volcano,  Mt Adams (12,281') looming in the distance.

In my younger years, I used to climb this volcano, along with Mt St Helens, every year. It is a great climb and very rewarding.

Summer is almost here.

Until next time....