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Published: September 1st 2009
More perfect weather! Sunny all day with highs in the mid-70’s. I’m in Miata heaven!
Left Smithers this morning and decided to stop again at the Moricetown Canyon where the native Indians fish with nets in the raging rapids (see yesterday’s blog). This visit was even more interesting than yesterday and I ended up staying for nearly two hours. There was only a single Indian fishing; a large, middle-aged man who immediately came up to me and introduced himself and shook my hand. He was very friendly and said that he’d lived there (and fished there) all his life. He always fishes early in the morning because he has the whole place to himself. He told me that it’s illegal for them to sell the fish they catch but they do it anyway. He estimated that more than 200 fish are sold illegally every day. Then he asked if I’d like to stand in the spot where he fishes (next to the rapids) and take a look at the fish below. I said yes, so he put a safety rope around me and let me hang over the edge and watch the fish. Pretty cool!
Just downstream from the
rapids (maybe 100 yards) is a large log jam that nearly blocks the entire channel. The rapids mainly go through and under the log jam. The dam formed by the logs and branches and other debris was about 50 feet tall and 50 feet wide (the full width of the channel). After visiting the Indian fisherman, I was taking more pictures in the area and noticed that a small fire had started at the very top of the debris dam. Shortly after that a couple of fire trucks showed up but they weren’t in any hurry to put out the fire. It appeared to be an intentional, controlled burn. Many more natives showed up at the site and I asked a couple of them if they routinely had to burn out the log jams when they got that big. The first Indian to respond said that they do this all the time so that the salmon are pre-cooked when they pull them out of the water (smart ass!). The next Indian (the truthful one) said that flood waters in recent years contributed to the buildup of the dam and that it became obvious that it was only getting bigger and
they needed to burn it. The Indian said that this was the first time in his lifetime that a debris dam got this big and they had never done a burn like this. Anyway, the bonfire was really cool and the firemen were there to make sure that a nearby wood bridge didn’t get torched. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the Indians there and I was lucky enough to be there at just the right moment!
The drive from Smithers to Prince Rupert was gorgeous; kind of like the Columbia River gorge on steroids; wide rivers and tall mountains in every direction with the highway hugging the river for about 50 miles. Stopped at a beautiful rest area (they’re ALL beautiful rest areas here!) and had my lunch which included a sandwich I bought in Smithers made with Chewbacca bread (Sereda knows about this stuff).
Saw my first Mountie today; the first one in five days.
Arrived at Prince Rupert where I’ll catch the ferry to Alaska tomorrow. Had dinner at a restaurant overlooking the harbor. My lodging is interesting; it’s an old bank building in the small downtown district that has been converted to a
coffee shop downstairs and a bed-and-breakfast upstairs with three rooms. They apparently don’t have many bugs in Prince Rupert. The window in my room was wide open (no screen) when I arrived and I’ve kept it open all evening and I haven’t seen a single critter. Amazing!
They may not have Internet access on the ferry (I’d be surprised if they did), so it might be a few days before I’m able to update my blog.
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