Out and About In and Near Prince George

Prince George, located at the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako rivers, is called BC’s Northern Capital. It is a beacon of civilization in a vast and empty land of black spruce and open blue sky set against snow-capped mountains. Prince George’s primary industry is lumber, followed closely by tourism.

Yesterday had me move from the Bee Lazy Park to my friend’s place of work (10km north of the RV park) where I parked Miranda for the day while I went exploring for a few hours.

There wasn’t much ‘touristy’ stuff that interested me. The town is renown for its railroad museum, but I was feeling very ‘meh’ about that, so the only museum I did yesterday was The Exploration Place. This small museum is a hodgepodge of mostly hands on exhibits. It didn’t take long to tour, but is still worth a visit. I paid for the ‘deluxe’ entrance that included a simulator ride. Having ridden one in Las Vegas that had me racing down the Strip in an Enterprise shuttle with Klingons firing full phasers at us and another that had me assimilated by the Borg (I’m Geek!Girl and proud of it! πŸ˜€ ), I didn’t have very high expectations for a small town, small museum sim ride, so I was very pleasantly surprised by the fun, ten minute ‘under water’ ride.

stained glass windows at The Exploration Place

stained glass windows at The Exploration Place (blurry because of no flash)

I turned from the stained glass to find these guys! Yes, I jumped!

I turned from the stained glass to find these guys! Yes, I jumped!

I then stopped to watch a movie that was straight out of my childhood. I’m fairly confident that it was my first viewing of it that gave me the bug for the north:



There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Nechako River

Nechako River

I spent most of the afternoon at home (in a parking lot; love this life!) watching a movie before following him out to his spread, about 25km from town. It was a rather dizzying drive here (so much so that I asked for help back to civilization this morning!), but it was so worth it! I was especially grateful for the offer of cold beer once I was squared away. πŸ™‚

Today, I decided that some hiking was in order, so I set off along the desolate Yellowhead highway, heading east back towards Edmonton, to visit the only inland rainforest in the world.

The views were, well:

Yellowhead Highway heading east towards McBride

Yellowhead Highway heading east towards McBride

Unfortunately, the trip was for naught; I should have brought my snowshoes!


The trip wasn’t a waste, though. The drive really gave me a taste of what I’m going to encounter soon enough; endless stretches of monotonous solitude broken by fantastic scenery.

One final thing to say: it’s only May and I’m only in Prince George, so I know that I need to make some serious window covering preparations for the 21 hours of daylight that the Yukon gets in June. It felt like high noon at 6PM tonight and things are only going to get worse! Or better, I suppose, if you can sleep when it’s bright daylight out… πŸ™‚

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  • We moved to Terrace in the 70’s with a four year old and it was the first time he had been exposed to the late night sunlight. He was outside playing in the back yard at about 10:30 PM when we told him it was bedtime. “But dad, it’s still light out”!

    You will soon get used to sleeping in the “daylight”. Until then, a pillow over the head does wonders! Or maybe a sleep mask would look better on you…

    The North of BC is some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen. The problem is the Black Flies which you will soon be introduced to. Oh yes, and the Horse Fly, the “other” official bird of BC>

  • Another thing that “Life Under The Midnight Sun” does is throw off your internal clock. You are working on the computer and suddenly realize it is three in the morning and still not dark. Or you wake up, get up and are making breakfast when you realize it is four AM.

    You tend to use your watch a lot more up there! You are in for the adventure of a lifetime. I envy you.

  • The furthest north I’ve ever been in summer is Scotland. I remember hiking around in the Edinburgh area in almost broad daylight at 11:30PM!

    My sister and cousin told me that sleep deprivation is part of the fun and that a lot of young’uns end up working two jobs since they can’t sleep anyway, and end up making a lot of money in very short order. I hope that’ll still be true this summer in this economy.

    As for the bugs, people always try to scare me and, yet, I never find the bugs as bad as some people say they are. I’m used to black and dear flies and the lovely way they have of taking chunks out of your skin. πŸ™‚

  • Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
    Why he left his home in the South to roam β€˜round the Pole, God only knows.
    He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
    Though he’d often say in his homely way that β€œhe’d sooner live in hell.”

  • On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way
    Over the Dawson trail.
    Talk of your cold! through the parka’s fold
    It stabbed like a driven nail.
    If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze
    Till sometimes we couldn’t see;
    It wasn’t much fun, but the only one
    To whimper was Sam McGee.


  • And that very night while we lay packed tight
    In our robes beneath the snow,
    And the dogs were fed, and the stars o’er head
    Were dancing heel and toe,
    He turns to me, and “Cap” says he
    “I’ll cash in this trip, I guess.
    And if I do, I’m asking that you
    Won’t refuse my last request.”

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