Friday, September 20, 2013

Anchorage To Seattle Day 5: Hazelton to Lac La Hache

Day 4 got us from the northern end of the Cassiar Highway all the way down to where it connected to the Yellowhead Highway (37).   This is what it looked like Thursday morning.

We'd begun at the Seeley Lake campground which was a lovely spot with nice campsites, but right up against the highway with lots of trucks going by all night.

Seeley Lake

I put up a picture of the Skeena Bakery, a few miles from the campground, at the end of yesterday's post.

Once off the Cassiar, we're out of the wilder country and coming into more civilized territory.  There are still lots of trees, but the forest areas are broken up by lots of small towns and farmland.  We saw lots of timber trucks and here and there stacks of dead trees.

It's hard driving and taking pictures so this isn't too representative of the land we passed through.  We stopped for lunch at Burns Lake.

Burns Lake

Reading the local paper in the New Leaf Cafe, we saw that there's lots of local opposition to the Enbridge pipeline that would take oil to the British Columbia coast.  

Trips like these run well with audio books.  We'd listened to Eowyn Ivey's The Snow Child out of Alaska and into the Yukon and Cassiar.  I hate to be churlish - anyone who actually writes a whole novel has my admiration.  And an Alaskan first novelist who wins international awards is something I want to support.  But I felt somewhat like this commenter at the Guardian:

"The descriptions of landscape are good.
I liked the way the women in the book were described which was not stereotypical.
But the actual story became boring because it was so obvious what was going to happen at each stage. Also the interpretation that wove myth and reality was often clumsy. Needed more hard thought how to make it work. It was a good concept but the author needed a bit of help and editing support."
The blending of supernatural and real is tricky.  And as the next book began - Walter Mosley's The Gift of Fire - I thought I had an example of an experienced writer doing this much better.  And that was true at first.  He didn't fuss trying to explain things - he had confidence that the reader would figure it out.  And it's much, much shorter.  But it too seemed to struggle to hold together what it started.  Both books though had lots of good insights into human beings and how they tick.  And a number of reviewers had much more positive things to say.  For many Alaska was an exotic setting.  For me it was home, though nearly a century ago and in harder times.

I realized yesterday that many readers have no idea where the places I've been writing about on this trip are.  The map below started in The Milepost and I've added white stars to mark Day 4 and bluish ones for Day 5.  Day 4 began about 60 miles south of the junction between the Alaskan Highway (also known as the Alcan) and the Cassiar Highway. Day 5 has us rejoining the red line from the Alcan at Prince George.

I saved it pretty big and if you click on it, you can see it a little better.

We were trying to make it to Lac La Hache to have dinner at the Edelweis restaurant which I've written about in a previous trip.  But when we pulled up at 7:30pm, the closed sign was already up.  But we did have this great sky to console us.  And a full moon came up a little later.  And it felt much warmer than it had been.   

We made it to Seattle this evening and I'll do more on today's trip later.

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