Friday, July 3, 2009

Yukon Trip 2009 - Day 4 - Seeley Lake P.P.

May 26th we were up early and on the road by 7:30 am, continuing to head west. We'd only gone a few kilometers when I spotted a Moose trotting across a field.....wasn't prepared with a camera, besides it was dark and over cast and a photo probably wouldn't have turned out anyway. Stopped for fuel in the town of Fraser Lake and then continued on. A bit further along saw what would be the first Black Bear of the picture.

By 10:30 we were dying for a cup of coffee so pulled into a rest area outside of Topley......Ernie had his first lesson of the trip - no more gas stations selling fancy coffee's around every corner...from here on in, if you want coffee, you stop and make it! The above photo was taken at the rest area. A pretty spot. There were cows in the fields behind the little lake, which kept Shantz entertained......

We were rather amused by the above sign which was also at the same rest area. I guess there are more of these signs around, but this was the first (and only) one we saw, although we did actually see people using these methods so it must be fairly common knowledge - maybe it is a 'north' thing.

We were now in 'new' territory as Burns Lake was as far as we had been on previous trips (I'd been further but so long ago it really didn't count)

Another rest break further along......took the picture just to show the change in terrain.

Yet another rest can just make out snow capped mountains off in the distance as we were leaving the interior plateau and heading into more mountainous country. Note too that the vegetation is much more advanced as far as leafing out goes, as we came down off of the plateau to lower elevations.
Stopped in Smithers for a 'fast food' lunch as we figured that would likely be the last 'fast food' we'd encounter for a while.

This is Moricetown, apparently the oldest settlement in the province and that is the Bulkley River. Aboriginal people still use this narrow spot to net salmon and there is an interpretive centre located here, although it wasn't open this early in the season.

I did a 180 from the spot where I took the 1st picture, to get this shot of the Bulkley can see it is pretty high and muddy from snow melt runoff. Those snow capped mountains are back around the town of Smithers.
Finally, after about 6 hours of driving, we were reaching Kitwanga which is where highway 37 (The Stewart Cassier) heads northwards to the Yukon. Wanting to start fresh on that route in the morning, we pulled into, what turned out to be, a delightful little campground - Seeley Lake Provincial Park.

This was a small campground with not too many sites, sandwiched between the highway and a long, narrow lake - obviously 'Seeley' Lake. This would be a great lake to explore with a canoe or kayak!

One of the very clean, well maintained campsites. We were set up a couple over from this site...all were very close to, but not quite right on, the lake itself. There was a bit of a trail system, a picnic area and a viewing platform......

This Song Sparrow was always found just beneath the viewing platform. Obviously a pair had set up house keeping in the area. Red-wing Blackbirds were scattered throughout the rushes as well and the shrubs in the riparian area were absolutely alive with Wilson's Warblers, Orange Crowned Warblers and Ruby-crowned Kinglets.

There was a Bald Eagle nest in this tree, situated just across the lake from the viewing platform. You can just make out the two white heads within the circle I drew on the photo. Common Loon were on the lake as were literally hundreds of swallows...Northern Rough Wing, Violet Green, Tree and Cliff. In an area of the campsite with more coniferous trees I spotted my second 'Lifer' - Blackpoll Warbler (alas, no picture). Yellow-rump Warblers were there besides.

Lots of wildflowers encountered, including these Early Blue Violets......

Heart-leafed Arnica.......

This tiny little thing that has to be some sort of Anemone - those are my fingers holding back the leaf so you can see the flower, and for a size comparison......

Red Columbines.........

and more of those blue Jacob's Ladders!

I loved the message given by this sign which was situated in the parking lot for the picnic area! Very apt!

an evening shower resulted in this rainbow.....which Ernie managed to capture while he and Shantz were having their evening walk.
Campground fee: $15 Total distance traveled to date: 1,121 km.

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