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on the cassiar highway

Before I leave Kinaskan Lake, I ask the fisherman camped at the next site for some line. I bought a couple of lures in Dease Lake inspired by my tantalising near success at Cottonwood River, which was a fishing experience inspiring and frustrating in equal measure. I want to repeat my the attempt to catch a fish with a happier outcome.

The fisherman has thawed somewhat since last night’s somewhat frosty exchange of greetings and is happy to oblige. He selects what he considers to be the appropriate weight line from his extensive collection and winds it onto a stick for me. His German wire-haired pointer is underfoot attempting to mount the small black dog, that belongs to the hunting outfitters and hangs around the campsite, with great persistence but little success.

Later, when I am putting the last of my things on my bike, the man’s wife approaches with a small bundle. Would I like a fish? The object in her hand is a small, cleaned frozen trout. A fish is not the most practical thing to transport on a bicycle in a pannier in grizzly country but my passion for eating it overcomes any logistical misgivings. Yes, please! I wrap the fish in a bag and then in another zip lock bag and hope that I don’t end up with a fishy pannier.

The day passes happily, cycling and picking berries and in the afternoon I find a nice place next to Bob Quinn Lake to cook my trout. The area is surrounded by thimble-berries, my latest berry discovery. The place is a flat grassy area flooded by evening sun and I toy with the idea of camping there for the night but decide that it is not such a bad idea to put a few miles between my and any fish cooking smells generated by my dinner.

Thimble berries are even sexier than raspberries.

Thimbleberries are even sexier than raspberries.

I cycle onwards and end up, at nightfall, in a dank mosquito infested ditch by the side of the road. Next morning I am up and away with no breakfast but arrive soon enough at Bell 2, a heli-skiing resort. The lodge is pretty quiet at this time of year. I replace my front brake pads and then head for the café for a cinnamon bun and coffee and then head onwards to complete 150 kilometres arriving late and hungry at Meziadin Lake.

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