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prince rupert

I arrive at Prince Rupert, where I am invited to stay at Penny and Ian’s house, late on Monday morning. Penny and Ian are friends of Danusia, who I met in Whitehorse. It is three weeks now since I have set foot inside a house or, more importantly, had a hot shower. Penny welcomes me and we immediately get a load of washing on and I finally manage to wash my hair. It feels good.

Penny goes off to do some tasks while I unpack and sort out all my stuff. She returns and we go into town for a shopping trip to replenish my food stock and get some supplies for dinner, which is more superb red salmon. I need to repair one of my panniers which has holes in it – the work of a crow at Meziadin Lake. Ian assists with advice and materials for the job and finally I go to sleep in a big, warm, soft bed. Wonderful.

I was planning on leaving the following morning but the ferry to Port Hardy leaves at 7 o’clock and I would have to be at the dock by 6 o’clock. I can’t drag myself away from these kind people so fast and so I decide to stay until the next ferry on Thursday.

On a walk in the forest, Penny teaches me the names of some trees: the vegetation has changed significantly over the last section of my trip and is now almost totally unfamiliar to me. Further north it was quite similar to the Czech forest – at least I recognised spruce, larch and birch.

Penny proves knowledgeable and I am introduced now to hemlock, lodge-pole pine, Douglas fir, red cedar, yellow cedar. The berries, too, have further diversified and I learn to recognise red huckleberries, salalberries and bog cranberries. We discuss various other plants but the rest of the information doesn’t stick.

Tangled roots.

Tangled roots of a cedar (I think).

Blue huckleberries.

Blue huckleberries.

Red huckleberries.

Red huckleberries.

Salalberries.

Salalberries.

On Wednesday, Penny and I go on a short sea-kayak expedition. I have been in a kayak before, I know, but I can’t remember when – it was so long ago that all the details of the experience are gone completely. Still, it seems to come relatively naturally to me and soon we are paddling out a channel from Port Edward towards a small island near the mouth of the Skeena River.

Circling the island, we see a family of river otters catching large crabs and small fish.  An otter swims underwater close to my kayak. On the far side of the island, we land on a beach to have something to eat and enjoy the sunshine after a week of wet weather. Prince Rupert is the rainiest town in Canada, apparently, and people here really appreciate the sun when it shines.

Penny preparing the boats.

Penny preparing the boats.

Kayaks are a good way to travel because you get off the road. Food for thought.

Kayaks are a good way to travel because you get off the road. Food for thought.

Me on the water.

Me on the water.

In the morning, I narrowly avert missing the ferry.  Penny wakes me at 5.12, the alarm clock having failed somehow in its duty to wake me at 5.00. I had prepared and packed my things the night before so I manage to get onto my bike and cycle, in the pitch dark, across town to the ferry terminal in time to embark.

{ 2 } Comments

  1. Cass | September 16, 2009 at 2:34 am | Permalink

    Wonderful pics and narrative Anna (including those of the cubs!). I’m riding the Great Divide Ride now, dirt tracks and gravel roads all the way to Mexico. Almost no highway! Keep in touch, and maybe our journeys will coincide further south. I’m also in touch with Dave from the UK, who is in a similar neck of the woods, and heading down the west coast.
    cass

  2. anna | September 18, 2009 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    Dirt tracks and gravel all the way to Mexico sound great! I wish I had been talking to you when I planned my route! Hope we cross paths somewhere and have a great trip.

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