Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Williston's wilds

There's something spooky about Mackenzie.  Not the town proper, a purpose-built forestry community so much, but the now flooded valley that waxes and wanes under the guise of a reservoir throughout the year.

Created in 1968 by the impoundment of the Peace River in the Peace Canyon near Hudson’s Hope, British Columbia, for the purpose of hydroelectric generation, this fresh (fresh in the most generous of terms) water scar dominates the landscape.

An eeriness as prevalent as the oft low lying clouds lingers in the valley.  Flooded ghosts are everywhere and an unnerving sense of their presence is everywhere.  Combined with soured relations with the first nations, it's uncomfortable, but remarkably not unpleasant, working up there.

"Up there" was truly that this previous shift.  On the same latitude as Pink Mountain, but just over the range, more than 1000 liters of fuel, three flat tires and 1.5 days of driving hauling trailers eventually delivered us back to Chetwynd after a cruisy handful of days hanging ribbons for the manual brushers.

Highlights included seeing two lynxs on back-to-back days, marveling at the volume of water coming into the reservoir from various arms and savouring the numerous flowering plants.

                                 Smilacina racemosa                                       Corallorhiza trifida

Strawberry fields forever

Shaun found beach access!

Looking down the valley on our last block

Pine making their babies

Moose dipping

Only 140 km to our campsite for the night on shitty, potholed roads

One of Williston's contributors

 Shaun: Let's hire this barge so we don't have to do that horrific drive again!

One of the reservoir's scenic spots

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