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Aug 14 - The Amazing Drive to Telegraph Creek

Wow!!

semi-overcast 20 °C

We awoke at Water's Edge Campground to a lovely morning. Our goal for the day is to drive the 112 kilometer Telegraph Creek Road. This gravel road is reported to be one of the most interesting drives in the country. It follows the Stikine River into the wilderness along a route that an intrepid businessman had tried to string a telegraph line through to Siberia, and hence on to Europe. When the first trans-Atlantic cable was completed in the 1860's this route was abandoned. Later the Hudson Bay Company put in a trading post, and ultimately, a telegraph line to the Yukon was punched through from here in 1900, after the Yukon gold rush was underway.

It lived up to its reputation completely.

The first 80 kilometers were so-so, a gravel road in prime summer condition. Smooth, like concrete almost. We made good time, covering this stretch in less than an hour. I love the challenge of driving, so this road was an enjoyable drive for me, and I kept us close to 90 kph most of the way, through curves and light hills. The Honda Pilot is much more nimble on this type of road than I would have thought.

From 80 kilometers in, the road changes, dramatically. Here is a shot of our GPS, showing the twists and turns ahead.

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At the bottom of this switchback was a one lane bridge over the Tula River.

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10 kilometers farther on the road crosses a lava promontory, about 100 feet wide and 400+ feet above the river valleys below. Two separate rivers meet at the end of this promontory, down a very steep, 1 1/2 lane road along the edge of a cliff. Not for the faint of heart!

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You would think the excitement was over at this point, but there is still 25 kilometers to go to the end of the road, this time up an 8 kilometer long piece of road perched on the edge of a cliff. In some spots they carved off a ledge from the rock outcroppings to fit the road around. Amazing...up to 700 foot almost vertical drop to the valley below. Driving this was one of the highlights of my retired life.

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This second half of the road, only about 30 kilometers took an hour to drive. The steepness of some of the stretches was amazing, in some places it was a 30% grade, where highway grades rarely exceed 10%

There are several outfitters along the road that take hunters and campers on horseback into the wilderness. Much of the year their horse are allowed to run free and it is not unusual to see them along the road. At this time of year, the horses are all rounded up and being used for their primary purpose.

At the end of the road is Telegraph Creek, now mainly a first nations town. The old townsite, which once was home to several hundred people is slowing melting into the landscape.

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The trip back out was almost as exciting. Seeing it all from the opposite direction brought home the beauty of this place. If you are in the Cassiar, and you want to see something unique, this is the road. If it is wet and rainy, it would be extremely difficult, but dry, like it was for us, it was simply amazing.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 11:20 Archived in Canada Tagged telegraph_creek_road

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