From Jasper we continued to travel west on Highway 16 back to British Columbia and on through McBride, Prince George, Vanderhoof, Burns Lake, Houston and finally to Smithers where we spent the night. It was a long drive but when we reached our destination we knew it had been worthwhile.
Most of the accommodation on our trip had been arranged on-line in the month before our departure and although we had good information about Haida Gwaii, until we got there from Jasper we had to rely on internet research and booking sites.
We certainly lucked out when it came arrangements for Smithers.
The Log Pile Lodge is a Swiss gem, although our first experience was slightly unsettling. After driving up the opposite side of the valley from Hudson Bay Mountain and after parking the car in the gravel driveway near the beautiful log building, I noticed — there’s no delicate way to say it — a large pile of scat. Our hostess Barbara told us she had just shooed a juvenile black bear off the porch when it paused to take a dump on the driveway before lumbering off. This was one of two bears they had seen on the property and so Barbara warned us that if we were walking on the property it might be a good idea to clap our hands loudly and yell out from time to time so there would not be any surprise for either party.
REALLY??!! — (More later)
Anyway… After a few tenuous trips to the car to unload bags, we settled in.
Barbara and Christophe Luther emigrated from Switzerland to Smithers to teach but they were not able to find work, and to our great good fortune they decided to start this wonderful B&B.
After our meal the floor show began. The dog had treed one of the bears just down the hill from the main buildings. I grabbed my camera and a couple of lenses and this is what I saw. (That’ll teach him to crap on the driveway.)
After we tourists harassed the poor bear for about 15 minutes we all walked back to the main buildings and on the way I fell into conversation with Christophe. He apparently was a jack of all trades and his work was to an exacting standard around the buildings.
On the way back for a second cup of coffee I noticed a 17 foot canvas and cedar canoe near his workshop and so we traded canoe stories. Then I saw the half-restored Jenson Healey in the garage. When I commented on it Barbara rolled her eyes and Christophe chuckled that it was a work in process. I knew then why I liked this guy.
Next stop Prince Rupert and then Haida Gwaii.