Nisga & # 39; at Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park, Northwest British Columbia, Canada
(Also known as Anhluut & # 39; ukwsim Laxmihl Angwinga & # 39; asanskwhl Nisga & # 39; a)
Two hundred and fifty years ago, the earth opened in this little known corner of northwestern British Columbia. Molten lava oozed and spit from the pores of the earth, consuming about 2000 people Nisga & # 39; a (pronounced nish-ga). And these days, in a delicately balanced sanctuary for those lost ancestors and a showcase of aboriginal business culture, the Nisga & # 39; A town has created a driverless tour to highlight the epic landscape, educate visitors about its proud aboriginal heritage and create tourist employment for a demographic group often forgotten in Canada.
While the car tour is accessible throughout the year, I recommend that you avoid this as a winter excursion. Late spring is better for flowers and a year's rebirth. Summer is fabulous for the sun. And you can't miss the fall because of the color changes. But winter? It's not my cup of tea.
The easiest place to access this remarkably unique route is from Terrace, British Columbia, the regional center of the besieged economic zone located just 2 hours north of Vancouver by either of the two scheduled airlines. In your recreational vehicle or car, drive northwest on the historic Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16). Terrace is approximately 7 hours drive northwest of Prince George, BC.
Spend the night on the terrace. You will need a new beginning in the morning to have bright eyes and a thick tail. Terrace hotels are your basic standard rate, none of which offers anything unique. Expect three standard stars and nothing else. Ferry Island Municipal Campground (open from May to October) is my choice for an RV in Terrace. You can make Terrace your center too. Plan day trips from this centralized location to ensure an easy pace. In future articles, I will guide you through excursions to Prince Rupert, Kitimat, Stewart and Smithers.
Picking up your rent the next morning will save you a few dollars. It makes no sense to pay a rent to sit in a hotel parking lot, right? Take a taxi to the city ($ 15- $ 20), relax, take a nap, check your camera equipment (remember your camera, right?), Eat something at independent restaurants like Don Diego & # 39 ; s (Mexican rate) or Villa 46 (Mediterranean rate). Unfortunately there is no restaurant that offers aboriginal cuisine on Terrace, an oversight that my hungry eyes do not overlook. You can walk almost anywhere in the city from your downtown hotel. It is one of Terrace's charms and its reward is the unique purchases in stores like Gemma & # 39; s Gifts or Spirit Bear Gallery, located opposite each other in the 4600 block of Lakelse Avenue.
The driverless tour along the Nisga & # 39; It lasts between 4 and 9 hours, depending on the stops you make and the time you decide to spend at each of the 13 designated points of interest. Take advantage of the whole day because you will encounter wildlife along the road (maybe even the rare Kermode bear), let yourself be fascinated by the breathtaking landscapes of mountains, water sources and forests, and you should absolutely make Vetter Falls your picnic stop And that reminds me … go to the Safeway delicatessen section, which includes a Starbucks kiosk, to set up your picnic lunch, as there are few precious opportunities during this car trip to buy something to eat.
Driving north on Highway 113, also known as the Nisga Highway & # 39; a, the windshield is constantly filled with panoramic mountains and views that invite you to drive further, explore more and inhale. If you live and work in a concrete jungle, it's moments like these that drive you into a fantasy dream that will leave your mark forever. As privileged as I am to live in this area, I still yearn for this impulse as a way to separate myself from the routine and remind myself that I work to live, not live to work.
Every time I make this trip, I have a different experience. Of the thirteen official points of interest, I have four favorites that always seduce me. For me, stop number three (Crater Creek / Lax Mihl) is like a lava rock crop field. And I can imagine how fertile the soil infused with lava must be underneath. The trees here in autumn ask to be painted, but not by my trembling hands. Bring your canvas and brushes if you are so willing to capture this kaleidoscope of joy.
Vetter Falls / Ksiluuyim Agiiy is a quiet and unpretentious stop almost perfectly positioned along the road to stretch your legs and relax with the flowing water. It is the 6th stop of the guide and I have trouble thinking about a visit here that does not include at least one rainbow. Asylum, the worst guard dog in the world and my always present companion, also loves him here. In addition to its natural beauty, this is an unhurried exposure to the lava rock that remained after burying the Nisga & # 39; to. You can touch it, walk on it and almost imagine the chaos that this pyre caused in an unsuspecting people two and a half centuries ago. Oh, don't try to take any of that with you. It is considered a resource protected by law.
Moving further north, stop number 7 is the official visitor center of the Nisga Provincial Park & # 39; Memorial Lava Bed. With a traditional Nisga & # 39; A long house and some basic camping facilities, the visitor center presents historical and cultural interpretive exhibits, artifacts and offers guided tours of the volcano's cone. You will definitely want to involve local staff in a conversation, something they are pleased to do. Unlike the largest and most famous provincial and federal parks in Canada, the Nisga & # 39; A Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park receives less than 5,000 visitors per year, which means they can spend time with you to help make your visit special, and memorable.
A few minutes later it takes you to my next favorite place in New Aiyansh (pronounced eye-ansh) / Gitlaxt & a 39ks, the cultural, economic and political center of Nisga & # 39; a town. The local service station also serves as a convenience store. Replenish your beverage and food requirements here.
From New Aiyansh, there are some options for further discovery. Head east towards the Cranberry Connector, but don't be fooled by the nice name that sounds. This is a 55 km dirt road, full of potholes and dangers that connects with Highway 37, also known as the Stewart-Cassiar Highway, which can continue south and then west to form a loopback route to Terrace, or alternatively, to Stewart and forward to the Alaska Highway. The Cranberry Connector can be a difficult journey that only camels, cattle and horses must travel. But especially in summer, it can also be another fantastic way to experience areas that few have, even in a car.
Returning west of New Aiyansh, you can return to the highway to return to Terrace. Although this obviously takes you along the same road from which you arrived, seeing this photogenic landscape from a reverse angle gives you a completely new perspective of these majestic mountain views. If you continue west, instead of joining this road, you will encounter picturesque Aboriginal villages with traditional names that you or I can never pronounce correctly (such as Gingolx, Gitwinksihlkw or Laxgalts & # 39; ap), but whose flavor will not soon discover to. forget. Fortunately for me, they have Anglo names like Kincolith, Canyon City and Greenville.
Click on this link for more information on Nisga & # 39; to people …
Click on this link to get tourist information about Terrace …
Join me the next time we take a look at Prince Rupert, another easy day trip destination that you can include in your visit to Terrace.
How to get to the terrace:
Fly – Air Canada Jazz and Hawkair have multiple daily flights scheduled throughout the year from Vancouver, BC.
Drive – Northwest on historic Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16) approximately 7 hours northwest of Prince George, BC
Train – Via Rail from Edmonton, Alberta or Prince George, BC
Car rental in Terrace – National Car Rental, Hertz Rentals, Budget Rent A Car, Dollar Rent A Car