We rolled out of Stewart heading north onto highway 37A to Meziadin Junction where highway 37A ends and highway 37 begins. Highway 37 is one leg of the Northern British Columbia Circle Tour. Looking at a map, you will have highway 37 on the west/left side, while highway 97 is on the east/right side; Yellowhead Trans-Canada 16 forms the south/bottom of the loop. Both highways 16 and 97 roughly meet at Prince George, B.C., in the east.
Along the way, traveling on highway 37, we saw black bears, moose, red fox, and in the higher elevations, caribou. Plenty of fauna; the flora were starting to bud and leaf out.
Coming across British Columbia, from Jasper all the way to Stewart, I noticed something that struck me as somewhat interesting. Back in Minnesota, as many know, I keep honeybees (hence the reason there is the word bees in the title of the blog). An important spring-to-summer flower for bees in Minnesota and elsewhere is the dandelion (Taraxacum officinale); those oft considered obnoxious weeds, which seem to grow everywhere. It was fascinating to be traveling up the mountains and down the mountains; and it would appear that at this time of year, dandelions are in full swing under an elevation of around 3,200 feet (975 meters). As spring gets underway, dandelions will undoubtedly begin appearing at higher elevations.
In addition to just elevation, I find the relationship between elevation and latitude to be a bit enchanting. As we drove through northern British Columbia, just south of Dease Lake, we crossed the Great Continental Divide. This is the divide that runs from the Chuckchi Sea in northwestern Alaska all the way through North American, through Central America and through South America. This divide area was where we first ran into caribou.
Think about this: Denver, Colorado, sits at around 5,200 feet (1,585 meters). There is no tundra or caribou in Denver. At the divide in northern B.C., we crossed a stretch of permafrost and tundra and this is where the caribou came out poking around the road. This area, at the divide, is also lower in elevation than Denver – around 4,600 feet (1,400 meters).
We pushed on through Dease Lake – after a bizarre conversation with a local shop owner about how Canada does not piss on things in the world like the United States. Through Jade City, and more of northern B.C.; we ended that round of travel in Whitehorse, Yukon.
As I write this, we are in Dawson City, Yukon – we have been here for a number of days; there is a delicious story surrounding our travels through Dawson City, and up the Dempster Highway; teaser: we broke an axle in the arctic. Stay tuned.