From north to south, adventure abounds in beautiful British Columbia.
I tried. Really. All through the twisting corridor of trees, tiny yellow road signs ordered: “SLOW.” Sightlines were limited. But the road was a grippy chipseal and Suzi Blue was begging me to get on the throttle and use all of the tire. As the speedometer and my adrenaline inched ever upward, we hugged the imagined centreline and I kept my eyes peeled for anything that might step out of the alders — four-legged or two. Sasquatch were rumoured to roam these woods.
I had spent the summer riding my 2022 Suzuki V-Strom DL650XA through the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Alaska, and now I was homeward bound. But because the west coast was so far from my native Niagara — and because I wanted to make the most of it, rather than a beeline — I mapped out a wandering route that would explore British Columbia from north to south.
Beginning in Watson Lake, Yukon, I raced the serpentine Stewart-Cassiar Highway (BC-37) through untouched wilderness until, just before reaching Jade City, I entered the mountains. The curves became gentle sweepers, and I relaxed, drinking in the alpine scenery. By the time I arrived in Dease Lake, it had closed up for the night, so I continued south to a primitive campground on the banks of the Stikine River.
Heeding Local Advice
All alone, I had my choice of several spots among the trees. It was quiet and glorious. But it was also grizzly bear country, so for safety I took my dinner 60 metres down to the river, and then stored my BearVault canisters 60 metres upstream, forming a triangle with my campsite. It was also a good time to deploy my BearWatch System electric fence, stringing it in a six metre x six metre perimeter around my tent and bike. Protected by a 0.5-joule forcefield, I settled in confidently.
If danger visited in the night, I never knew it, and I backtracked to Dease Lake for my morning coffee. Walking into the Tin Rooster Deli & Bistro, I met an elderly man sitting at a long table. He was from the Tahltan First Nation and when he learned that I was interested in the rugged road to Telegraph Creek, he insisted I sit and have breakfast.
“I was born and raised there,” he said proudly, and over scrambled eggs and toast, he reminisced about his life as a boy. Clearly a fixture, he was repeatedly interrupted by townsfolk greeting him: “Good morning, Grandpa!” And each time, his leathery face would crumple in warm laughter.
“Telegraph Creek is a difficult road,” he advised, “and it rained here a lot…