Went to the big city yesterday and a little history

Before there was anything else, there were Indian trails and wildlife trails in the Bulkley Valley. It was the trapper who blazed some of the first trails through the wild, mountainous country. These traplines generally followed the rivers and the creeks, and often criss-crossed from lake to lake. Eventually some of these Indian trails were lost, others became pack trails and wagon trails. Some of them became sleigh roads for winter travel only.

This photograph is of an early wagon train.

Until the 1960s a trip from Houston to Smithers or Burns Lake was a long and bumpy affair. Travellers wanting to enter the Bulkley Valley around 1900 had two choices:travel north from Vancouver and then northwest overland from Quesnel via Fort George or Vanderhoof to Houston, or take a steamboat up the coast from Vancouver to Prince Rupert, travel by riverboat up the Skeena River to Hazelton, then travel by foot or horseback along the Telegraph Trail to Smithers, Telkwa, and Houston.

Most people chose the coastal route. It took about three days to travel from Hazelton to Houston. Around 1900, North Bulkley and Barrett were linked only by the Telegraph Trail, which was roughly located along what in 1998 is the Summit Lake Road. North Bulkley lay about seven miles east of Houston, and this was where many of the earliest settlers made their homes. The McInnes brothers in 1917 cut a winter trail from North Bulkley to Houston. Paving the highway between Smithers and Houston was completed in 1961.

Although we were able to go by truck yesterday the road from Babine Lake is still bumpy and slick, so we only did about 60Km/hr, but when we reached the Highway it had been well cleared of snow and ice, and it was a smooth ride into Houston. We saw about six moose on the way out and one dead on the highway, I expect it had been hit by a logging truck. Houston is still a small town by anyone’s standards, but it is our big city as it has a bank, a computer store, a few restaurants, and a small mall. From it we tried to breath in a bit of the Christmas spirit, you know all the tinsel and trivia, I don’t know if we got enough though. We had lunch out, did a bit of grocery shopping and saw a few people we knew to exchange Christmas wishes with, but there just wasn’t anything else to do so we came home, arriving just before the snow.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: