Jasper to Cobb Lake
We started west with more clouds and rain spritzes. Although there were mountain peaks to the left and right, they were mostly in the clouds. We just have to believe that Mt. Robson, the highest point in the Canadian Rockies, is stately and impressive.
After lunch at a rest stop by another raging stream, we continued on. (The rest stops along Route 16 are quite nice. Most of them are down at river level among trees. I suspect that a number of people stay at them for the allowed 8 hours – or more.) Along here we saw our first black bears. They were grazing along the roadside just as deer do at home. Very cute and cuddly looking.
We soon saw a sign for “Antique Forest” and stopped. Glad we did. We hiked through an inland, high-altitude rain forest. The cedars were huge in height and diameter (6-8 feet). Ferns, skunk cabbage, lichen were everywhere. A lichen called tree beard hung from the trees like Spanish moss. The trail started out as a board walk and then turned into a more conventional trail as we headed up a hill to a waterfall. According to one of the volunteers who happened to be working maintenance in the area, the stream slows to a trickle in the summer, but it carried an incredible volume now. The forest is “ancient” because it is generally too wet to burn, thus doesn’t follow the regular burn-recover cycle of a healthy forest, and because logging licenses given in the past were allowed to expire because they were “economically unfeasible.” Fortunately, these big, old trees are now generally protected. Signage in the area urged us to avoid red cedar building materials and furniture“ as one 500 year old tree yields only a few planks.”
From the forest we headed into Prince George for some groceries and fuel, soon after we stopped at Cobb Lake Campground. This is a free forest service camp on the side of a lake. Since it is well off the main road via a gravel road, we were surprised to find lots of people camped by the lake. We selected a site on the hill away from the lake and settled in. “In” being the operative word. The mosquitoes here were so bad, we closed up tight, ate a cold dinner of leftovers, edited pictures (David), read (Janet), and went to bed. It gets harder and harder to go to bed when the sun is still on the trees at 9:30 and it is dusk until an hour or so after that.