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Day 5 53,525 (gas 107.2 per liter at Bells II but I would push on an extra 100 to Bonus Lake) 321 miles
Today was a good day, it had rained where I was during the night, and it had snowed 6 inches in the mountains where I had just come from so I dodged a bullet on that one.
The day started with me finishing off the travel guide and drinking some coffee where I was camped just a mile down the road from the Lodge at Tartoga Lake. When it was ready to publish I broke camp and headed to the lodge to eat breakfast and publish the travel guide. By 10 AM that was done and I was on the road south to Bonus Lake. I had stayed there when I came up this spring and had scouted the backcountry and it was loaded with grouse, so I am going to stay a couple of days and take the back roads (logging roads) to get back on the highway. It will be about 125 miles of dirt roads, and I will be lucky to see two cars the whole trip.
from the previous trip this spring to go find the grouse I knew they were there. Hopefully the view from the top at MP 28 would be clear and maybe take a few pictures at sunset. I hadn't gone a mile until I found the 1st grouse, but he ducked into cover before I could get a shot off. I drove on for 30 kilometers before I turned around and headed back to Bonus Lake to beat darkness. On the way back I saw a big black bear lumbering down the middle of the road, but had no chance at a photo op. I also saw several grouse but failed to get a shot off at any of them. They seem to be a bit skittish and gun shy today. The scenery was just as I imagined it would be, the whole forest aflame with fall colors.
View from MP 28 at sunset
I arrived back to camp at dark, and created the one-person moose stew I was craving. While the stew cooked I caught up on this journal on the days activities and prepared the pictures for insertion. By 10 PM dinner was ready, the pictures were prepared, and I will do it tomorrow. By 11PM I was in bed asleep, anticipating the next mornings grouse hunt and photo trip.
Day 6 (hunting day-probably blew off 100 miles on back roads)
I was up before daylight made coffee, ate a little breakfast and by dawn was on my way down the road to the logging roads to see what the day would bring. It was only 2 miles to the turn off so it came up quick. I had barely started and gone less than a mile and I encountered a bull moose in the middle of the road. It was barely light enough to make out his rack but it appeared to be a spike fork. He just stood in the road 50 yards from me for what seemed like forever. I got good pictures of him, but alas for this writing they are on film so will have toad them later as I am still far into the woods. Another mile found a beaver hurriedly trying to build a damn across a forest service device installed lengthwise of the creek made of double walled rolled wire mesh and sealed at both ends so the beaver couldn't get inside to plug it up. A mile farther found my first grouse, just standing there one the side of the road 10 yards away. I eased off one shot and flat missed, I couldn't believe it. When I got to MP28 I sat up a pop can 25 yards away and managed to miss that also. Somehow the 22 had been knocked off zero and was shooting an inch high and left, so a couple of adjustments put it back to normal. Usually I can hit a bottle cap at 25 yards with it 3 out of 3 shots. That is about the size of a grouses head.
The fog had set in when I hit the top of the mountain so nothing was moving around much so I just eased along and figured out the logging roads, along with keeping an eye out for any wildlife. During the course of the day I would encounter two black bears that darted into the brush as quickly as they saw me. By 11AM I had hit the far end of the logging road I was on, so I took a right and went to see what Elizabeth Lake looked like since I was just killing time waiting for the fog to lift some.
I headed back towards camp just after noon, and along the way encountered three more grouse, the sighting in of the rifle did the trick, and dinner was in the bag. I arrived back to camp around 2PM, took care of cleaning the grouse for dinner, and decided I had enough grouse, and had explored the road system well enough that I would move camp to North Hazleton some 100 miles south and west from where I was. That way I could explore more of the logging road system I couldn't access from my present location. I was 85 miles from the end of the Cassiar so I hurriedly got things packed up and departed for points South and Katawanga. The fog had lifted so the scenery was getting better as I drove along.
North of Katawanga
I arrived at the end of the Cassiar at Katawanga around 3 PM, gas was now (99.9 per liter), at least the price of gas is improving as I journey south.
I decided to call it a day at Smithers. I got a room for the first time since the reunion in late May. The room had a bath tub so I Ran it full and soaked away my aches and pains until went to sleep in the tub. By 10 PM I Was out like a lamp.
I slept in until 9AM, fixed breakfast and coffee in the room since it had a kitchen, and contemplated what I was going to do today. I nixed going back to North Hazleton, there was greener pastures, and a ton of lakes and roads I hadn't explored at Burns Lake, so that would be the plan for the day. I had to stop and get afew can goods and milk and bread, so I had to make a stop at the store and to gas up. I finally got started at 1 PM. Burns Lake wasn't far, only 75 miles or so, and it was an easy run with no problems. My goal was Co-op Lake just a mile off the highway to set up camp, and just leave the trailer there and make a big loop around the log roads and pick it up on the way back. There had been a big rain before I arrived so the camping area was a mud hole and I opted to move up to Taltapin Lake 15 K up the road.
*Local Indians spear salmon here in August and Sept
One thing about BC main line logging roads, you can drive 50 mph and no problems, no chuckholes or anything. It just took afew minutes to get to Taltapin Lake. The camping area was right on the lake and the hills behind camp were ablaze in colors
I got organized and set up camp by 5, did up what dishes were left to do and cooked the grouse for dinner, they were great. The breasts were white meat like chicken. You just need to soak them in saltwater for a bit to draw the gaminess out of them then just fry them up like chicken.
The guys camped next to me were from Vancouver and were up there moose hunting and had got one that morning. They were still hanging it
when I got there. After dinner we all visited for afew hours and then it was off to bed. It was cold, and well below freezing when I hit the
sack, and a hard frost was on everything outside already,
The day was criso and clear with bright sun, but in one sense it was kind of a drag, I had to bust up ice just to make coffee, I don't know how cold it got but it had to be in the high teens to freeze up a five gallon water jug. Today I would backtrack the old log roads I had traveled the previous trip back to Burns Lake to have a look at some of the lakes I hadn't seen last time, the wind was blowing so much after I got just afew miles from Taltapin Lake it wouldn't have made much for pictures in most cases, so I didn't waste the film. The creek leading from Taltapin Lake was interesting the way the reflections played on the water, and I could see small trout buzzing around. There was one un named lake 4 miles from Taltapin lake that was interesting though, so I took a couple of pics of it for lack of anything else.
I made it the 30 K back to Burns Lake and gassed up (96.9) and headed south to Prince George. I wanted to get to Wal-Mart and get film, the oil changed in the truck, and get film developed, but after arriving there the guy who ran the tire and lube shop told me I would have to wait until the next day, and it was only 3 pm, so I was rather indignant and left forgetting most everything I had needed to buy there. I set sail for McBride BC for the night, knowing it was a long haul I wanted to get there and with the wind blowing, I took few pictures, and just drove on. I was anticipating the next day. It would lead me into Jasper, Banff, and Kooteney Provincial Parks, and I knew they would be breathtaking. I never arrived until about 11 PM at a little Forest Service Campground I had used this spring., it was on the banks of a little river, that is truly gorgeous, and it too is loaded with trout, but I didn't want to take the time, I was dog tired. I didn't even level the trailer, I just opened it up and passed out for the night.
Day 9 Left McBride at noon 54,305 (traveled 278 miles)gas 93.9