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Barkerville, A Grizzly and Snow

Saturday, May 19, 2007

all seasons in one day 0 °F

The sun has come out after last night's rain, so we stop in at the lumber industry tower in Quesnel and the farmers market in Quesnel (British Columbia) before leaving for our hour drive to Barkerville, British Columbia. Quesnel has several lumber mills and factories related to the lumber industry. There are tens of thousands of pine logs stacked at various places in town.

On the way to Barkerville we come upon a grizzly bear on the side of the road scrounging for roots, so we stop and watch it for several minutes. Our loud diesel doesn't seem to bother it.

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Barkerville was the center of the British Columbia gold rush in the 1860s. In its' heydey it was the largest city west of Chicago and north of San Francisco with a population of 10,000. Then, as with most gold rush towns, it became a ghost town. In the 60s the British Columbia government reconstructed the town and it's now run as a historical park.
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We spend time walking around the town and tag along on a walking tour of the town, explained by a costumed guide who protrays one of the women who lived in the town. She is great and makes the park interesting.
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Her tour stops at the end of town where Chinatown begins. Almost half of the people who lived in Barkerville were Chinese immigrants from the Hong Kong area.
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So we go to take the Chinatown tour with a guide, but soon after it starts, it starts to sleet! We go inside and listen to the rest of her tour and watch the sleet change to snow. We probably get an inch of snow during the hour-long talk about Chinatown. This guide, who portrays a woman living in town in the late 1800s but admits she is actually a social historian by trade, is just as wonderful as the first tour guide. We learn A LOT about the Chinese immigration to North America and the gold rush.

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I try to take pictures of the snow but they didn't show up very well. Just take my word that it was snowing really hard. By the time the 'tour' is over, the snow/freezing rain slows down. We finish looking at a couple buildings, but then the cold gets the best of us and we hurry to the warm truck.

The sun eventually does come out again as we get close to the RV. I almost wish it had continued snowing/raining so it would remain cloudy. It is light here til at least 9pm. The clouds last night made it darker a little earlier. Then the sun is up by 5am. We have started stuffing our skylight in our bedroom with a pillow before bedtime to keep it darker a little longer in the morning. A month from now when we're in Fairbanks it will only be dark for an hour or two, so we need to try to adapt to sleeping in the light :-)

Posted by jengelman 06:15 Archived in Canada Tagged family_travel

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