Saturday 28 March 2015

An untouched beauty

My mother was born in a small town named Telegraph Creek. It is a small town I am sure nobody has ever heard of. When I think about Telegraph Creek it brings back many great memories for me of my family. Lets start with where Telegraph Creek is. Almost every year as a child we would drive to Terrace, BC. It is a 16 hour drive. Add another 9 hours north and you hit a place called Dease Lake. Take a left there and drive for 2 more hours on a dirt road and you hit Telegraph Creek. It is a small community home to Tahltan First Nation residents and non-native residents. My mother is Tahltan and Tlingit making me half Native and the other half the English of my Father.

A wonderful picture of my Grandfather as a young man

I don't believe you can get more remote than this. There is a small general store. Nothing else. 
Now the drive there is a tough one especially if the day before we just made the 16 hour trek to Terrace to meet our family before we head up north. 

My mother has 5 sisters and 5 brothers. When we gather in Telegraph creek it is usually quite a large group who go up. My Grandfather and my uncles and aunts go, their children and their children children. When I tell people I have a big family it is the absolute truth. So when we go up, which is not so often for me, it is almost like a reunion sometimes. 

I can not begin to tell you how beautiful the drive to Telegraph Creek is. The road is a treacherous stretch of road. 112km of gravel and dirt and narrow passages along the canyon walls. 

The Grand Canyon of the Stikine as it is sometimes called. The stikine river is shown below. It the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen and ever been to. The feeling of being completely free of anyone around you. It is breathtaking!

Where we go is just out of Telegraph Creek in a place called Six Mile. I do not know for sure if it is the actual name or if it is actually just six miles out. I have heard it so many times I never questioned it until this very moment :) This is a place we go and set up camp. It is a large clearing, near the Stikine river.

It is no secret I am not a fan of bears, so camping in bear country has never been easy for me. Lets add anxiety to camping in bear country. I have never liked the idea of it. Now that I am older and I can choose, bear country is not at all my first choice to camp. It is not lost upon me now that it is in fact, some of the most beautiful places to camp. I do not get to do this often with my family. It has been few and far between now that I am an adult, but it is truly the most wonderful experience and the only place I do not feel scared of bears. Why? Because of have my Grandfather there. He always has his gun and my tent is always right next to his, lol. In saying this, I have never once seen a bear here or have heard stories of bears coming into six mile. Nor do I want to hear any stories if they do in fact exist, lol.

Photo courtesy of Janice Julseth

Never the less I love being here. Watching my family net fish, even though I do not like fish. It is an amazing thing to see them pull in the net and the biggest salmon you can imagine come out. Some the length of my leg. These are my two cousins Lisa & Janice.

Photo courtesy of Janice Julseth

I believe I am lucky in having the family I have. Being aboriginal we are able to throw the net out in to the river and catch these fish. This is where my family comes from. This land, this area. Without family coming from this area it is not somewhere you usually come to visit. I feel lucky to have experienced this first hand. To have been here, taken it in. And knowing that I will again some day. I miss them all and wish I could join them this Summer as I know they are all heading up north to fish.
Photo courtesy of Janice Julseth

There is something special about this place. The fact that it is so remote it is untouched beauty. It is native land. Although I was not born here, although I do not know it as well as my family as I grew up in the city and am a "city girl", but still it makes me feel.... at home. 

I hope to one day show Enrico this beauty. It is truly unreal! For anyone who is an outdoor enthusiast looking for a remote adventure this is it! It is absolutely gorgeous!

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