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On the Cassiar Highway

cassiar-cone

Scenery along the
Cassiar Highway

The Cassiar Highway comes with high recommendations and high expectations. But is winter the right season to drive it?

It is perfectly clear that we are here in the off-season – many shops closed for the season, inns are shuttered, gas pumps switched off. This is a harsh and remote land and coming here in the winter makes it more so. We need to be more independent, more self sufficient. Up North, by Dawson City and the Dempster the winter scenery has been spectacular and what is more, it has been clear that it NEEDS to be winter to get that imagery.

white-wonder

Winter colors dominate the landscape.

On the Cassiar Highway heading South, it is clear that the scenery would be better in summer. I can imagine that the numerous lakes along the road would be bright blue instead of a frozen white and the woods a verdant green instead of a dark gray. I feel like I am traveling in a black and white universe instead of a colored one. So after patting myself on the back for traveling the Dempster in winter I feel a twinge of regret for not doing the Cassiar in the summer.

fj-mtns

The FJ looks like it belongs in a winter setting.

The first fifty miles of the Cassiar out of Watson Lake were not very scenic – nice woodsy terrain but not spectacular. At Good Hope the views improved but the driving conditions remained difficult. With our new found off-road winter driving skills we made good progress despite very slippery and icy conditions, even though the locals still blew past us at 110+ kph.

pink-lake

Sunset on Dease Creek.

To get a complete impression of this place it is important to come in both seasons, but with so many other places to go to in the world why come to the same place again and again? Perhaps to see another facet of an old friend or a dramatic contrast that makes it a completely new place? But we have a tendency to not revisit places we have been; as lovely as Northern Canada is, it will be a long time before we find ourselves here again…

feeble-sun snowy-brook fj-lake fox

8 Responses to “On the Cassiar Highway”

  1. Joan Johnson says:

    I drove the Cassiar Hwy. in 1990 to my job in Skagway. It took several days as it was May and the ice had not melted yet. My good luck was to follow a big truck in his tracks so to stay on the road. I did not have a 4 wheeled truck as you have (smart). Alaska is the most beautiful place after the heavy winter. I worked the summer in Skagway.
    as a Park Ranger.
    David Johnson

  2. shanta auntie says:

    Your photoes are fantastic! spectacular! no ..not enough justice to the pictures. All I can say is Divine!!!!!

  3. Shreesh says:

    Dave,
    I remember you telling your adventures in Alaska. Who knows, maybe we might do a stint as a Park Ranger after hearing your stories? I must say the people in Northern Canada are quite a friendly bunch, unlike your experience in Alaska.

    Shanta Auntie,
    Thanks for your compliments but it is hard not to take a good picture when there is such incredible scenery. We tried to capture as much as we could but experiencing it is the only way to truly appreciate this great land.

  4. Bhupi (highwayblaze) says:

    Shreesh and team,
    THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH for these wonderful pictures and description. My wife and I have been following your website updates regularly and have been more than motivated get our butts off the couch. Wishing you all the luck and a safe journey.
    Bhupi :)

  5. Shreesh says:

    Hi Bhupi,

    Do get up and get out there! Chicago is a great place with tons of fun things to do!

    Any decision on the car yet?

  6. Suhasini Taskar says:

    Dear Shreesh & Neena,
    No words can describe the awesome pictures you have posted on this site. One can create a library of these pictures that can supersede the ones from some of the renown magazines like National Gegraphic.
    Shreesh & Neena, we are very proud of you for the progress made in the most challenging project you have embarked on and wish you the very best to fulfill your ambitions.
    With Love
    Aai.

  7. Shreesh says:

    Dear Aai,
    The project has been challenging and we have learned much already. The actual trip has only been 25 days so far but the journey began over 20 months with all the planning and preparation. We look forward to the challenges ahead of us and hope that our preparations were enough to meet them. We look back at the challenges behind with satisfaction and a small amount of relief.

  8. Robin Shaw says:

    Neena and Shreesh,

    Surreal pictures! I was thinking of you two and how you must be seeing some incredible sites and basking in the wonder that is Mother Nature.

    I look forward to your wonderful images and stories of your travels and live them vicariously through you.

    Wishing you joy, happiness and safe passage.

    Robin

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