June 28, 2012 | Tips from Travellers >
Find more information about Smithers - Hiking
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Everyone knows about mosquito itch, and you have to be careful to avoid duck itch otherwise known as swimmer's itch…but have you heard of alpine itch? That is when people like me, simply can not wait to strap on a pack (and maybe some Swiss lederhosen) and take a hike through alpine meadows, past glacial streams up to marvelous mountain peak views. In fact it is only a few more weeks until the snow and high water levels recede and my Zoggeli, (traditional Swiss footwear) can travel these trails once more. So in the mean time I have found a fantastic alternative right in the town of Smithers—the Perimeter trail. This trail travels the circumference of the town, running along the Bulkley River, and past the scenic down-town. The entire loop is about 12.5km, but it is easy to access and exit the trail at various points throughout the town. As I walk I hear birds singing and the laughter of three kids on bikes who race past me, it’s the perfect trail for a family walk or a morning jog. The trail is easily accessible from Riverside Municipal Campground and provides the perfect opportunity to stretch your legs after a long day of travelling.
June 26, 2012 | Tips from Travellers >
Smithers, Aboriginal Experiences
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The rugged roads, and endless wilderness of Northern British Columbia has won the hearts of many locals and is a welcome get away for visitors, but today I explored a particularly special corner of the Smithers area on my trip to the Wetzin’Kwa Community forest. Wetzin’Kwa is the Wet’suwet’en word for “flowing blue green or clear waters,” referring to the pristine Morice and Bulkley Rivers that are the adorning jewels of this mountainous region. Today’s event featured an opening welcome from the hereditary chief for the Wet’suwet’en house of the Bear clan that owns these traditional territories. Core to her address was the importance of sharing and protecting the area, with its diverse wildlife and precious history.
After enjoying a BBQ lunch, David de Witt, a director for the Community Forest took us on a guided nature walk through the area. All along the trail we spotted evidence of past inhabitants of this land, including Aboriginal trail blazes, mining claim stakes, and over grown horse pastures. We learned how to spot Culturally Modified Trees, as these were key sign posts on the Wet’suwet’en trail networks. David explained that the trees were marked with an axe strike on both sides in order to point travelers in the right direction and were placed high enough to allow clear visibility even in the winter. Today, the trees that bare these markings are known as Culturally Modified Trees and are protected and enjoyed by many visitors and Smithers locals. The Wetzin’Kwa Community Forest is also prime habitat for an array of wildlife, including moose calving grounds, a mountain goat transit corridor and of course plenty of pesky mosquitoes.
If you make your way up to Smithers BC and are looking for a little back-road driving, excellent lake fishing, a rewarding day hike or a picturesque picnic place the Wetzin’Kwa Community Forest would be the perfect place for you. A drive 12 km up Hudson Bay Mountain Road and then a left on to MacDonnell Lake Forest Service Road for 9.5 km will take you to a beautiful new wood beam shelter, where you can read about the area’s fantastic flora, fauna and First Nations history. The shelter also stands at the head of the Silvern Lakes trail and only 3.5 km from the Dennis Lake Recreation Site. In order to ensure that you have a successful back country experience, remember to respect the Community Forest and the animals that live there, pack some bug spray, drop by the Smithers Visitor Center to get any extra info and get ready for a wonderful wilderness adventure!