June 10, 2011 | Tips from Travellers >
Fort Nelson, Hiking
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I’ve always wanted to touch a hoodoo even before I knew what to call them.
Hoodoos are tall, thin spires of rock that protrude straight up into the air from the ground. If Mother Nature was a real person, these would be her fingers. Perhaps this analogy is strange, if not borderline creepy, but it is this inherent, super-natural element of the hoodoos that makes you want to get up close and personal with them.
I thought that I would have to travel to the Grande Canyon or some other far-away land to see them, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they existed in my (almost) backyard.
So where are these hoodoos that I speak of? I live in Fort Nelson and these particular Mother-Nature-fingers exist in Stone Mountain Provincial Park, about 145 kilometres (or 90 miles) north of here on the Alaska Highway. To learn more about how I could access the closest hoodoos, I went to the Visitor Centre to look at their hiking and trail guide. I discovered that the most easily accessible hoodoos were the Erosion Pillars. The guide said that the trail was accessible from the highway and was an easy, roughly a half hour trip. My thought? Who knew it would be so easy to touch a hoodoo?
I packed all the necessities to go on my adventure: water, energy bar, jacket, good closed-toed shoes, bear bells and bear spray (precaution and protection folks!). I must mention that you should pack bug repellant also, as my legs took a good biting.
I made the hour and a half long car trip up the highway with some good friends on an overcast day. The travel time to Stone Mountain flew by as the roads were in good condition and, as always, the views were spectacular and the animals were plentiful!
The trail was well-travelled and well-marked with yellow tree diamonds, so there was no way to get lost. But, I figured that if that failed, the 30 foot pillars towering over the trees would probably suffice as markers.
There were two hoodoos along the trail. The trail ended with the biggest hoodoo of them all; it was a monster! I was surprised to see that I would have to climb a steep slope to actually touch the hoodoo but I figured what the heck – I’m not getting any younger and I didn’t make the trip to just view the hoodoo! So I climbed (practically on all fours) up the slope and let me tell you, it was worth it! Not only did I hug the hoodoo, but the view was phenomenal, overlooking a nearby creek, trees and mountains!
We made our way back down to the highway by following the creek we had seen. It was awesome to hop from one big rock to the other while listening to the rushing water; I felt like a child without a care in the world!
In total, we spent a leisurely hour or so hiking. We finished our trip off by warming up with some homemade chicken noodle soup and fresh, homemade bread at the Toad River Café (a 45 minute drive north of the Erosion Pillars). It was among the very best homemade bread and soup we ever tasted.
So if you find yourself travelling along the Alaska Highway in the Fort Nelson area, drop by our Visitor Centre to find out how you can experience Mother Nature in a big way in very little time. Hugging a hoodoo is just a matter of stretching your legs! Hope to see you soon!