Saturday, September 22, 2012

Chetwynd, Tumbler Ridge Loop, and Monkman Provincial Park

Tuesday Sept 4th -  Last year, while driving back down on the Alaskan Hwy, we stopped at the Ft. St. John visitor’s center. The  lady there told us that we should drive the Tumbler Ridge Loop and spend some time there because it was so beautiful. We planned to take a short detour through this area….

Just north of Ft. St. John you turn off on Hwy 29 to go through Chetwynd. I had picked up  a brochure that talked about the famous Chetwynd chainsaw carvings….


It all started with this one in 1992…..


Now there are more than 70 of them, each getting more and more elaborate over the years.


We stopped to view these carvings on display at the visitor’s center.



It is amazing what one can do with a chainsaw and a little imagination………

We continued driving the loop through Tumbler Ridge and then down to Monkman Provincial Park, where we planned to spend the night.

We had read that the drive to Monkman was beautiful and well worth the 30 miles of gravel road……You know…. it wasn’t. The road was washboard rough and took us 1 1/2 hours to drive. When we arrived,  we found that the camper had been ‘shook to pieces’. These gravel roads are taking their toll on things. The campground was OK, but with no services and not even potable water available it just had an unkempt feeling.

The weather looked threatening, with dark sky overhead. We decided to take advantage of the fact that it wasn’t raining yet to drive out to the Kinuseo Falls that were supposed to be spectacular. They were…….


Water cascaded over multiple layers of rock……


Before cascading down 197 feet (that is taller than Niagara Falls).



We were intrigued by the rock formations on the sides of this canyon. The rock swirled and plunged diagonally across the wall.

We had read about several trails in Monkman Park which led to other waterfalls. We looked for the trail heads, but the only trails that we saw were very overgrown and poorly maintained. They were not enough to entice us to hike.

Going to bed that night, we both felt that this place just did not feel right. Though we had planned to spend two nights at Monkman and do some hiking the next day, we decided to head on down the road the next day. So we would hook up and drive back out that terrible gravel road, eager to just get it behind us.

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