Grassy Bay Hike
A nice hike from the Highway outside town (there's only one) to Grassy Bay. It's a pretty spot. Better if you can make the hike on a sunny day.
The path is part stone or chip and part boardwalk. You need to boardwalk to get over the muskeg. Watch for wild cranberries in the bog or stunted cedar trees (sort of bonsai-looking).
Check out Prince Rupert Tourism for more info.
Prince Rupert is a small town full of friendly people. It is rather cold and dreary most of the year (much like the rest of the Pacific Northwest), but they still get quite a bit of tourism for fishing and sight-seeing. I went up there to go to the King Pacific Lodge that is a one-hour float plane ride south, on an island called Royal Princess Island.
Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary - II
Getting to this very special place is not all that simple. Prince Rupert is located in Northern British Columbia, about a 90 minute flight north of Vancouver.
There are alternate ways of getting there. It's 18 or 19 hours of driving from Vancouver or a 6-1/2 hour drive from the Victoria Airport to Port hardy to catch a 15 hour ferry ride (through the Inside Passage, which is very nice) to Prince Rupert.
Once you get there, it's a 6-7 hour boat trip or a 30 minutes flight on a bushplane to get there.
The bushplanes tend to be float planes. We caught ours at the Seal Cove Seaplane Port at Prince Rupert.
"De Havilland Beaver"
The weapon of choice of most bush pilots is the De Havilland Beaver. A small single engine plane that was produced between 1947 and 1967 is the best way to get around the north.
There is not a lot of luggage space on one of the Beavers. Enough clothes for 4 days and our camera and video gear is just about all the space we had on board.
"Inside the Beaver"
That's me sitting in the right seat, beside the pilot. A lot of Canadian airline pilots start their careers flying bush planes, to get the required hours. The headphones were technically optional, but the cockpit is so noisy, you really have to wear them to communicate with the pilot and other passengers.
There is no service or any washrooms on board...
"View from the air"
Flight path - the pilot flies visually, through the mountain passes to get to the Khutzeymateen Estuary. Those mountains and trees look so close that you almost think you can touch them (scary close!). If it is too cloudy, the 30 minute trip takes twice as long as the plane has to avoid the mountains and has to fly along the coast.
We were lucky and were able to get (barely) through the mountain pass.
"Khutzeymateen Estuary from the air"
This view shows the very end of the Khutzeymateen Estuary, where we spent most of the time. There are only two BC Parks licenced tour operators that can operate in the sanctuary itself. Both have extremely limited windows where they can visit the sanctuary and have to pay high fees to be there (which are passed onto us visitors).
If you don't go with either Sunchaser Charters (which we used) or Ocean Light II Adventures, you don't get to see the actual sanctuary.
If you don't believe me, check the BC Parks website:
Remember - Khutzeymateen is a grizzly sanctuary, not a tourist site!
The 40 ft sailboat was our base for the 4 days in the Sanctuary. We did not see the bears from this boat. We spent a lot of time in a Zodiac (inflatable boat) that got us close to the bears,