Saturday, July 9, 2016

July 9 – To Tow Hill and Port Hardy

We are taking the ferry back to Port Hardy tonight but it does not leave Skidegate until 10 pm. It was a nice day so we drove up to the northeastern part of the island to Tow Hill.

Skidegate, BC to Tow Hill - Google Maps

The drive up to Tlell along the coast had some nice scenery.


The rest was quite boring with long straight sections bordered by trees. From Masset we headed east and then onto a dirt road for 24 km to Tow Hill.

In an otherwise wide flat plain, Tow Hill is a 400 foot / 125 m high volcanic basalt column that gives some great views of the long beaches on either side of it.


We first took the red trail up to the two viewpoints. Then the blue trail down and out to the Blowhole which was not blowing today. Then the black trail back to the car.

The whole trail is on a boardwalk covered in something like asphalt shingles, making it very easy to walk on but it was still a climb up 400 feet in less than a km.


Looking up to the higher zigzags of the trail.


Lots of steps.


The Rose Spit viewpoint.



They really should cut down that tree.

North Beach runs from Tow Hill all the way up to Rose Spit at the very northeastern tip of the island.


It looked like people were fishing in the surf.


The dirt road we had taken goes right out on to the beach and then you can drive for miles up towards the spit. I wish we had our own car but I didn’t think it was a good idea to take a rental car out there.


Moving on up to the viewpoint at the top looking down on Agate Beach to the west.




Tiny people on a huge beach.


At first we thought someone was trying to write a message on the beach, in the lower right below.


Then we realized that they were just digging for razor clams.


The viewpoint got a little crowded for a while. Jennie said she recognized the lady with the red hair as Clara Hughes, who is an Olympic speed skater in the winter games and cyclist in the summer games.


This eagle was patrolling the beach, far below.


After a long stare it was back down and out to the area of the blow hole.


Looking back up at the sheer cliff of Tow Hill. The other side had been piled up with dirt by the glaciers making it easier to climb.


Not even was the Blow Hole not blowing, we could not find it either but there were lots of interesting rocks to climb around.

Jennie checked out the beach while I scrambled around.





Looking out at North Beach.



Another Photosphere

North Beach Photosphere



Walking along the path back to the car, we could see a low mist on North Beach.



Heading back towards Masset we first stopped at the Agate Beach Campground to walk the beach for a while.

Actually, Jennie walked for a short while and then we just rested.


With Tow Hill in the background.


And the viewpoint.


Jennie made a small sculpture out of beach debris.


Steve and Sharon had been up to Old Masset before the tour and had been out to see the carvers working on the Reconciliation Totem Pole. It is being carved to help with the memory of the residential schools. When they were here the carvers had been working and they had had a long talk but there was no one around today.

Here is a link to an article about it.


A lot of very complex carving. Although it seems as though I am standing on the pole in the picture below, I am really standing on a mound of dirt behind it.






It is supposed to be erected in September so it looks like they have a lot of work to do in the next few months.


After having a late lunch at Sherri’s Gas Bar and Grill in Old Masset, we drove back towards Skidegate. We stopped at this rest stop to waste some time until we had to return the rental car.



After we dropped the car off we waited in the ferry terminal until we could board the boat at around 8:30 for the 10 pm sailing. As soon as we were aboard we grabbed a quick, late supper and went right to the cabin that I had booked. We tried to stay awake for a short while but quickly crashed.

The ferry docks in Prince Rupert at 5 am so we got a 4:30 wake up call. After more sitting in a ferry terminal while they moved the Port Hardy ferry into position, we got on board to claim our seats at around 6 am. There was no real rush as it was another very empty boat.

I didn’t take many picture on the trip because, sadly, it was once again very cloudy, rainy and cold. There was one hole in the clouds and we got blasted with bright sunlight for about 1/2 hour.


Since we sat in the same seats we were now facing west so there was one new town and waterfall.


We should have moved to the east side as it seemed that everything happened over there, much the same as the way up.

There were some whales that had everyone scrambling. Most were rather far away.



This is a crop of a zoomed shot.


We arrived in Port Hardy at around 11 pm. The walk-ons get to exit first. This is a shot while we waited at the front of the ship.


We took the same shuttle bus for the short ride back to the RV park. A quick check of the RV and to bed.

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