Sunday, August 26, 2012

Aug 26 – To Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Park

Today we went about 100 km north of Terrace to Anhuluut’ukwsim Laxmihl Angwinga’asanskwl Nisga’a. In the middle 1700’s a volcano erupted here and the resulting lava flow killed 2000 members of the Nisga’a tribe. They have created a provincial park as a memorial with interpretive sites along the highway.

We first had to move the RV to the Ferryland Municipal Campground in Terrace because someone had booked the site we were at. This place has around 100 site and they were quite full as it is still early Sunday morning before the weekend crowd leaves.. We got a no hookup site in the back corner. It was still pretty full when we came back in the evening.


No chance of a satellite signal here but our Bell internet stick and our Rogers and Bell cell phones are finally working again. The only place with coverage north of here was in Whitehorse.

We seemed to have lucked out on the weather again. It was very gloomy in Terrace when we left but we found the sun just a bit out of town. We were in the sun most of the day with only a few cloudy spots. Driving back we could tell that it had rained quite hard in Terrace but the sun followed us back.

The drive up was very nice on a very smooth highway with mountain and lake side views.

All the lakes and rivers are very green from the glacial silt.

It was very twisty along the lake shore.

There was even a glacier.




Here is a map of the park. The lava flow is in green.


The crater is in the large green area. From the crater the lava flowed 5 km down a narrow valley to the somewhat narrow Tseax River Valley. It flowed about 10 km up this valley to the very wide Nass River Valley and then went about 8 km along there. The amount of lava is just mind boggling. The villages were in the river valleys so it must have been moving quite fast to kill so many people.

At the park entrance you can get a brochure for a “self guided auto tour” which describes a set of marked stops near the road.

We started out taking a short hike up the valley towards the crater. The only way to actually go to the crater is to take a $30 a person, all day, guided hike. I had thought about it (briefly) but it started a 10 am and with us having to move the RV there was no way we could get there in time.




Even though the eruption occurred 300 years ago the main thing growing is moss and lichen. Around here almost every rock had a heavy coat.



There are a spots where enough soil built up that there are some small trees


This one looked like a bonsai.


All the lava flowed down this narrow valley. It was about 100 feet thick here.


Back on the highway, the valley floor is covered in lava.


Next stop was a view of the Tseax River.




We heard some very loud screeching on the other bank. We couldn’t locate it and just thought it was some huge bird up in a tree. Then I saw what I think were three mink or marten in the water. They got out quickly and scurried off down a path when they saw us in our bright red shirts. Who knew that such a small creature could make such a loud sound. They were too fast for any pictures. I tried but they were just blurry messes. 

Next was a 2 minute walk (can’t call it  a hike) to Beaupre Falls.



It was a very pretty setting but it would have been nice to get a bit closer. We made do with some telephoto shots.


Next was another very short walk to Vetter Falls.


Why does there almost always seem to be a tree in the way?


I walked out on some slippery rocks for a better angle.



This tree had wrapped itself around the edge of the lava.


Then we got out into the wide valley. The lava just seemed to go on forever. Picture just don’t do it. It is another place you just have to see in person.




This was taken at the Y in the road. It is more than 2 km to those far trees and the river and the lava continued this around the point to the left for another 8 km.

You can see that we were just on the edge of the sun. Nice in the picture above, dark to the west in the picture below.



Next was a hike out to a tree mould. The lava was different here. Earlier it had been more rounded. Here is was very jagged and sharp. It was very hard on the shoes. As long as you stayed on the path it pretty worn down though.


Sometimes when the lava goes around a tree it cools quickly enough to record the shape of the tree trunk and bark before the wood burns away.




Next we went to the village of one of the clans of the tribe.


They have this nice wobbly pedestrian suspension bridge over the Nass River. It used to be the only way into town.



I went across. Jennie did not.




Finally we went to the village oh Gitlaxtaamiks to see some totem poles and the community center.



And then home.

This was the place that had drawn me to come and explore around Terrace. An amazing day (there is that word again) and well worth the trip.

1 comment:

  1. OK. NOW I get why you went to Terrace! As for that suspension bridge Jane would have gone with you while I kept Jennie company! :-)