Friday, August 6, 2010

Whitehorse Adventure - Day 2/3: Green Lake Provincial Park to Barkerville

Day 2 (350km travelled): We continued north. Driving through 100 Mile House and William's Lake on Hwy 97.  At Quesnel we turn East following the large, impossible to miss, signs directing us to the historic townsite of Barkerville.  Barkerville was the site of a gold rush in the late 1800's.  The town stands essentially intact and is complete with period actors who help make it feel authentic.  We camp at the Lowhee Campground (one of three close by).  We got a great campsite directly across from the all-important playground which was fantastic because it gave our 4 year old son a bit of independence while at the same time we were able to stalk him see him, and know he was safe!  The only downside to this site was that our kids go to bed earlier than many of the older kids so it was a little noisy (but only because Dave and I were ready for our quiet, kid-noise free time).

We arrived early enough the first day to be able to go to Barkerville before dinner.  Since we were there late in the day on a weekday there were few tourists and we were able to go on a stage coach ride through town practically by ourselves.  The kids loved it and were thrilled to pat the silky noses of the huge horses after the ride was over. We spent some time watching the black smith work and walking along the main street and then it was time to go home for dinner.

Ready for our ride!

Blacksmith at work.

Day 3 (no travel):  Because the road into Barkerville was so long (80km each way) we decided that we had better stay 2 nights there so that we would be able to spend a full day at the townsite.

Our kids are early birds so we are woken up at 6am even while on vacation.  The upside of this is that it gives us time to have a nice leisurely breakfast of pancakes (only on non-travel days).  Fuelled up and bathed in sunscreen we headed to the townsite to catch some of the stuff that we were not able to fit in during our first visit. We meandered through the town one of the first tourists to arrive we were able to get some prime pictures of the ghost town in a vacant state (before it is crawling with tourists)!

We bought a simple lunch of sandwiches at one of the stores that operate on site and then headed over to watch one of the scheduled events.  This one is at the Cornish water wheel on the site and it involves a woman who has inherited a mine and is trying to scam recruit investors.  She is an upper class woman and is presenting to the crowd along with her worker who is a true gold hunter with a gleam of "crazy" in his eye!  The actors never break character and get the whole audience involved.  They even show a working example of the cornish water wheel.  It was well worth standing out in the hot sun, while trying to wrangle an energetic 21 month old!

As we were leaving Barkerville, we stopped by the gold panning station.  For $6:50 you can pan for gold (guaranteed gold flakes in every pan) and they even had someone to help 4 year old "A".  He was smiling the whole time and now may or may not have gold fever! 

After the much required nap time (even mom got to nap) we headed to the nearby town of Wells where they were starting to set up for ArtWells a big arts festival.  Not too much was going on yet since it was only friday afternoon and most things were starting later that evening and the next day.  We did walk around the small town core and marvel at the bold colour schemes that many of the old houses were painted.  Most were very bright and in colours you don't commonly see houses painted.

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