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Working in the Wilderness of Northern British Columbia

We’re all ready to get back to exploring the world. This was the year of minimal travel and muted adventures. While we wait for travel to return, we have been going through our travel archives, searching for memories and adventures to share from a long time ago. This one goes way back to 2004. When I was 22, I got a job doing mining exploration in the northern parts of British Columbia. Many of the camps we worked out of were accessible only by helicopter and we had to ration our supplies. Most of the time we were closer to Alaska than the 49th parallel. This was the wilderness in all its glory and the places we visited were truly epic.

During the working day, I carried a small point and shoot digital camera with me for every job. In total, I worked in the mountains for about a year and a half, with a 6 month trip to South America sandwiched in the middle. This was one of the most rugged and exciting two years of my life. It was hard work, but there were a few unforgettable moments, many of which I captured on my camera. There were days and moments where I knew that I was the first human to stand, and it made me feel quite accomplished conquering new land in search of gold. I saw a lot of really cool things and explored a lot of wicked awesome outdoor places.

We climbed mountains and took helicopter rides over glaciers. As you will see from the following pictures, this was an unforgettable journey. Even though this isn’t exactly a tourist destination that one can visit, these pictures are worth sharing.

What makes the Wilderness of Northern British Columbia so amazing?

This was an extremely wild and untouched outdoor experience, accessible to a few lucky explorers. Here the trees and mountains went on forever. It was incredible and awe-inspiring every day. This was my life for a year and a half, during which time I worked for a geophysics company and spent months working in the remote wilderness of British Columbia. We saw bears a few times and heard wolves outside of our camp a few nights as the pack passed by.

Most of our time was spent in the far north, above Prince George but south of the Yukon. The following post features photos from the Rocky Mountain Trench and North Coast, Omineca, and Skeena Mountain Ranges in British Columbia. Many of these places are more or less inaccessible unless you have a few key survival pieces, including satellite radio, GPS equipment, and several days’ worth of food and water.

Sunrise in the middle of nowhere. 2004.

We were visiting parts of the province where active logging and mining were going on. I’ve been to some of these places and could never “find” them again even if I tried. It also requires a big truck with a 2-way radio and an understanding of how logging roads work (when someone calls out on the radio “30 loaded” you need to know exactly what that means and where you are in relation to this fully loaded truck).

This was a once and a lifetime experience for me, and it was the first time I was truly able to appreciate the wild untouched beauty of the North. I’m excited to share these with everyone today as I got to relive some incredible memories, without the pain associated with hiking and climbing over rocks and up steep mountain slopes to achieve these shots.

Working in the Wilderness of Northern British Columbia

Incredible glacier in the north of British Columbia. 2004.
Looking out at a beautiful valley. 2004.
Day two on the job and first time in a helicopter. 2004.
Melting glacier quickly creates a fast moving river. 2004.
Evidence of the wolf pack who crossed through our camp one night. 2004.
Melting snow turns into waterfall. 2004.
Snowy morning. 2004.
When winter met autumn. 2004.
High above the tree line where winter arrives early. 2004.
Fresh water comes from the lake. 2004.
Flying overtop of a glacier in Northern British Columbia along the border with Alaska. 2004.
Three phases of water: melting, frozen and foggy. 2004.
Looking down towards the Glacier (look for the three little people). 2004.
Old mine shaft near one of our camps. 2004.
Snowy winter day. 2004.
Fall in the northern Rockies. 2004.
Snowy morning helicopter ride. 2004.
Silence in the forest in the evening sun. 2004.
Beautiful Lake view. 2004.
On top of the world in Northern BC. 2004.
Where the Glacier ends, the river begins. 2004.
Day fifty (approx.) on the job. Face is starting to resemble full mountain man status. 2004.
Snowy morning in the mountains. 2004.

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