National Geographic : 1955 Aug
British Columbia now lay before us in all its magnificence.* But before we lost our selves in the maze of ranges that vault Pacific ward, we traversed more prairie. Dawson Creek seemed to lie in the center of a great upturned palm of green grass and gold grain (page 216). Traffic materialized from no where, bound to or from Alaska (Fairbanks: 1,523 miles). War-built Highway to Alaska Here suddenly was all the hustle of a pros perous U. S. Highway 40 crossroads town in Ohio. In our motor court at Mile 1' of the Alaska Highway our neighbors hailed from Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, and New York. We breezed along the wide, smooth thor oughfare built in record time by U. S. Army Engineers during World War II.t A giant suspension bridge crosses the Peace River near where Mackenzie observed "The country is so crowded with animals as to have the appearance, in some places, of a stall-yard, from the state of the ground, and the quantity of dung which is scattered over it.... We this day saw two grisly and hideous bears." Turning west beyond Fort St. John, we followed a side road that became more and more doubtful. It alternately clung to the steep face of hills paralleling the Peace or forced precarious passage at the water's edge. Jean and the children shut their eyes as we rounded hairpin curves and dislodged clods that fell 100 feet into the river. Slowly mountains ahead came closer. Spots of snow gleamed beyond the blue foothills. Finally we entered a wooded dell and came upon a sort of ghost town that hadn't com pletely given up the ghost. A whitewashed Hudson's Bay post faced a rustic hotel, and beyond lay a store and a few homes. "Hudson Hope," I announced. Indians before Mackenzie and all water travelers since have deserted the river at this point to portage around Peace River Canyon. * See "On the Ridgepole of the Rockies," by Walter Meayers Edwards, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, June, 1947. t See "Alaskan Highway an Engineering Epic," by Froelich G. Rainey, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, February, 1943. rr""