“From here it is about 200 miles to Telegraph Creek. The trail has been traveled for thirty-five years, and the government has spent thousands of dollars to keep it in first-class condition. It will take from seven to ten days to travel this distance, as it is a little harder than before reaching Hazleton. There are two large stores at Telegraph Creek, and they do a great business.” From Telegraph Creek to Teslin Lake the trail will be the “Stikine route” now being opened by the Canadian government. It is estimated to be 150 miles long, and can be traversed in ten days or less. At Lake Teslin the trail ends and the water way begins.
The Ashcroft trail is alluring. The climate is genial and the land full of game. There are frequent stopping-places, and the Indians are friendly and helpful. The advantages of this route are offset, however, by obvious disadvantages. It is very long. According to the estimate of Senator Reid, it will take fifty days (forty days from Quesnelle), though by going in light it could be traversed in ten days less time, provided there were no delays for bridge building. It would be possible to go in light, sending the bulk of the outfit by way of Victoria to Telegraph Creek. Part of the outfit could be replenished at Hazleton. It would not be safe to leave Quesnelle till the grass came, say by the 10th of May. After that time the telegraph trail would be a comparatively cheap and pleasant route, with no duties and no toll to pay. It is reasonably safe to count on the early building of bridges and ferries.
In the matter of outfitting, it is probable that Kamloops, Ashcroft, and Quesnelle could furnish complete outfits for a limited number of pack trains, and being upon the Canadian Pacific road, supplies could be hurried forward by telegraph from Victoria, Vancouver, or Winnipeg. The only American outfitting point of any considerable size for this route is Spokane. To outfit in Spokane under present rules would make the outfit dutiable at the line. Ashcroft is a village; Kamloops is a town of nearly 2,000 inhabitants; Quesnelle has about 500 inhabitants. It would be possible also to outfit at Calgary or Win-mpeg or even at St. Paul or Minneapolis, shipping the goods direct to Ashcroft, Edmonton, Hazelton, or Glenora, according to whichever route the prospector elected to take.
THE KAMLOOPS ROUTE.
Kamloops, the next town east of Ashcroft, is also advertising an overland route. As between Ashcroft and Kamloops, Ashcroft has the advantage of a good wagon road the entire distance to Quesnelle; but the people of Kamloops are actively engaged in opening a road which they claim runs through a better grass country. It passes up the North Thompson River, and crossing the divide, follows the Fraser River to Fort George, thence UI) the Nechaco, striking the Ashcroft trail at the headwaters of the Bulkley River. This road is not yet opened.
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