The Nisga'a Highway. The Adventures of a Group of 5 Philippsons
It never fails, the best things in life are sometimes right in our own backyard. I grew up in Prince Rupert hearing stories about Kincolith, Greenville, and New Aiyansh from my dad. The only way to get to these spots back in the 60's & 70's was by boat. I would never make it out of Prince Rupert harbour without throwing up so I was left behind when my sister went up with my dad to visit. But now it is 2019 and there is a road.
This year my oldest daughter moved to Prince Rupert so I seized the opportunity to take the family on a bit of a pilgrimage.
We set off from Prince Rupert and headed to Terrace along the Skeena River for 139 kms. Once in Terrace you head up Nisga'a highway #113. As we drive along the highway the names of the villages are in the Nisga'a language so I am not prepared. We stop at the campground as there is a sign that states there is a visitors center there. But it is closed on Tuesday and today is Tuesday, luckily though Chris Moorman, who works for the village as a craftsman is there. He is working on a new carving shed on site so we chat with him. He tells us he just finished adding two more hot tubs up at the hot springs as well as building the walkway with just his chainsaw, and to make sure that we go. We get a pamphlet from him about the Auto Tour and gain a better understanding of the names of the villages we want to go to. We want Gingolx (Kincolith), Laxgalts’ap (Greenville) and Aiyansh.
We find the hot springs easily and head in on the new boardwalk. It is easy to access and is well maintained. The whole walk takes no more then 6 minutes. The air is scented with sulfur and we know we have arrived. There are two changes rooms at this level and a few more that are a bit of a climb. There are no outdoor toilets here, just at the entrance.There are two California style cedar tubs that are very new, each with a hose from the stream that can add cool water at your convenience depending on how hot you want the water. The water was VERY hot when we were there.
The original concrete shallow tub location is still there. The bugs are surprisingly not bad! We are here at the end of July and find the area empty.
Back on the road we head to Laxgalts’ap where I know there is a museum about the area and the Nisga'a culture.
The building is beautiful with over 300 priceless artifacts — one of the finest collections in the Northwest Coast and the world. "Hli Goothl Wilp-Adokshl Nisga’a (Nisga’a Museum) is a “Class A” museum — with a design inspired by traditional Nisga’a feast dishes, longhouses and canoes. The museum houses cultural treasures acquired in the 19th and early 20th centuries — our gift to each other and the world", states the brochure.
Once we are done exploring we are desperate for more to drink and head over to Grizzly Dan's. This is a new business that has just opened in Laxgalts'ap. They plan to have several RV sites a gas station and a store. As a tourist I often find myself paying huge amounts for things like bottles water and soda pop. So when I popped in to Grizzly Dan's I figured I would be paying a few dollars for a can of soda. But no I was pleasantly surprised, just $1. I can't remember the last time I paid a dollar for a can of pop.
Then off we go up Grizzly hill. I sense that Grizzlies might be a thing here! This is quite the drive. Several of the hills are 17% it is windy, our 16 yr old and our 6 year old passengers are not feeling well. It is a 30km drive to Gingolx but for the kids it feels like a 100kms! We finally arrive in Gingolx aka Kincolith its a beautiful day and we are hungry.
Here are some helpful links: