Whisker’s Point Provincial Park, British Columbia
Tuesday, June 19, 1973
My diary says we drove out of the Fraser River canyon and through a number of oddly-named towns: Cache Creek, 100 Mile House, Williams Lake, Quesnel, and Prince George. But I don’t think any of them are as odd as the name of the campground where we spent that night. I wonder whose whiskers those were, and if they came to a point or the land did.
Whisker’s Point was the first non-private campground of the trip, and as I remember it was deep in the woods. It was also cool and rainy, and as I put it rather poetically at the time, “we had a thunderstorm for dinner music tonight.”
According to the park’s website, it is just south of the site of the first trading post west of the Rocky Mountains, Fort McLeod. It doesn’t say if that’s true of just Canada or of all of North America, although given the date (1805 — about the same time as Lewis and Clark), I’m inclined to say all of North America. I don’t know if Santa Fe would count as west of the Rockies, and I’m pretty sure the California missions don’t count as official trading posts no matter how much trading went on at them.
The lake Whisker’s Point stuck out into was called McLeod Lake, which started a long-running argument between me and my father that lasted well into the trip. As a child, I was something of a literalist when it came to pronunciation, and the idea that “McLeod” could be pronounced “McLoud” did not set well with me. I insisted on pronouncing it “McLee-od.” This amused my father greatly, which annoyed me considerably.
Our linguistic discussion did not keep us from exploring around the campground after supper once the rain had stopped, however. And that’s where my dad first taught me to skip stones. According to my diary, I managed to skip one three times.
Whisker’s Point is halfway between Prince George and Dawson Creek. Dawson Creek is the official beginning of the Alaska Highway. At last. Even if it is still in British Columbia.