Here they also began their long encounter with the British Columbia breed of mosquito and his companion the black fly. Although they were the most persistent of the wildlife, they were by no means the only members to make themselves known to the hikers, particularly while on the Eastern Slope of the Rockies.
“Curious Caribou came right up to the tent and moose were encountered daily. Sheep could be seen on the Upper Prophet Area.”
Neither of the men being accustomed to bears, they found the suppertime visit of a rather bold black bear most disconcerting. However, Zerneke managed to have a short chat with (at) him. The daylight was not the only visiting time in the night they were made aware of the presence of some not so amiable hosts by the howling of the wolves.
It was halfway along this first 196 miles that they picked up the supplies flown in by Gary Vince which enabled them to reach Fort Ware. In Fort Ware they restocked needed supplies and visited the camp of two prospectors, one of whom was cutting the leather from the toe of his shoe when they arrived. He told them that his shoe had become too small but his partner later said that “the piece of leather is part of a secret method for finding gold” but he, too, was reluctant to say anymore about the “secret method”.
So the two set off again and after 50 miles of hiking they reached a section of the Finlay River which they decided to cross as the others had before by putting their gear in plastic garbage bags and floating it across while wading through. Mr. Boehler went first holding his hiking boots in his hands. It was soon obvious that they had underestimated the current and the hiking boots were lost. They spent hours looking for them and then decided to go back to Fort Ware and get some more. This was a discouraging episode not only due to the lost boots but also three lost days. Luckily, though, once in Fort Ware they purchased new and found someone to fly them back to where they had left off in order not to spend three more days over the same ground. From here things went on almost without incident until they reached the point where a mining company had promised to drop supplies at Toddoggene area but did not keep its word. This made the men dangerously short of food and forced them to do more than 12 miles of hiking a day and up to 15 hours a day to the next food supply at Hyland Post.
Up until this time the weather had been very good. Each time they saw a storm approaching they’d don their rain gear and each time the storm would veer to one side or the other or even split in the middle and go both ways but always seemed to avoid them. So they figured this time would be no different. Only not only did the storm bite but it was snow! August 16 it was snow! This time morale suffered “when bent over willows and snow depth made moving difficult and clothing and boots were drenched with wetness”.
And so it was with joy and satisfaction that the two Germans arrived at Eddontinagan and the Cassiar-Steward Highway. From here they flew to Terrace where they wandered awestruck through the miles of food in the grocery stores. They arrived in Dawson Creek by bus and visited for 2 days at the home of Dietger Hollmann who, according to Mr. Boehler, was the most instrumental person in making the trip a reality.
In January of this year , Mrs. Ravelli of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce received a letter and questionnaire from Wolfgang Boehler and Rudi Zerneke asking information about remote areas surrounding Dawson Creek. Luckily for all concerned she referred the letter to the Director of Planning of Peace River Liard District Mr. Dietger Hollmann who took a special interest in the adventure. Mr. Hollmann “advised the two prospective hikers on the best possible routes and with the help of Mr. Field, Manager of B.C. Hydro, suggested the correct equipment to take. While on holiday in Europe, Mr. Hollmann met with Wolfgang Boehler and discussed the district in more detail with the aid of slides.
Before the start of the trip help was sought for the task of flying supplies into specified area for the hikers. Professional guides Gary Vince of Fort St. John and Laurence Parry of Smithers flew supplies into the Upper Muskwa and Hyland areas respectively. Without their help this trip would not have been accomplished.