Another very early start today - by necessity. After a very cosy night in our log cabin, we were up at 5am and had scrambled eggs, avocado, granola and coffee for breakfast. We had arranged to meet our salmon fishing guide, another Gord, down on the riverbank in Terrace, 45 minutes drive away, at 6.40am.
The sky was just starting to get light but it was very misty, creating a spectacular and atmospheric sky.
Gord had already got the lightweight aluminium jet boat launched in the water. Bill and Chris donned waders and boots, took up their rods and we all introduced ourselves before climbing aboard the boat.
The jet boat was very impressive and we were soon flying down the river, skimming over the surface of the fast moving water in the river.
After about 15 minutes whizzing down the river we pulled over and stopped on a shallow gravel bank. Gord threw out and anchor and the three anglers set about assembling their two-handed fly rods. Next they chose their flies from a box labelled 'Spey Pride' with a rainbow decoration, full of lurid sparkling pink, purple and turquoise 'egg-sucking-nymphs'.
Next they stepped into the water to learn the spey cast. This involved gracefully drawing the rod and line up and then back before rolling the line and fly out into the centre of the river.
After a few practice casts the flies were being cast out onto the water surface, and the day's salmon fishing commenced. The boys persevered with their casting techniques and fished the patch of gravel bank down several times as Gord regaled us with tales of leaking salmon and grizzly bears!
The icy water swirled round their waders as they stood thigh deep in the opaque blue fast flowing waters. There was a lot of colour in the water due to the recent heavy rainfall that we had witnessed the day before - Gord thought that would probably make the fishing conditions more difficult than usual.
The occasional catching of the fly in the stony river bottom caused many a false strike as the angler's hopes were briefly raised.
Gord cast out a couple of baited lures from the back of the boat in the hope that this might attract some salmon, but apart from a cut throat trout and a dolly trout (both returned to the water) this too was unsuccessful.
Hopes were also raised as we saw the dorsal and tail fins of salmon swimming past, but these were pink salmon that had had been weakened by spawning.
Meanwhile I spent a very contented day sitting in the boat or on the beach watching the action, admiring the spectacular scenery all around us, watching the bald eagles flying all around us, sunbathing and reading.
After a picnic lunch in the sun, we returned to the jet boat to try our luck on another gravel bank and then another beat, but by 3.30 we ultimately realised that the fish were simply not going to be caught today. It was a great day but we were so disappointed, and it was very quiet in the jet boat returning back to our starting point.
Back in the bus and rejuvenated by a bag of chocolate brownies we drove on to Smithers and enjoyed a thoroughly spectacular drive through the Skeena valley with trees of all shades of green, yellow, amber red and gold all around us and the blue river rushing along beside us.
Our destination was the Smithers Guesthouse - not very glamorous sounding, but what a place! Tucked away down a side street, just an ordinary looking house, but what a nugget of hospitality - and only £60 for three of us! We got such a warm and friendly welcome from Wendy - and little touches such as - help yourselves to towels, use the washing machine if you like, use the hot tub on the deck whenever you like, use the shared kitchen with tea, coffee and free cakes, snuggle into the lovely room with enormous bed and immaculate decor. Small, basic and unglamorous but it felt like being at home or staying with friends.
We arrived late afternoon and had heard so much about Smithers being a great outdoor place that we felt we must get out and explore, so we set off to run, by head torchlight, up to Twin Falls. The steep path followed the mountain stream upwards and over a scramble section to the falls where we stood in the dark, being sprayed with icy water, and posed for ridiculous photos before clambering and sliding our way back down again, narrowly missing a fractured wrist in one particularly slithery section!
Back at base we cooked supper, reheated chilli, mange tout peas and yoghurt before flopping into the hot tub with its multicoloured lights and massage jets - heaven!
After putting the world to rights, we collapsed into bed, leaving Chris to work on his engineering projects in preparation for his Skype meeting with DMM tomorrow morning!