It was midnight when we crossed the Fraser at Hope. Behind us lay Vancouver, asleep in its bed. In front of us the Cariboo Road, frosty in the autumn. A few miles more and we could smell it -- the first stinging, sharp smell of the Dry Belt, of sage brush and pine tree, mixed with the smell of parched clay earth. In little more than a mile, the coast jungle ended abruptly and the open interior began.
We breathed the new dry air hungrily. "It's still here!" Jean said. After our long absence we almost feared it would not be here, unchanged, the Cariboo, the other world we used to know. I stepped on the gas.
There was fog in the canyon of the Fraser. A thousand feet below us, in the black trough, a false white river of mist rolled along. Deep down under that the true river rumbled. We should have stopped. To drive through a night mist on this road, cut thinly into the living wall of the canyon, is madness, but we were always mad on the way to Cariboo. At the end of the road the great plateau was waiting and the house of Michael O'Shea.
Through Yale we drove, and not a light to be seen by the river -- old Yale that had been the beginning of the road in the gold rush, crammed with miners and fancy ladies. Nothing left of it now but a few ruined cherry trees and the wooden church. No light at Boston Bar either, no light on China Bar or Jackass Mountain (what stories in these names!) and little Lytton sound asleep. They had never slept in the old days, from one