This weekend, my wife and I headed off to a nearby provincial park and campground: Paarens Beach Provincial Park. This park is two hours from my home of Prince George, British Columbia and is located on the shores of Stuart Lake. It is located within 10 kilometers (6 miles) of Fort St. James a nice little community with all the amenities and the historical site of Fort St. James, a former fur trading post. We had a great stay. Though you can camp a stone's throw from the beach, we chose a quiet site nestled in the corner of the park. <img src="http://inlinethumb51.webshots.com/41138/2209242660103576388S600x600Q85.jpg" border=0> The sites at the park are superb. Packed gravel, a foot higher than the surrounding terrain making for excellent drainage. A typical site in the park: <img src="http://inlinethumb57.webshots.com/1848/2924726260103576388S600x600Q85.jpg" border=0> The park was half empty so we did not have any neighbors around us. We set up and the next morning headed off to Fort St. James to visit the national historic site located in this city. Simply stunning. Most of the building are the original buildings of the Hudson's Bay Company fort that existed on the site in the 19th century. In July and August, they have employees dressed in clothes from the period and replicating daily life in a fur trading outpost. Below are a few photos from our visit. <img src="http://inlinethumb22.webshots.com/6165/2419378010103576388S600x600Q85.jpg" border=0> <img src="http://inlinethumb37.webshots.com/9188/2899031150103576388S600x600Q85.jpg" border=0> <img src="http://inlinethumb37.webshots.com/39588/2211899420103576388S600x600Q85.jpg" border=0> <img src="http://inlinethumb35.webshots.com/10466/2327951380103576388S600x600Q85.jpg" border=0> <img src="http://inlinethumb38.webshots.com/39013/2990796810103576388S600x600Q85.jpg" border=0> <img src="http://inlinethumb57.webshots.com/2296/2283431950103576388S600x600Q85.jpg" border=0> Returning from our visit to Fort St. James, we explored the park. It has a decent beach (by northern Canada standards). It is clean, well maintained. The only downside: no showers. My wife and I will be investing in a privacy/shower tent and one of those solar shower bags for our trip. It does not offer hook-ups, but we could live with that as we wanted to try camping without all the perks. The plus side: it is very cheap costing $10 a night. The lake is extremely beautiful. It was a bit cool, so we did not try swimming, but we enjoyed taking it easy at the park. Below are some photos of Stuart Lake and Paarens Beach. <img src="http://inlinethumb04.webshots.com/12099/2857066660103576388S600x600Q85.jpg" border=0> <img src="http://inlinethumb01.webshots.com/14080/2732207810103576388S600x600Q85.jpg" border=0> <img src="http://inlinethumb34.webshots.com/37729/2244399480103576388S600x600Q85.jpg" border=0> On Sunday, I went back to Fort St. James to find some of their mountain biking trails. Finally, found what I was looking for. Next to the cemetery, there was a little wooden bridge/boardwalk hidden in the foliage. I followed it up and found some excelling mountain biking trails: dirt train, a foot wide, going uphill over roots and rocks. It was a heck of a ride in beautiful forest. I will have to go back! Overall, had a great trip. Minor problem: furnace did not want to work, but in coming back I searched this site and found a possible solution: vacuuming the intake and the exhaust I would highly recommend Paarens Beach Provincial Park. My wife and I really enjoyed our stay there.