Thursday, July 29, 2010

Trying to Catch Up!

It has been a busy time and wifi has not been available in a way I'd like. So tonight I'll try to catch up on what's been happening. We left Skagway one morning a few days ago and headed up the Klondike Highway. Similar to the drive to Haines or Valdez, the scenery was awesome! The word is probably over used, but the mountains and the lakes, waterfalls, bright sun and blue skies made it so beautiful. That's correct, I said sunshine and blue skies! Isn't that grand! Coming out of Skagway, we saw a hare, a gray fox, and I nearly hit a black bear. We took the Klondike Highway to the Alaska Highway to the Cassiar Highway. About an hour from the Alaska Highway we pulled into a rest area at Cotton River and spent the night. The picture below was taken from behind our camper.

The Cotton River as seen from our camper.

It was a quiet night except for the burble of the water over the rocks. There was no sign of bears, but there were plenty of warnings about leaving food out. In the morning, the dogs had a nice swim where another brook runs into the Cotton River. They were having a heck of a time running into the rapids and being taken down stream. There was no danger as the rqapids in this section pour into a large pool of slower water.

The pictures below were taken on the way. In a lapse of thinking, I showed Helen how to take pictures in burst mode, the camera takes two pictures a second as long as she hold down the shutter button. We have thousands of pictures now, but many are practically the same

Some unknown lake on the Cassiar Highway.

Just one of thousands of waterfalls on the route.

I don't know where this was taken, but it is a typical shot.

Helen got this pretty picture, and 255 more of the same.

Bear Glacier, about 20 miles outside Stewart, BC

Another one of Bear Glacier.

We got into the Bear River Campground early and got one of the few spaces still available. Actually, there was a lot of room, but a caravan was coming in the next day, taking all available spaces. The first order of business was to go to Hyder to check it out and also to visit "The Bus". It's an old school bus that is used for all the cooking. The meals are eaten out front in the open air or around back in side. We were told that the food was excellent, and it was. Diana Simpson is the cook, and she prepares the fresh halibut that her husband, Jim, brings home every day. If you want fresher fish, you'd have to eat it raw on the boat.

Diana Simpson and Kelly, owner/cook and server at the bus.

The Bus, THE restaurant of note in Hyder.

After our meal at "The Bus" we drove up to the wildlife viewing area about 4 miles north of Hyder. There, in the Tsongas National Forest, there is a salmon run. This, of course, attracts the bears in the area. Unfortunately, there was no parking left and there was a disagreement with the ranger, so we left in a huff, which is another name for a Jeep. As luck would have it, a short way down we encountered a car in the road. He was stopped so he could watch a grizzly sow and her cub. I know that the grizzly aka brown bear comes in many colors, from blond to black. We've seen them from blond to medium brown. This one was a dark brown and she had a black cub.

Mother Grizzly and her cub.

The two bears sat there for a while watching us. Then they s l o w l y ambled down the road a few hundred feet. Then they made a right turn and went into the woods. It was as if they just melted into the woods because there was no evidence of a path.

Now they're out for a stroll.

After these two left, we continued home, only to come across another grizzly with her two cubs. This sow and her cubs were very black. Seeing the black cub above and the two cubs with the second sow, I think that there is a very satisfied black grizzly somewhere in the woods.

The next day we took a ride up to Salmon Glacier. The drive is not too bad on the way up because I was on the mountain side of the road, though "road" may be too nice a term, wide mule path is more like it. The trip down was done with white fists as I firmly held the steering wheel. All the while I was praying that there would be no one coming around the corner, forcing me too close to the edge. Fortunately, I was able to ride on the left side of the path almost all the way down.

Salmon Glacier, British Columbia

There is no straight drop at this point. You can see the trees in the picture below that show the edge is a long way from where I'm standing. Still, what if I should stumble and fall toward the precipice? What if there was an earthquake? You can never be too careful!

Peering over the edge, but not too close!

Below is a picture taken as you come from Stewart, Alaska into Hyder, Alaska. At the border, the pavement disappears. There is no pavement in Hyder. There are about 50 year round residents of Hyder and another 500 year round residents in Stewart. In the 1920s, there were more than 10,000 people here.

Main street in Hyder reminds me of a main street right out of an old western movie. It is a blighted area with little to offer young people. Interestingly, Hyder was chosen for one of the sites in the movie "Insomnia" with Robin Williams, Al Pacino, and Hillery Swank.

Hyder, Alaska, U.S.A.

Tonight I'm writing this from a campground in Prince George, British Columbia. The wifi is about perfect and free and the showers are endless and free. I've got to say bye as I head for my turn with the hot spray.


  1. Boy those pictures are great, those grizzlies sure come in size xxl, Glad to see you guys are enjoying some nice sunny skys, and that Jodie & Coco are getting some swimm time, Keep us posted on your adventures. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  2. Remember you didn't hear from us for about a week and you were wondering if we were OK? just traveled that same lack of WiFi path. We just soaked in all the beauty and were A-OK to miss the WiFi. LOL!

    Sorry you didn't get to go to the fish bridge, but AMAZING that you saw those grizzlies. We saw ZERO bears when we were there...but lots of bear scat!