Sunday, September 2, 2012

Alaska Border to Stewart, BC. & Hyder, Alaska

Fri, Aug. 17th - Mon, Aug. 20th 

These are the views that greet us as we leave Alaska entering British Columbia. 

After about a dozen miles, we enter the Yukon again. 

From there the road winds back and forth between the Yukon and B.C. for a while. 

This is our first view entering the Yukon. 

We camped again at the Teslin Lake Yukon Government Campground, where we had camped on the way up in June.  It's very nice, overlooking the Teslin Lake and the price is right, only $12.00. 

Views along the Alaska Highway,

and along the Cassier Highway in B.C. after we turned south.  The Cassier Highway is 450 miles long and connects with Yellowhead Highway 16 to Prince Rupert (west) and Prince George (east).  It is a little narrow (no shoulders) with easy curves.  

After a longer day of driving than usual, we are looking for a campground.  There are several major jade mines in the Cassier area.  The Princess Jade Mine in the Cassier Mountain Range accounts for 90% of the world's jade supply.  Jade City is about 70 miles north of Dease Lake and is just a community of jade businesses along the highway.  We didn't feel a need to stop. 

Beautiful reddish orange flowers along the road.  We haven't seen these anywhere else we've been.  We stopped near here to check out a campground, but decided against it and drove on. 

We stopped for gas in Dease Lake and stayed at the Lion's Tanzilla River Campground just south of town along the river.  A narrow little bridge for our big rig, but we made it down to the quiet little campground where there were three other campers.  Dease Lake is at the junction with Telegraph Creek Road.  It was a telegraph communication center where they had once tried to start a transatlantic telegraph line.  It is a 70 mile, not recommended for RVs, road.

Between the town of Dease Lake and our campground is the Arctic Pacific Divide Summit. 

More views along the Cassier Highway heading south. 

Going over the Stikine River Bridge 30 miles south of Dease Lake.  The river flows 330 miles northwest, then south from British Columbia to the Eastern Passage of Alaska, two miles north of Wrangell. 

Eddontenajon (Ed-don-TEN-ajon) Lake.  About 30 miles south of here is a creek named Eastman Creek for George Eastman (of Eastman-Kodak fame), who hunted big game here in the Iskut River area before the highway was built. 

Just another view of flowers, forest and mountains. 

We will soon arrive at our destination for the evening. 

Here we are at Stewart, B.C.  This is what passes for decor here.  Shopping carts on the roof.  Across the street from here is a very nice Visitor Center. 

From there we walked out on the boardwalk at the head of the Portland Canal, an ocean inlet that marks the boundary between the southeastern extremity of the Alaskan panhandle and the northwestern portion of British Columbia. Originally Hyder, B.C. was on the east side of the Portland Canal and Hyder, Alaska was on the west.  Hyder, B.C. is long since gone, but Hyder, Aaska is still there, just behind the hill on the right side of the picture. 

Looking back toward Stewart.  The tide used to come way up to the town, but after the 1964 Earthquake something changed, and it no longer comes up here.  It was originally a mining town and lumber used to be a huge business here.  Now they only have about 5 to 7 logging trucks a day, but all the lumber they can produce is already sold to China.  It is sunk in the ocean for preservation, until they are ready to take shipment. 

Our main reason for taking this 37 mile side trip is to see the bears feeding at Hyder.  This area, along with Juneau and the north end of the Inside Passage, is part of the Tongass National Forest, the largest national forest in the U.S. and the largest coastal temperate rainforest in the world.  Spanning 500 miles, encompassing almost 17 million acres and 11,000 miles of shoreline, they get more than 16 feet of rain in some areas.  This is a view at Fish Creek Wildlife Observation Site while we wait for the bears to show up.

There are a couple hundred yards of observation deck along the Salmon river.  Admission is $5.00 a day.  We were there from about 7 to 10 PM.  This is about four miles from Camp Run Amok in Hyder where we stayed.  Another twenty miles down the road, not recommended for RVs, are spectacular views of Salmon Glacier.  There are also flightseeing tours of the glacier. 

There were probably 50 or 60 people here, all crowded down at the far end. 

Of course, this guy just ambled out of the woods on the opposite end and everyone scurried over to watch.  

He calmly crossed right under us and over to the river. 

There he calmly grabbed himself a chum salmon and continued out into the woods for a private dinner.  They probably aren't too hard to catch, as there are lots of dead ones floating around and laying on the beaches.  I suppose the ones that are still are alive, are on their last fin, so to speak. 

About an hour later a momma bear and her cub showed up and just seemed to be playing at catching fish.  I don't know if she was just teaching her cub how to fish or they just weren't hungry.  They never did catch one, but they were fun to watch playing at it.  That was all the bears that showed up, but there had been only one or two for the last several nights, so I guess we were lucky. 

Camp Run Amok in Hyder was aptly named, as we drove over tree roots and between a maze of tightly spaced trees to squeeze into our spot.  Before we left town the next morning, we went for a walk around town.  Check out the sign over the door of the General Store where "if they don't have it, you don't need it".  At the top it says "Border Bandit/Sporting Goods".  I'm not sure if that is a brand name or just a comment on their prices. 

The lady at the Visitor Center in Stewart told us this place had the best seafood in the area, because her husband is a fisherman and everything is very fresh.   Looks like low overhead, but experience tells me the prices will still be very high. 

Home sweet home in a semi-trailer with a tarp-draped roof.  It's just as big as my home and probably really cute inside.

Just for a minute, I thought I had found Jack Sparrow's lost ship.  And I was wondering how appreciative he might be, if I were to let him know where it was.  Hmmm.  Oh, back to reality! 

Check out the name on the truck.  If you need help, like I did, move the "L" to the left. 

I wonder what these guys are up to?  Probably partied late and aren't up yet. 

We stopped to watch these guys, wondering what they were doing.
One of them saw us watching and shouted over, "Barn raising, Hyder style".   This was the best little walk around town of any town in Alaska that we were in.  The population of Hyder is 100. 

Back in Stewart, pop. 699, we did a quick tour of their museum, admission $3.00.  There have been several movies filmed here.  In 1982 "The Thing" with Kurt Russell & Wilford Brimley; 1978 "Bear Isalnd"   with Donald sutherland, Richard Widmark, Lloyd Bridges & Vanessa Redgrave; Disney's "Eight Below"; "Leaving Normal"; and "Insomnia" with Robin Williams and Hilary Swank, which the museum lady told us is very good.  We haven't seen it.   A unique item they had was a snowshoe for a horse, which I guess they used a lot.

Bear Glacier along Stewart Highway 37A, one of the best highways we have been on the entire trip. 

Back at the junction with the Cassiar Highway again, we decided to camp right here at Meziadin (Mezy-AD-in) Lake Provincial Park.  It's a very beautiful campground with four tiers and 66 sites for $15.  You can camp on the top tier and have a great view.  We chose to camp right out on the point next to the water.  

More tomorrow,

No comments:

Post a Comment