Wednesday, July 28, 2010

North to Alaska

North to Alaska - at least that is what the sign told us - and our destination was the combined community of Stewart and Hyder at the end of the 37A highway, which is literally “the end of the road”.

Going North the Rush is On (compliments to Johnny Horton).

This is the point where one makes a decision - west to the Pacific or north to Alaska - and we are NORTH on the Cassiar Highway. All the literature talks about the outstanding scenery and good wildlife viewing on the highway. The scenery was fantastic - even the one lane wood bridges -

On the Cassier Hwy. We got our share of mosquitos on the windshield, but there are plenty more waiting for us.

The wildlife was non-existent, except the first sighting of the salmon swimming upstream to spawn.

Salmon working their way upstream.

There was also the first really up close and personal view of a glacier - Bear Glacier - on this leg of the journey. Imagine that not all that many years ago this glacier came clear across the lake to the road where we are standing and only two years ago it came all the way down to the lake!!

A quick stop to check out the Bear Glacier.

Finally - Stewart and Hyder -

Stewart BC continues the elaborate welcome sign trend.

No big sign for Hyder. Oh yeah, were back in the US for a bit.

Believe me - these pictures do them justice!!

This is how the area sets up - you drive into (and through) Stewart, BC, around the port to Hyder, which is just across the ‘border’ in Alaska, USA. As you can see from the picture above, the street turns to dirt as you cross the border - and Hyder is truly ‘the end of the road’!

Stewart sits at the head of the Portland Canal making it Canada’s most northerly ice-free port. Hyder bills itself as the friendliest little ghost town in Alaska. One passes fairly freely back and forth across the border, which you do several times a day if you are staying in Stewart. This is because just beyond Hyder is Fish Creek - known for watching grizzly and black bears feed on salmon during the season and just beyond Fish Creek is Salmon Glacier (but you pass back into Canada to get there) and is Canada’s largest glacier accessible by road.

So - on our day in Stewart - Hyder we were off to Salmon Glacier and Fish Creek. We took the road from Hyder, which begins at sea level in the US and follows the Salmon River to its birthplace - the Salmon Glacier - 4,300 ft. up in the alpine across the border in Canada. Of course, we pass that marker at the 49th parallel that marks the boundary between the US and Canada. (You might remember the very long explanation about this when we visited Waterton last fall.)

Canada/US border marker.

The Salmon Glacier is huge - the fifth largest glacier in North America. The blue color (due to the lack of oxygen in the ice) is so vibrant and the fissures are many and huge.

Salmon Glacier. Amazing.

A little closer look at the Salmon Glacier.

Next stop - Fish Creek to view bears;-)

The bear observation platform. The bears were real scarce.

This eagle took a brief break from lunch for this shot.

Mom and cub from about 100 yards.

Tomorrow is another travel day - and we don’t know where we will end the day????

Keep you posted when we have an internet connection again -

Love to All - E & G

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