Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Our last day in Alaska

The second half of the Cassier Highway south of Dease Lake wasn't as pretty with a large scale powerline project under construction.  Massive clearcutting of timber and many construction trucks took away from the areas beauty.  But at least the road was in better shape with real painted centerlines too.  

Stewart Grocery

Downtown Stewart, BC
The last couple of days we have been in the border towns of Hyder Alaska / Stewart British Columbia.  Hyder Alaska is so small and remote they even don't have a customs border crossing station.  However Stewart has a customs station.  Coming across the border when they ask where you're going and you just say "back to the campground".  Stewart is quite a nice little town.  Hyder AK looks somewhat depressed though.  
Salmon Glacier at the top
Salmon Glacier

There is a lot of history in this area and also many spectacular glaciers.   In the winter this place experiences avalanches often and in the middle of downtown Stewart there is a building with this massive gun that they use to shoot at avalanche areas to control them.  Everywhere you look are giant snow capped mountains.  This is also a Pacific Ocean Coastal Port and the moisture and humidity make this area the lushest we've seen so far with giant trees and many wildflowers and lush vegetation.

Yesterday we drove up a particularly large mountain to view Salmon Glacier.  Yvonne didn't do too well on the drive as it was on a narrow 1.5 lane road that was being encroached on in many places by heavy snow from the mountains.  The side of the road was a steep dropoff  of thousands of feet into the valley below.  She refused to look out and kept her eyes glued on a book.  The only thing you need to be careful of is vehicles approaching from the other direction.  There were pull off areas every so often and you had to keep them in mind and watch for vehicles so you didn't have to back up in the narrow parts.

But the views at the top were absolutely worth it.  Salmon Glacier is one of the larger glaciers and is spectacular.   At the top was a group from Polaris snowmobiles.  They drove over the snow covered mountains to another glacier on the other side to test out their new models.  There was also an interesting guy camping at the top of the mountain (in a tent) who called himself the "Bear Man".  He writes books and makes DVD's of bears.  He has been charged by Grizzly bears 4 times and has successfully deployed his Bear Spray which worked every time.  He explores mountains, caves and Glaciers looking for bears at 78 years old !

The Bear Man
 Speaking of bears, this town is famous for all the bears that congregate here when the Salmon are running (July).  They have a wooden observation walkway along the river where you can watch black and grizzly bears dining on Salmon.  I wish we were here a little later in the year to see the action but we still walked the walkway and instead took in the sounds of the birds and stream.

We've met a lot of people around town and in our campground and we had a large campfire in the middle of the campground last night with about a dozen people and at least a million mosquitoes.  Mosquitoes and gnats were pretty bad but we had a lot of fun talking with everyone and listening to all the interesting stories of the road.  Meeting people along the way is as fun as taking in the scenery.  And we've met a lot of nice people since we started this trip.

Early yesterday morning I sat outside under our awning while it was raining / misting.  While sipping on my coffee I was visited by a hummingbird who zoomed up to me and zipped around to check out the bright green can of OFF on the table next to me.  At first I thought it was a giant bee (or possibly mosquito??? )  and then figured out it was a humming bird. 

The rooster warming her tailfeathers with the electric heater
I think maybe our cat is part Rooster.  Every day at 5:00 AM she relentlessly bugs me to wake up.  It's so annoying but I can't get too mad at her.  And then after I wake up she curls up and goes to sleep. 

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