Bears and Glaciers

3 Sep

September 2, 2019

Today we drove 192 miles from Iskut BC to Stewart BC via the Cassiar Highway and Highway 37 A (Stewart-Hyder Access Road). 

As we started out today, it was mostly cloudy with a few sprinkles.  The Cassiar Highway winds through lush mountainous landscape passing Lakes, Hanging Glaciers, Valley Glaciers, Avalanche Shoots, across Metal Bridges and Wood deck Bridges and through a narrow Walled Canyon. The road even changed from bumpy chip seal to smooth blacktop! We stopped to view the Bear Glacier, one of the few blue glaciers with the easiest access in the world.  It wasn’t very blue today!

Bear Glacier

We arrived in Stewart in the early afternoon and checked in at the Bear River RV Park. The Park Owner provided us with a self-guided tour brochure/map. With map in hand we set out to explore Stewart and Hyder, and of course, to look for the Bears Fishing at Fish Creek in Hyder.

Stewart is on the AK-BC border and Hyder is 2.3 miles beyond Stewart in AK. 

Stewart is a unique border town attracting as many American tourists as Canadian. Important to the economy are the industries of forestry and mining – the main employers in the town. Stewart also has a deep harbor and is Canada’s most northerly ice-free port. Gold and silver mining dominated the early economy. There have been many changes in population from a high of 10,000 prior to the first world war, to a low of under 700 today. 

Hyder is a community that is dependent on tourism. It is known as the “Friendliest Ghost Town in Alaska.” Hyder is home to Fish Creek. The Bears come here to feed on the chum and pink salmon which spawn in the creek. The main reason we came to Hyder…to see the Bears Fishing! 

Today, when we arrived at Fish Creek, we immediatley noticed the fish odor.  We paid the admittance fee of $5 each and entered the boardwalk area.  There were tons of salmon in the water swimming upstream.  There were also lots of dead Salmon in the water, thus, the fish odor.  We were very disappointed that there were no bears fishing.  Even though we didn’t see Bears, we ran into a nice couple from Ontario that we met last night in Iskut. It was nice talking with them and trading travel stories.

We might not have seen the bears fishing in Fish Creek, but, we did see 6 bears today! Is our luck changing?

(Three of the six bears today)

We drove through the Salmon River Valley, on a narrow gravel road. The road, started at sea level, followed the Salmon River to the Salmon Glacier. The glacier was 4300 ft. up in the alpine located in beautiful British Columbia. Salmon Glacier is the fifth largest glacier in the world. It was very cloudy as we approached the end of the road.  We have seen this glacier in the sunlight and it is spectacular! Even on a cloudy day, it was still breathtaking to look down down upon the Glacier and see how the glacier continually transforms the landscape and itself. Besides being a spectacular Glacier…this one is free!

Back in Hyder, we decided to stop for dinner at The Bus. It is an old school bus converted into a diner. The bus is the kitchen and the dining area is outside. We actually sat in School Bus Seats to eat our dinner! There were several folks already seated when we arrived. We both ordered Halibut Fish & Chips (my favorite). It was delicious! 

Eating at The Bus was a great way to end another Fabulous Day!

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