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COMPLETED - 403 miles=(648 kilometers)946 miles=(1522 kilometers) - STILL TO GO

For the first time in two days we didn't have to clear frost from the windshield before getting on the road. NO, it's not because we slept in until noon. It's because it was 10°F warmer than it has been recently and I guess our idea to rapidly start heading south is finally working.

Before getting on the road Tricia had just enough time to snap these two photos of Kinaskan Lake from behind our campsite.

The Cassiar Highway travels in a wide valley between the Canadian Rocky Mountains on the east and several smaller mountain ranges that make up the Coast Mountains (with the Cassiar Mountains as part of that) on the west. All of today's photos are of the Coast Mountains as we are hugging the western side of the valley as we make our way south.

The eastern side of the valley is bordered by the Canadian Rocky Mountain Range and is where you'll find two of Canada's Premiere National Parks, Jasper and Banff National Parks. Our route will not bring us anywhere near them and besides, it's way too late in the season to give them a proper visit.

If you've been paying close attention you'll notice that today's mountain photos have something that yesterday's didn't. That would be snow capped tops, even though we're further south today, the mountains here are much taller than yesterday's.

Me, ROVER and THE POD patiently waiting for Tricia to return from taking more photos.

All summer long the road crews are repairing and improving the roads and bridges that suffer damage from the harsh winter conditions found in this region of the world. Here we are at one such jobsite where extensive repair work was being done on the bridge.

I guess the rule here is "size before beauty".

Finally clear for our turn to cross the bridge.

If you wish to visit the towns of Stewart, BC and Hyder, AK you'll need to make that decision at the small town of Meziadin Junction. That's where Route 37A (the Stewart Highway) detours you from Route 37 (the Cassiar Highway) for a distance of 40-miles to the town of Stewart, BC.

Highway 37A (aka The Glacier Highway) officially ends at the Alaskan Border and turns into International Street.

We quickly understood why Highway 37A is also nicknamed The Glacier Highway. Much like what we saw along the road into Valdez, though not quite as dramatic, the highway goes through a very narrow canyon with glaciers and snow capped mountains on both sides of the road.

The most predominant glacier is called Bear Glacier and we stopped to take several photos in an area clearly marked as an Avalanche Zone. The Milepost Guide Book warns travelers not to stop here during and after heavy periods of snowfall. We're currently not experiencing either of those conditions so we risked a stop.

Bear Glacier

The higher elevations of Bear Glacier

We finally arrived at Rainey Creek Campground, a municipal owned and operated facility, on the edge of town. We have a reservation for a 30-amp campsite for three nights, but there was no one in the office when we arrived. There was a sign on the door stating the office hours were 8AM to 6PM and a phone number to call if needed.

You are not assigned a site number when making the reservation, only a promise to have a site available when you arrive. We drove around the 30-amp campsites and all the good ones were occupied. We did see a 15-amp site that was long enough to accommodate us and just set up there. We'll worry about getting the $6 a night difference refunded to us when we check-in.

It's not that pretty, but it'll do for three nights.
Yes Tricia caught the neighbors dog doing his business near our fire pit.
The neighbors quickly came over and cleaned up after I told them what happened.

After getting setup we did what we normally do, go into town and find something to eat. We found a little upscale resturant called The Toastworks and went inside.

About halfway through our meal something that I thought only happens in Key West occured.

We found ourselves sharing the dining room with a pair of live chickens.

MONDAY - Today it's all about the sightseeing, but not just any old sightseeing. No, this is Alaskan sightseeing. That's right for the third and final time we crossed the border from Canada into the U.S. state of Alaska.

There is no Border Check-in on the Alaska side, but the Canadian Border Station reports who it was that entered Canada from Hyder when you return.

There are two sightseeing opportunities we will be checking out today. The first is the United States Forest Service's Fish Creek Wildlife Observation Site where we once again hope to see bears feeding on salmon from the river.

Just 4½-miles outside of the only road that leaves Hyder is a long elevated boardwalk over Fish Creek. We arrived at the very end of the season, they actually suspended the requirement of having to purchase a ticket yesterday, so we got to take a look for FREE.

It's a good thing because we only saw one large grizzly bear feeding on dead fish that he was pulling up from the bottom of the river. He would smell them all until he found one worth eating, which was about every tenth one he examined.

After he found one suitable to eat he would take it over to the opposite shore and place the fish on the river bank.

It looked like he was pausing to give thanks for the fish he was about to eat, BUTT NOOOOOO! (keep your attention on the water behind the bear)

For the rest of the day he was probably wondering, "What is that awful smell?"
I guess eating all that dead fish isn't agreeing with his digestive system!

There was a smaller (but still large) bear who roamed the far riverbank but never once entered the water. I would have been dissappointed if I had paid the $5 ticket fee to see this relatively inactive show.

Everywhere you looked (and smelled) up and down the river there were plenty of dead fish carcasses from the long salmon season which has now ended.

The next item on our sightseeing list requires a little more investment of time, but no money, other than the cost of gasoline.

If you're willing to drive another 18-miles further out of town on a gravel road (because the pavement ends at the Fish Creek Wildlife Observation Site) you'll be rewarded with a view of Salmon Glacier. And what a view it was!

FUN FACT: The Salmon Glacier is actually located back inside Canada. However there are no border crossing offices out on this remote deadend road to pass through. We did see two long abandonded wooden shacks on opposite sides of the road, maybe those were once the crossing agent's offices?


Not a bad seat in the house! They both have a wonderous view.
The upper reaches of the Salmon Glacier decend from the nearby peaks.
In front of this viewpoint the glacier splits and goes left and right.
This is the right hand leg which is much shorter than the left.
This is the "toe" of the left hand channel.
A closer view of the huge chunks of ice that have broken off.
Even closer.
This is the much longer left hand side after the split.
This is the "toe" of the left hand channel.
A closer view of the left hand toe.
There were many smaller glaciers all around us ...
... but nothing that even came close to the size of the Salmon Glacier.
From the viewpoint overlook we could see a hole in the mountain.
We decided to drive further down the road to check it out.
On this stretch of road we saw a cairn that looks very similar to Tricia's new jade piece.
Upon getting close it was apparent this was a manmade hole in the wall.
This must have been an earlier roadway tunnel because I can see light at the other end.
This is a typical section of gravel road you'll need to travel upon to see Salmon Glacier from the overlook.

After spending several hours driving to and from Salmon Glacier we found ourselves back at the Fish Creek Wildlife Observation Site to see if the bears were still feeding. We walked all the way up and down the boardwalk but didn't see any bears.

What we did see was this magnificent American Bald Eagle down by the shoreline. Tricia got a few closeup photos before it took flight to go perch high up in a nearby tree.

On our way back through Hyder we stopped just long enough to snap a few photos of some of the town's original buildings.

This is what hangs on the back side of the
"Welcome to Hyder" banner that hangs over the street as you enter town.

TUESDAY - Tricia is once again experiencing a bad case of "bearpictitis". So this morning we got up early and headed back across the Alaskan Border to see if any bears were present at the boardwalk.

When we arrived we saw a small crew of workers doing repair work to the support structure underneath the boardwalk. As we approached we heard a loud wizz-bang sound, similar to a 4th of July bottle rocket. They were using this device to ward off a pesky bear that kept sneaking up behind them while they were trying to work.

With all that noise going on we figured the bear watching today wasn't going to happen so we turned around and headed home. But a couple of miles back up the road there was a stretch of river visible with a several American Bald Eagles in sight.

So in order to not make this trip across country borders a wasted effort, we stopped and took some additional eagle photos and video to share. Oh yeah, there was a Trumpeter Swan also.

This lone Trupeter Swan was in a nearby pond. You usually always see them in pairs.

This eagle was perched on a log in the river.

This one found a branch he could balance on.

This adult eagle was the only one with something to eat ...

.. but this juvenile was nearby waiting for his turn at eating that salmon.

He got tired of waiting so he took off to find his own fish ...

... only to return a few minutes later to the exact same spot.

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