Sunday, June 16, 2013

Don't forget to click on the photos to enlarge them.

We left Smithers three days ago and now we’re in Stewart, B.C. Gone are all the pretty hay farms, replaced by the rugged, snow covered Coast Range.

Along the way we saw our first two bears. This is a young black bear (yes, I know he’s brown) weighing about 200 pounds. He was grazing along the roadside so we got a good look at him. 

 We stopped for photos of  Moricetown Canyon Falls.  During the salmon run, local Indians still catch salmon with a long gaf hook here.  Really pretty spot.

While we were at the falls we saw the following billboard. For more than a decade, young women have disappeared or have been found slain along Highway 16 in northern BC. It’s happening along a quiet stretch of Highway 16, now dubbed the Highway of Tears. Most of the women are aboriginal and were last seen hitchhiking. At least 16 young women have disappeared. Billboards dot the highway warning young women about the dangers of hitchhiking. I don't know how young women can even consider hitchhiking given all the disappearances and murders.

 We also passed Bear Glacier. By northwest standards it’s pretty small, but it’s still impressive.
Along the way we saw lots of waterfalls.  Last time we were here was August 2010. By then the snow melt was gone and things were looking dry. But this time we’re early, so there are lots of waterfalls and no bears. The bears are all busy fighting and making babies and won't show up until the middle of July when the salmon are running.
So Stewart is a small town of about 500 people. It sits at the head of the Portland Canal. The town has a small fishing port. Our niece Jeanne (brother Bill's girl) has purchased a condo in Honolulu with a glorious view of the Honolulu yacht club. So in an effort to keep up with "Joneses"  we are thinking of purchasing a place here with a view of Stewart's yacht club. What do you think???????
Back in Stewart we walked out on the boardwalk into the estuary. Loads of birds and views. Maggie loved the boardwalk.

We crossed the US/ Canada border and drove through Hyder to Salmon Glacier. We stopped at the Fish Creek Bear Observatory for some quick birding. Here is a photo of a Merganser hen with her 6 chicks. Too cute! Every where we go there are baby ducks paddling around in ponds.

The road to the glacier starts in Hyder, Alaska at sea level and follows the Salmon River to the Salmon Glacier at 4,300 ft. The road goes by several old gold mines which have been operating since the 1920. In 2010 the road to the glacier was not so good. Now it’s either paved or well graded. Twenty six miles later we arrive at the Salmon Glacier overlook.

The view is so different this time with tons of snow on the mountains. It was a perfect day - 81 degrees, a nice breeze, stunning views and a picnic! Met a young couple from Switzerland who spend their summers in Hyder as bear managers. After seeing how stupid tourists can be around the bears it’s easy to understand why the National Park Service hires someone to manage the interaction between bears and people. On the ride back down the hill we took lots of photos of waterfalls.

This drive did help us answer a burning question - do bears shit in the woods? The answer is no (based on all the bear poop on the road.) Every 50 feet there was a pile of poop. Either there are a lot of bears here or one bear has a serious problem.

We also drove back to Bear Glacier to photograph this beauty.

While Jim took pictures I did some birding. The mosquitoes and horse flies were awful. I had to wear a mosquito net over my head to fend off the voracious, blood thirsty bugs! While standing there I had a tiny Calliope Hummingbird fly right up to me. It darted back and forth several times. Guess it couldn’t figure out what it was seeing.

So tomorrow we are off to Dease Lake. We’re slowly working our way north and as we do the days keep getting longer. Won’t be long before the north will face 57 days of the sun never setting! Glad I remembered to bring the blackout shades for the bedroom.

1 comment:

  1. I'm very interested in your Calliope Hummingbird observation that you mention above. Were you still in Hyder at that moment, or were you back in BC at the Bear Glacier? Many thanks in advance!