Day 32 – Dease Lake to Hyder, AK

We filled up this morning at the Tin Chicken gas stop, grocery store, outfitter, and breakfast joint.  This was the HIGEST price we have had to pay for gas so far.  It was $1.50 Canadian per liter, which translates to about $4.32 per gallon. BC is noted for the highest cost gas in Canada.

The Tin Chicken Gas, Grocery, Food, and hardware store.

We met a young couple in a 4Runner that are doing some overloading on their way up to Anchorage where he is working with some clients.  They had a nice custom drawer system and a fridge in the back and a Alucab tent on top.   And then a guy from Sacramento pulled up in a nice older land cruiser.  He showed us his work on the vehicle that included a fridge and sink inside the back and had a fold out bed.  The upgrades also included a Diesel engine conversion and he said he now gets 24-26 mpg.  Sure would be nice to get those….  35% cost cut in fuel on this trip.  That would be nice.

This cool land cruiser conversion to diesel gets 24mpg

We made it to Stewart about 1 PM local time and took a look at the port town.  It has some beautiful places and is a quaint community.  I would like to definitely return here and stay at the local inn and bed and breakfast.  The buildings were easy 1900’s but inside were modernized and clean.  I had a chance with the LTE service to talk to my wife, Kristina, and we had a great conversation.  It was really cool because the town had a 1 mile boardwalk path over the estuary so I got to view the grasslands and marshes of the estuary.  I actually saw some salmon yearlings (I cannot remember the names) in the river pools.

Bear glacier near Steward, British Comumbia

Carl and I tried to get a bite to eat, but the restaurant that had an Open sign was actually closed so we just made lunch out of the back of the truck.  I used the last of the pork tenderloin, a spicy sausage, noodles and tomato soup to make a delicious concoction.

Steward, BC

We headed across the unmanned border into Alaska again (for the last time) into the town or Hyder.  I is labeled “the friendliest ghost town in Alaska”.  We drove through to the wildlife viewing platform, but since the salmon are not running for a couple more weeks, nothing was there.  Apparently this is the place to go to watch the black and grizzly bears catch and eat the salmon headed up for spewing.  Oh well.

A very nice hotel in Steward, BC

We continued up the road, which turned to dirt, and then back into Canada.  We drove the 18 miles or so up the road to points above the Salmon glacier, which is the fifth largest in North America.  It is impressive to say the least.  I took a few moments to just feel the mass of ice below me and of course took lots of pictures.  

Salmon glacier, BC. 5th largest in Canada

I decided to ride my bike down the hill after some suggestion from Carl.  I suited up and got my bike out and rode down the 3000 feet elevation road to the bottom.  About 1/3 of the way into it, a black bear was in the road so I slammed on my brakes.  He didn’t want to go into the bushes and after several minutes, sauntered out of my way.  About that time Carl came up in the truck and provided blocking from the bear as I continued down.  I rode fro about 45 minutes to the bottom and wanted to get the bike cleaned in the river.  As I was looking for a good spot, another black bear was blocking the road, so I just took the bike apart, loaded it into the truck and we got out of dodge.

Just a cool bear trying to have a snack along the road.

On our way out of Hyder, Carl found a group of folks convened in a garage, so we stopped to speak to the.  Well about 2 hours later, some beer, tons of laughs, and hand shakes, we decided to head back on the road southward.  

And finally, finally, on our way back we saw our first grizzly on the side of the road.  We couldn’t get a good picture, but man was he a big guy.  We hope to see more, but that was a memory you cannot take away.  AND, by the way, it was in CANADA.  We are convinced there are few bears in Alaska.

We stopped about an hour up the road at a pull off and set camp for the night.  What a memorable day.

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