Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Stewart, BC/Hyder, AK - Stop 35 on our Trek North to Alaska

Dreary, wet weather and road construction resulted in a longer than anticipated drive along The Stewart-Cassiar Highway on Thursday.  But when we turned onto Highway 37A heading toward Stewart, B.C., we were richly rewarded by the captivating beauty of Bear Canyon and Bear Glacier, whose terminus once reached the roadway.

Bear Glacier

Big Boomer Meets Bear Glacier

Up until this evening, we had some very pleasant, sunny weather here in Stewart. This gave us the opportunity to use the motorcycles for touring the town, albeit there is not very much to see.  Like so many other Alaskan and Canadians towns, Stewart's heyday centered around mining, and it once boasted a population of about 10,000.  Today, only about 500 people live here, many of them wearing "multiple hats", running more than one business/holding more than one job.

Upon the suggestion of the British Columbia Travel Guide, we attempted to take the Heritage Walking Tour to see some historic sites/buildings.  Unfortunately, neither the Visitor Center nor the Museum run by the Historical Society had any maps/brochures available.  So we walked a bit aimlessly to find buildings with plaques on them, many of them in disrepair.  But it was fun to catch of glimpse of yesteryear.

We hiked the American Creek Trail, an old mining trail, picking berries along the way.  On the way back, we spotted this mighty waterfall.

We also hiked along Rainey Creek, which connected to some other trails, making a 5-mile hike out of a .9 kilometer nature trail!  A bit of rock scrambling, but we all survived.

Some views from the trails...

We stayed in Bear River RV Park on the outskirts of town.  It met our needs satisfactorily with its 30 amp electric, great water pressure, and sewer line right at the site.  They offered Wi-Fi, but we didn't need to use it--our Verizon service works here in Stewart!

One thing I didn't like about our campground--Fuzzy.  Fuzzy is a furry four-legged feline who picks on my friends something fierce.  He had the nerve to play volleyball with Vivian the Vole! 

Poor Vivian the Vole.  Fortunately, Fuzzy got side-tracked by Mom and Vivian got away.

While walking around town we learned there is a municipal campground right in the heart of Stewart.   It has spacious wooded sites, some of which have electric.  We walked through the campground to check things out--would you believe they even have sites large enough to accommodate our setup!  And, this campground doesn't have Fuzzy!

Just a few miles from Stewart, BC is Hyder, Alaska, "the friendliest ghost town in Alaska".
They weren't kidding!  Most of the homes and businesses appear to be abandoned, and it only has 85 residents.  But they are warm and welcoming to the tourists.

Take, for example, Caroline from Boundary Gallery and Gifts.  She greets you with a homemade fudge sample--won me over right away!  Like my parents, her partner John is a motorcycling enthusiast (he rode from Alabama to Hyder on his Harley), so we all had much to talk about.  Even Sir Joseph the Cat was cordial, treating me respectfully despite me being a rat! 

Sir Joseph is quite regal!

And I would be remiss not to mention Diana from the Seafood Express "Bus".  Over the last 18 years, while her husband and sons fish commercially, she is a one woman dynamo in the kitchen within a converted school bus.   She whips up one helluva chowder that is chock-filled with fresh halibut.  Every order is individually prepared from fresh and/or homemade ingredients. I had the fried halibut fish and chips on my second visit.  Simply de-lish!

Diana's Golden Rules:  No Worry, No Hurry

We took Glacier Highway up to see Salmon Glacier, the fifth largest glacier in North America and the largest glacier in the world accessible by road.  Just spectacular!

And the ride was pretty cool with great views, despite having to travel 23 miles on a gravel, ascending, curvy road through avalanche areas.

Premier Mine Site

The only problem we encountered was dealing with humans with I.Q.s lower than that of a stuffed rat.  They were speeding and zipping by so fast, they created more dust than Pigpen from Peanuts!  Be considerate when driving.  Remember, your speeding along a gravel road could result in someone's windshield breaking!

The biggest attraction in Hyder is watching the spawning salmon and feasting bears at Fish Creek.  We purchased a three-day pass and were fortunate to see two bears during our observation period.  Watching the salmon struggle to get upstream, to complete their mission of procreation before their destiny of death reminded me of a Bible verse:  To every thing there is a season,and a time to every purpose under the heaven; A time to be born, and a time to die...

Watching the bears and birds eat the salmon demonstrates the circle of life, the food chain, how we are all connected in nature.

While at the Fish Creek Observatory, we ran into Brian and Chippy from RVillage.   We haven't seen them since Glacier National Park, so we had fun sharing Alaskan adventure stories.  We were also happy to meet several other folks we correspond with through Escapees/Xscapers, RV Dreamers, and RVillage.  Rving--what a great community!

One crazy thing about visiting Stewart/Hyder--you must pass through Canadian Customs at "Checkpoint Charlie" each time you leave Hyder and re-enter Stewart.  Show me your papers!

We notice that the fireweed has turned to seed, meaning summer is just about over!

Glad we still have two more weeks of fun left in our trip.

Talk to you soon from Smithers, B.C.


  1. Wow...you lucked out with the weather for the Salmon Glacier. We hung around for a couple of hours at Fish Creek and nobody spotted any bears. Great pics.
    Safe travel!

  2. Awesome bear sightings! We cannot wait to get there!