Thursday, October 23, 2014

2014 Alaska Done - Part 4 of 10

Part 4 of 10

Stewart BC and Hyder AK
The Bear Glacier
Mooses and Invisible Mountain Goats

Stewart BC and Hyder AK

From Mezadin Junction on 37N a road leads west to Stewart BC and Hyder AK. The ride takes about one and a half hours . It has rugged mountain scenery with close-up views of the Bear Glacier; various ice-falls and the tumbling bear river that characterizes the route. The road conditions were much better than we had been led to believe . I was monitoring my odometer with an eagle eye and I was maintaining a steady 80 KPH to conserve fuel. As the number of kilometers decreased as I approached Stewart I became less concerned that I would run out of gas. Alas!..There it was just waiting for me on the main street of Stewart was a gas station and it was open. Unlike Vancouver, however, you filled your gas tank and then you went inside to pay for it. The pumps took no credit cards – no pre-authorizations – no pin numbers – and no tiny screens telling you that you messed up. Your credit card or cash was happily accepted inside the station with a smile and a pleasant greeting. There's a lot to be said about the old ways. The King Edward hotel was just down the street and our rooms had been confirmed for the night. A little beyond that was the town of Hyder, AK. I could have easily walked, danced, skipped or jogged right into Hyder but we decided to get our bikes and ride in style. It was truly a Golden moment. My photo shown here under the “Welcome to Alaska” sign is included as evidence to prove that I actually got there – finally. It was July 16, 2014. Neil Armstrong had TV coverage to verify his moon landing. All I have is a photo from my new camera.

Bear Glacier

When leaving Stewart early the next morning we made it a point to stop at the well-know Bear Glacier. There wasn't much traffic so we parked our bikes to take a close-up look at the Glacier. The first thing I noticed was that it became noticeably cooler as I approached it on foot. I've seen bigger glaciers but this one was unique in the way it snaked up between the mountains. It was also mid-July after a scorching summer in Southern BC with near record hot temperatures so I would doubt that it would look anything like this mid-winter. However, it was ideal for taking photographs due to the morning sun rising in the east and literally “illuminating” the glacier and giving it a “glowing” effect. What a treat!

Mooses, Foxes, and Invisible Mountain Goats

The Bear glacier was not the only thing of special interest on this stretch of Highway. I observed more different varieties of species collectively than I saw throughout the entire Alaska/Yukon trip. It was the first time in my life that I cruised at idling speed behind a fully grown female moose trotting along in a non-nonchalant fashion in the middle of the road. I could have stayed behind her all morning but she saw fit to trot-off into the bush a little while later. I was hoping that I hadn't spooked her. Deer became almost a problem as they sprung out of the foliage and pranced towards the far side of the road with no sense at all about highway safety rules. I saw a family of foxes playing at the side of the road. Black bears were in abundance but they generally kept a discreet distance to one side of the road or the other. The most fascinating of all were the mountain goats that blended perfectly into the side of the mountain. I was so impressed that I pulled over to take a photo of them as shown. This was not an easy thing to do since they had a tenancy to disappear through the viewfinder of my camera. Nevertheless, I persevered. You can see the young moose very clearly but how many Mountain Goats are you able to count? Their camouflage is very affective – isn't it?

Word Count 701

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