I made a mad dash through British Columbia and had a plan to travel up the Stewart-Cassiar Highway toward the Yukon.
One of the great recommendations from nearly everyone is to take a 67 mile diversion to Hyder Alaska..
Why not.. I've never been to Alaska, I am so excited to go there.. on this road I can not STAY there, but come back on the same road back into Canada. However the highlight to this diversion is that I'm likely to see more bears around here because they are protected.. Do I want to do this??
This guy just looked at me and said "Whatever, I'd rather eat my tree than you!" ;-)
Well, that's either a dog or another bear up ahead!
Scaredy cat... it's blurry but I had to include this photo because I loved his little bear feet pads.
All up I saw 4 bears on my way down the road.. and the following day I saw 2. They were just like any wild animal and more scared of me than I was of them, and other than the first one, none stayed still for photos. Even though I considered it, I didn't see the point of getting off my bike and chasing a bear into the woods so I can get a better photo.. ;-/
In general I am really glad to see these bears though.. They are not as big as I imagined and they are not as scary as I imagined. I actually feel like now, if I'm not a total idiot and leave food or toothpaste in my tent, it's as though I don't feel I would panic as much if I heard a bear sniffing around my tent at night. I still hope it doesn't happen, just saying I shouldn't be ridiculously worried about it, which I have been.
One thing I will stop quickly for are these gorgeous glaciers along this road! I feel like this part of the world can be called the "Sherri Jo's Glacier Tour"! ;-) This one is just spectacular!!
I arrived Stewart, had a quick look around this tiny town, then carried on to Hyder Alaska.
My first stop was this pub (picture below), of where I knew from research had camping and I was ready to stop for the night. There was not a single other camper let alone tent around. So I went down the road to another camping option which had a few RV's. I asked about camping here in a tent and they said, "Oh, you don't want to do that". And I asked why? They said there are too many bears around. Well, the absolute cheapest room I could get in HIS hotel was $90 and that wasn't going to work for me.
So I went back to the RV camp owner, who is the same guy as the pub owner, and said I will have to find a way to camp here tonight.. and then he said, "We can't have tents here. The people in the RV's will complain because people in tents are cheap". I just looked at that guy, couldn't believe that came out of his mouth and walked away.
And this comes from a place that uses a mobile home for a post office!
I also enquired at 3 more places about where I might be able to stay tonight.. They ALL said to not camp in a tent. A man was killed here just last summer. Okay then, maybe I do have to pay the $90? I asked one more man at the small dusty hardware store about camping, and he said the same, except he added.. "Well nobody else has really been killed here except that guy and the reason he got nailed by the bear was because he got drunk in his tent and threw up on himself"... Disgusting!!
I don't see this being repeated by me!!
So I came to a new idea.. I am literraly only 4 miles away from going BACK to Stewart Canada. I decide to cross back through the border and check out my camping options there, not because I expect less bears in such a short distance, but because I didn't want to be in a grass patch by myself behind the pub all night NOR was I going back to the stupid RV guy.
However, I was SO excited for the possibility of camping in Alaska!! Therefore, I rode away disappointed...
So there was a really nice and normal campground in Stewart.. the attendant said to take the precautions, there are bears around that wander through, but I should not die tonight because a bear wants to eat me. Whatever.. bears or not, I'm tired and set up tent.
When I did this, the people in the only other tent here came and asked if they could set up near me because they were scared.. I was happy for them to, better for both of us! It's really quite dense woods here, and a beautiful creek running right behind my tent site.. Magical really!
I couldn't get a photo to show both, but there was a mountain through the trees and straight up was this patch of blue glacier ice.. and I'd look down and see purple mushrooms. VERY magical and now I feel like Alice in Wonderland!!!
I survived the night (of course) and knew ahead of time that this was going to be a full rain day. And I had a super huge ride ahead of me today. So I packed up somewhat in the dark early morning rain and hit the road.
I laugh at this photo below because I look so ridiculous, wet and cold the whole day completely miserable. I point a camera to myself in the rain and being a creature of habit.. I smile.. It's a lie!! I was not happy this day!! ;-) You know, I don't want to sound too much like a woosey rider. But I had been traveling for weeks across America and Canada in hot summer sun, no rain. This was just my first full day back to reality of cool wet weather. I've had many rain days before and since then, plus I have many more ahead of me.. (just wanted to clarify that as this is the perfect place for me to whinge to someone other than myself about it..ha! ;-)
I made it to the end of the Stewart-Cassiar Highway.. far too wet and cold, I decided to do hotel tonight. Quite expensive here and was not keen to pay the price, but I was a bugger of a guest and got my money's worth. Took the tent in and hung it from the curtains to dry out from the night before, the dirty wet tarp I washed off in the tub and hung from the shower curtain.. turned up the heat and let all my wet gear and myself dry out. Got a really cheap bad meal at the pub next door, then went to bed.. you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes.
My goal today is to make it to Whitehorse and stay with another great facebook friend, Shelley Williamson!
Welcome to Whitehorse!! and...... here is the horse!
Whitehorse, the town is actually not named after a horse at all. If I had to assume and guess, I'd say it may be the name of a First Nations Chief. However, the term "white horse" comes from the standing wave or whitecaps the stampeders during the gold rush would deal with in the river rapids just outside town. River traffic was the most used form on transportation on the Yukon River until road and air options could be established.. Eventually Whitehorse became the capitol of the entire Yukon Territory.
Isn't it cool?? A local artist had literally just finished this awesome work of art this year.
Shelley shows me around this very Yukon town of Whitehorse.. a fascinating place really. We are nearly at the same latitude as Anchorage Alaska.
In the 1800's, the discovery of GOLD is what brought so many people here. They called them stampeders, as many of 30,000 people came into the area at the first word of the discovery. This place that Shelley shows me, Miles Canyon, was the most difficult part for them to get through. They'd come on rafts or small boats with supplies and would only be lucky to make it through this fast moving rock walled canyon. Several men drowned.
Eventually the men were stopped upstream and could only pass through this canyon if they hired a skilled pilot. A few years later they managed to build a horse-drawn tramway to bypass the canyon completely.
Shelley was a fantastic host.. nice big warm house, great food and funny stories. I was so glad she invited me for a visit. Amazing lady who is now in Africa helping the people there.
Next stop, The Arctic Circle!! ;-)