Sunday, July 5, 2009

Yukon Trip 2009 - Day 5 part 1 - Stewart/Cassiar

This may be Day 5 but in reality it is the start of the trip we came this far to do. From here on in there is so much to say and so many pictures to show, that I'll be breaking each day down into sections as up loading photos is time consuming (and believe it or not, I do have other things to do each day)....also the more pictures uploaded at a time, the more chance of something going wrong. So please bear with me, you may have to do some back tracking sometimes to get things in the right order.

I should also mention that the way I am jogging my memory, apart from seeing the pictures, is by having the journal I kept open, the road map we used open, and the Milepost book which I had open on the lap the entire trip and made notes in, also it takes a while to consult everything to make sure I'm getting the story straight!

So, Day 5 we woke up to cloudy skies which accounts for the darkness of many of these pictures....the lighting isn't always what one would desire, but they'll all look better if you bring them up to full screen size. Anyway, back to the story....headed to Kitwanga which is where the junction for the Stewart/Cassiar is located. Filled up the fuel tank and headed north. We'd heard so many conflicting stories about this road and its we are going to find out for ourselves....and to make a long story short - it's just a road, not the horror that some people lead you to believe. This is a view of the Stewart Cassiar highway, it is pretty much this condition, at least all the way to the turn off to Stewart B.C. Two lane, paved, with lots of pull outs. If I have any complaint about this road (and many others) it is that the shoulders are very narrow, the scenery is spectacular, but you can't pull over to take a picture and when you do get to a pull out or rest area, they are down in some hollow so you can't see a thing! I don't know who designs where rest areas and pull outs on highways go, but they sure aren't photographers!

The first shot was looking back, the way we'd come and this was looking ahead, the way we were going.

Just before spotting this bear, we had seen a mother with two cubs, but she didn't stick around for portrait taking! Dandelions are known as 'bear food' in the north country.

76 km from the junction you come to the Cranberry River. Like all the rivers we saw, it was pretty swollen and muddy. There was a rest area here where we ended up talking to a couple from Florida. They and their friends were making the trip from Florida to Alaska. Both driving class B's (camper vans). They were awestruck by our mountains....said back home there were things they called mountains, but they weren't mountains...what we have are mountains! The above photo of the river was taken to the west of the bridge......

this photo was taken from on the had no railings...and no, I wasn't standing on it (are you kidding!?), Ernie stopped the truck so I could take the picture out the window.

The above picture was taken somewhere along the route, prior to reaching the junction to Stewart. We were planning to stay at Meziadin Provincial Park which is situated on the corner where the junction is located, but headed to Stewart first (Meziadin will be part 2 of this report).
Hwy. 37A takes off 156 km from the start of the highway at Kitwanga. I had done this trip, 30 + years ago and knew that there was a large viewpoint and parking lot at the Bear Glacier which is located not to far down the road from the start of 37A.......that is where we planned to stop and have lunch......

Problem was.....when I was last there, it was mid summer.....this was the drive to the viewpoint on May 27th!

not to worry....we pulled in and made lunch anyway. Shantz was delighted to be tied out where she could play in snow. By the way, just because there was snow doesn't mean it was cold - the temperature was perfect, jeans and T-shirt weather.

Sadly, this is the Bear Glacier. Not so many years ago this glacier reached right over and across where the present day highway is located. I remember when I was last here there was only a bit of lake, most of this area was taken up by glacier with big chunks of it floating in the water. In a few more years we'll be saying that this is where the once was a glacier.......
Further down the road, another Black Bear. It ended up being a '6 Bear Day'. This one was busy eating Salmonberry flowers and leaves.

It is about 60 km from the junction to the town of Stewart, which hadn't changed a whole lot, at least as I remember it. Way off in the distance you can just glimpse the head of the Portland Canal that gives Stewart salt water access. Hyder, Alaska is just around the bend of that hill on the right side of the picture (no, we didn't go to Hyder - saw no reason to be 'Hyderized'). This is the large estuary that runs between the salt water and the town itself. There is a lovely long boardwalk that meanders around this estuary....there was also a Visitor Information Center located here, however, not open.

Ernie took the above picture, this would be facing south, the town itself being to the left of the picture.

This picture is looking back towards the town itself, from a portion of the boardwalk. The 'white' in the distance are ours, and the 'turtle caravan' trucks and campers, all parked at the closed info center.

If you've been following this blog, you will remember that I was surprised to find Marsh Marigolds were a native wildflower found in Alberta....well apparently they are found in B.C. too 'cause they were growing out on that estuary!
After wandering around a bit, we found a gas station and topped up the diesel - taking the advice to buy fuel when and where you can in this country....not that we ever came anywhere near having a problem finding or getting low on fuel....we then headed back the way we had come, to find the campground.

Stopped to take this view of Bear Glacier on the way back.......

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