Thursday, June 30, 2016

Close Encounters Of The Bear Kind

Not everything is smaller than you remember it from as a child.  I haven't been to Barkerville since the mid-70's and there is way more stuff there than I remember.  We got up early enough to get to the site before it officially opened but the guard had the side gate open so the early risers like us could have breakfast at Wake Up Jakes.  We were also able to wander around for the hour or so we had before heading north and west to Smithers for that night's layover.  It was not nearly enough time.

There were a couple of options open as we headed West out Smithers with a stop at the Ksan village in Hazelton winning by a strong consensus.   A trip up the Nass valley will have to wait for the next time - and there will be a next time.

After a remarkably informative few hours we were off again to this time to Stewart where there are 2 (yes 2) glaciers that you can drive up to.  The first is the Bear Glacier which is on the main highway into town.

The second is the Salmon Glacier on the other side of town, which while it is in Canada requires a short drive through the USA to reach.  Funny enough there is no border inspection going into Hyder Alaska from Stewart but there sure is an overly inquisitive Canadian border agent waiting for you on your ride back to Canada.

Just after leaving the Bear Glacier overlook heading into Stewart a pickup truck approached us with its lights flashing and all manner of arms and hands waving out the windows.  I flashed back in acknowledgement and starting scanning the road ahead.  The large black mass that initially registered as a shadow upon closer inspection transformed into a bear.  A bear that happened to be half parked (the back half) on the road while devouring a large entanglement of ditch side berries.  Keeping a wide berth in the other lane we all managed to pass by without disturbing her meal and carried on into town.  It would not be the last nor closest bear encounter we would have on this trip.

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