Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Stewart-Hyder, BC-AK

Along the road to Stewart-Hyder Steve had a flat.  So as we and two other fellow RV'ers pitched in and helped with the change.  Steve had some back problems earlier in the tour, so we surely didn't want him to aggravate it again.  And it only took about 30 minutes to change.
Del suggests a few things to expedite the change, as Joan looks on.
We had a mixed weather day to travel, but for the most part it was cloudy and light rain.
Also along the way, and very near Stewart was this large glacier.  We saw several of these over the next few miles.  They are just so awesome.
OK, we finally get our chance to view the big brown bears, and it's the larger "Kodiak" version that reside along the coastal regions of Canada & Alaska.  The interiors of those places have brown bears that are blond & smaller.  Diet alone causes the difference in their size, and the color of each is Mother Nature's way of allowing them to blend, in their respective habitats.  I guess she knows what she's doing!  :-) 
Our first evening at the Bear River RV Park, we skedaddled over to Hyder (Alaska) to the Tongass National Forest visitor center and didn't waste any time in strolling down the walkway to view old Dogbear, a 15 year old bruin.  The volunteer there told us his name.  And he was huge, 450-500 pounds.  Wow!  The pic doesn't do a fair representation as to how big he really is, as it's difficult to gain a perspective with nothing to compare him to.
The walkway was built to protect the visitors as the bears roam the creek bed, just below the walkway in search of berries & salmon.  And both are plentiful here.  Below, he resembles a big bull.
And just behind the walkway no more than 20 feet away along the ATV path was this black bear.  What a treat.
In Stewart, at Maya's grocery, we sat out on the little veranda and did our Internet thing several times during our stay at the RV park as theirs didn't work.
And this was our view as we sat on the veranda.  Stewart-Hyder sits between these huge coastal mountains.
From Wiki:  Gold and silver mining dominated the early economy. Nearby Hyder, Alaska, boomed with the discovery of rich silver veins in the upper Salmon River basin in 1917 and 1918. Hyder became an access and supply point for the mines, while Stewart served as the port for Canadian mining activity, which was centred on the town of Premier, which was accessed by a 14 mile road from Hyder. Other mines in the area were the Jumbo, BC Silver, Red Cliff, and Porter-Idaho. More large camps were south of Stewart at Anyox and Maple Bay.
This was a view of the pond/creek behind the walkway that fed into the larger creek in front of the walkway.  The larger creek is the one where all the bears roamed.
Below is a pic of Vera, a nine year old female.  She was a little smaller than old Dogbear, but still had a voracious appetite.
Above is Jaws, a large bruin that is very shy.  He apparently got into a fight a few years back and sustained a nasty tear below his chin, and it left a piece of his jaw hanging, so, Jaws.  :-(  He never did come in front of the walkway as he spooks easily.  Even a flash (not allowed of course) will send him running down the creek.
It was amazing how close we were to these enormous creatures.  They were curious at times when they noticed us, which wasn't very often.  They were too busy looking for berries and THE right Chum Salmon.
We had us a good old fashioned chili cook off the next evening back at the RV park.  There were several entrants, but yours truly put together a couple of gallons of his recipe and won the competition.  We won a Calgary Stampede backpack.
Wagon master Ben then got up and delivered a woeful poem (just kidding Ben) & then proceeded to pass on "Teddy" to Sammy, our "Robert Service" of the tour.
And she was emotionally overwhelmed to receive the honor.
After the cook off we were back in Hyder at the walkway.  And as soon as we got there, a large black bear greeted us on the far side of the pond/creek.  He appeared to be posing for us.
Not sure who this big female brown was, but she was actively bulking up for the long cold winter that is not to far away.  We were just amazed at how close we could get to these big bears.
They could gobble up these berries, but did it so delicately. 
Each evening was a treat for most of the folks in our group.  We all snapped away and will show these pics for years to come, as it certainly be a vivid memory for all of us.  It will serve as one of our highlights for our tour.
This bear was no more than 20 feet from us.  She looked right at me several times as she was devouring a few salmon.  Fish Breath!
Above, after her fish-fry, she lumbered on under the bridge and up the side of the mountain to her secret hideaway for a relaxing cigar, a shot of Cognac and nice long nap.  :-)
Next morning had about half of our group taking a walking tour of Stewart with a local, Shirley, who shared with us her knowledge of the history and a viewing of some of the old houses of the town.  Above is the museum where we met her.  Note Nick viewing the large glacier atop the mountain.
Shirley, above, is to the left.  We had us another gorgeous day for our two-hour walk.  Below is the ice cream parlor.  No time for that just yet.
The old Empress Hotel, that was open for three years only and has remained inactive for nearly 80 years.
Many of the homes had been moved, lifted & and restored for habitation by the locals, or folks moving into town for a few months and moving to back to southwest US for the winters.  Below the old Anglican Church building.
Next morning we had us a cook out again.  Ham, eggs, pancakes and left over chili from the night before.  Chili topped the eggs.  Yummy!
Next morning we drove to the copper mining district about 25 miles past the Tongass NF and on into BC again.  Along the way we stopped atop the mountain for a look down at another awesome glacier.  That's right, a look down!
Below is a telephoto view of the huge mogul-type ice packs in the glacier.  I'm told these moguls are 40-50 feet tall.
Here, an old tunnel used many years ago and was quite amusing to us.  We had a little fun poking around for 15 minutes or so.
Above, to the left & down was the glacier.  Below, I am down the hill a few yards looking up
The views were just spectacular up here.
At the end of the road was the Granduc Copper mine.  Still active, but needing a partner, we learned from Shirley earlier, in order to be productive once again.
Steve & Cliff gabbing a bit while taking in the scenes...
Well, guess I better close this blog for now, as I could just go on forever showing you pics and typing words.  More pics are available at my photo website, and can be viewed via the link thru the header photo at the top of this blog.  So, from Jasper, Alberta, at Tim Horton's on the way home, RVing Beach Bums.  Next blog will be the final blog of our Fantasy RV Tour, and it ends in Prince George, BC.