I think it was just after our ride up the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park that Diana spoke the following line over our helmet intercoms:
“Yeah, um, I think I’m kinda over the whole mountains and trees thing.”
I cringed. We intended to spend the next six weeks or so riding to Alaska and back. Around six thousand miles of mountains and trees.
So yesterday was a welcome change, when she said, “These mountains are way different. They’re sharp. And they’re so BIG!”
We had left our campsite outside Houston (BC, not TX) and headed towards Meziadin Lake, but just on a whim, instead of turning right at the intersection, I decided to turn left and ride about 35 miles west to the town of Stewart. I’m not sure what made me do that, especially since it’s basically a dead-end, and we would have to ride the 35 miles back to the intersection again in the morning.
But it was worth it. What a payoff in scenery.
It turns out that Stewart is about three miles from the border with Alaska. The road crosses to Hyder, Alaska, and then back into Canada to the Salmon Glacier, then ends. You can’t go anywhere else in the rest of Alaska from there by road. And as much as we would have loved to see the glacier, our recent experience with crossing the border into Canada told me I didn’t want to try it again in such a remote place.
It started raining last night, and the temperature dropped. This morning it was still raining, and 48 degrees when we left Stewart. We rode north on the Cassiar Highway in nearly continuous rain. Like the Alaskan Highway, the Cassiar sees a lot of damage over the winter, and work crews spend each summer repairing sections. So we rode through long stretches of dirt (mud) and gravel, and dodged enough potholes to make me feel like I was back in Mexico, all while the temperature continued to drop into the lower 40s.
By mid-afternoon, we were cold and ready for a break. We found a campground on Dease Lake that had a tiny cabin for rent (nothing like the cabin in Moyie Springs, Idaho!). It’s supposed to be similar weather tomorrow, but possibly less rain. We’ll head for Watson Lake tomorrow, and if we aren’t as cold by then, perhaps further.
On the way into Stewart yesterday, we had a couple of black bears cross the road in front of us. Today, Diana counted another eight black bears that were either crossing the road, or standing on the side of the road as we went by. Her new comment: “Okay, I’m over bears. I want to see a moose!”
One moose, coming up…