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Yukon to British Columbia

August 14, 2013

Canada – Day 2 of drive back to Lower 48 – Friday, August 2

I went over to the campground office and registered since they had been closed last night, and then Tula and I took a little walk around the campground by the lake. The owners of the campground live in Ontario and drive west each summer for June, July and August to run the campground. They’ve got a beautiful waterfront location. The camp office had wi-fi and I got on the computer for a few minutes and found out that niece Erin had a healthy baby boy yesterday! So I’m a great-aunt for the third time – and will have one more great-nephew in September. This generation is starting off with all boys; yet when my girls and their cousins were born, it was all girls at first. I guess it all more or less evens out in the end!

Then I continued my drive through southern Yukon, passing the very tempting turn-offs for Haines, Alaska and Skagway, Alaska. They’re too far away to make a little side trip back into Alaska, so will have to be added in to my next journey north! After driving 160 miles or so, I came into Whitehorse again, which is the capital of the province, and I like the city – even though it’s the capital, it still has kind of a small town feel. I decided to go back into the visitor center to talk with them about the 2 possible routes I can choose from for my southbound drive through British Columbia. When I drove up to Alaska, I came from Montana, but on my southbound trip, I’ll be heading toward Washington, so in a couple hundred miles I’ll be parting ways from the route I took on the northbound journey. The 2 “highways” are about equal in length – both will have some roadwork and construction going on – but she did say I might see some bears near Stewart if I took the western route, which I was leaning toward.

It was a beautiful day out, and I saw the river walk by the Takhini River, so Tula and I set off for a walk to stretch our legs a bit. I can’t help but seek out good walking places! There was a cute little trolley taking other visitors around town. We took quite a long walk, and then I ran into a couple of people about my age who were trying to figure out whose turn it was to take a picture by a totem pole. I offered to take one of both of them, so they gave me 2 cameras and then we got to chatting. I was heading southbound along the route they just came up, and they were heading northbound along the route I have been on, so we compared notes. I asked them if they had seen bears in Stewart (I didn’t really know why bears were around that place in particular), and I got a very surprising answer. The good bear viewing isn’t necessarily in Stewart; they’re just over the border in Hyder, Alaska, which was practically right on my way! The bears come to Hyder because the salmon have just started their upstream swimming to spawn, so the fishing is good! They mentioned wooden viewing platforms for people to quietly watch all the salmon, and the bears that go fishing for them. They had waited in Hyder for 2 days without seeing anything, because the salmon were a little late in starting their run, and then they had to leave, but they’ve since heard that the salmon have appeared. Plus Hyder was the take-off point for a drive up a mountain to see the 5th largest glacier in North America. Talking to them absolutely cemented my decision as to which highway to take south! I had no idea there was a very remote Alaskan village that I could see in a day or so! Driving through British Columbia is the only way to get to that little Alaskan village by land.

After our walk, and talking with those people, I decided to sit down in a Starbucks for a while to add another post or 2 to the blog while I was in civilization – I’m very aware of falling behind, and even though I shouldn’t have “wasted” good driving time, it’s important to me to try to not fall any farther behind than I already am. So I made a little headway with computer stuff, and then Tula and I drove about another 300 miles or so on roads that were a little better than yesterday. I saw another porcupine near a gravel area by the road, and got out for a little closer look. It’s only the second one I’ve ever seen, and they’re kind of bizarre looking. It waddled off, and I followed it a little ways at a distance – I have no idea how far they can shoot their quills and I didn’t want to annoy it too much. The quills are kind of formed in a circle around their hind end, and their entire body looks bristly. It makes me wonder what kind of natural predators they have. After a little more driving, I came to Big Creek Provincial Park, which had a campground, and stopped for the night. The campsites were by a river and some woods, and the mosquitoes were a little worse than usual, so I got set up in record time – I would like to have left the back vents open to listen to the river at night, but I had to defer to the mosquitoes. I’ve mostly been driving east these last couple of days, but I’ve also come far enough south to notice a little more darkness around midnight. I’m guessing by tomorrow night, there’ll actually be a couple hours of darkness at night!

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