We started our day at the Visitor Center in Stewart where we picked up brochures to learn more about this area and others we have yet to visit.
Across the street is a small grocery store with unique decorations on its roofline.
We crossed the unmanned (in this direction) border to Hyder and stopped at the Post Office. It’s housed in a mobile home underneath a large free-standing roof.
Both Stewart and Hyder observe Pacific Time to simplify life, but the P.O. is a U.S. Federal institution, so it has to operate on Alaska Time, one hour earlier than Pacific. We arrived a few minutes before 11 am Alaska Time. However, we learned that the staff observe Pacific Time for a lunch break, and that they left early today. So we had to return later.
Lunch was at Seafood Express, aka the famous “Bus.” In 1998 Jim and Diana Simpson created a fish and chips restaurant in a school bus, with covered outdoor seating.
Later they added indoor seating in a building behind it.
The seafood is fresh and prepared to order. It was yummy! They also sell fresh seafood out of another building next door. Don bought some smoked salmon, but they didn’t have enough fresh salmon to sell, other than as meals in the restaurant.
We then drove beyond Hyder to Fish Creek, following a self-guided driving tour.
They protect a section of road where bears come out of the mountains to catch fish. No walking or parking is allowed.
Fish Creek offers visitors a view of spawning salmon and both Grizzly and Black bears.
Several very serious photographers were toward the far end of the deck. It takes a lot of patience to photograph wildlife.
We saw a lot of fish, and an eagle, but no bears. Marilyn and Larry went back this evening to see if they can spot a bear. Here are a few of the many pictures I took.
The water was clear, but the fish moved fast, so a lot of my pictures turned out blurry.
There are at least 19 salmon in the picture below.
I caught the eagle in a distant tree initially, before he flew down to the river. It’s an immature Bald Eagle (it hasn’t yet developed the distinguished white head).
The eagle found a fish carcass to munch on, but this picture makes him look more dignified.
It was an amazing place and a peaceful treat to see these wonderful fish return to spawn in the same creek where they were born.
There was also a wide variety of trees, with berries and moss adding color.
We returned to the U.S.-Canada border, where this 1896 storehouse stands on the U.S. side. It’s the only one of 4 similar buildings that has been restored, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The international boundary marker, resembling a miniature Washington Monument, sits about 10 feet away.
Each storehouse bore a dressed stone with the following message cut into it: “U.S. Property, Do Not Injure.”
It’s easy to cross this border; there’s rarely any waiting time, and the border agents are friendly. Their main concern is whether we’re carrying any guns, but we didn’t even get that question today.
The two towns sit beneath tall mountains, with several hanging glaciers. Although we still had some clouds today, we were able to see a little more clearly.
We almost decided to skip this side trip and save the 80 miles roundtrip from the Cassiar Highway. But several people wrote emails and blog comments, saying “Don’t miss Hyder.” Thanks for the recommendations; I’m so glad we came to see these unique sights!