Saturday, August 6, 2011

Last Day in Alaska

We bid Alaska goodbye this evening, after first entering the state on May 23, Day 7 of our trip (that began in Dawson Creek, BC on May 16 at Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway). We went to Skagway for a couple of days, then returned to Canada before entering Alaska again on Top of the World Highway. Today is Day 83, and we’ve covered over 4600 miles since leaving Dawson Creek. We’ve moved in and out of the state during the intervening 76 days, as we traveled between Alaska and the northwest Canadian Provinces bordering it (British Columbia and Yukon Territory). Yes, it’s goodbye until the next time, but not before spending a wonderful day seeing new sights.

We drove from Stewart, B.C. to Hyder, Alaska, past the Fish Creek Wildlife Viewing Area, and back into B.C., with the border marked only by a small sign. Our destination was the Salmon Glacier, but we saw some wonderful scenery on the way there.


We saw ruins of the Riverside Mine, established in 1922 with 4,000 feet of tunnels built during the next two years. It was operated until 1961 and was at one time the most productive property in Alaska for silver and copper.


The road passed beside the Premier Mine, but we got a better view of it after following the road to the other side of the Salmon River Valley.


Everywhere there were wonderful views of mountains, snow, ice, trees, fireweed and clouds.





The Salmon Glacier is the fifth largest glacier in North America. It borders on Alaska, but it’s in British Columbia. The toe of the glacier shows ridges that makes it look like someone has driven on it with a very large vehicle. These ridges are made of Till, composed of rock debris carried by the slow moving river of ice.


Below the toe of the glacier are small ponds known as Kettles. They are formed by melting of buried ice blocks that are stranded on the terminal moraine after the glacier recedes.


This is near the top of the glacier.


This side view gives an idea of how deep the ice is.


When we reached the top, we discovered that the glacier took a 90 degree turn and goes uphill quite a bit farther.


That’s one huge glacier!




Author and photographer Keith Scott was at the summit selling DVDs and postcards.


On the way back, we stopped at Fish Creek again to see if any bears were present. Serious and patient photographers seemed to have become tired of waiting for bears. Or maybe they saw the bear we missed about 45 minutes earlier and decided to take a break.


I found another variety of fungus growing on the decking structure.


Chum Salmon are still spawning in the clear water.


Since it didn’t seem likely that we’d see a bear, we decided it was time to return to our RV park and enjoy happy hour in the sunshine.


Shadow got a few treats, and enjoyed rolling on his back in the lush grass.


We returned to Hyder and took a look at the Glacier Inn, recommended for dinner by our RV park host.



It looked too much like a beer hangout, so we went to check out another place in town, a hotel with a restaurant. I didn’t have a chance to get a picture of it because Don went in the door and back out so fast! Yes, another beer hangout. So we left Hyder, “the friendliest Ghost Town in Alaska,” for the last time.


Back in Stewart, Don stopped at the Bitter Creek Café that looked interesting.



Entering through what looked like an antique store/museum, we were impressed.



Service was prompt and helpful. The walls in the dining room were lined with relics from years past. Did you know there were snowshoes for horses? Horses had to be trained from a young age to use them. Here are two styles.



An interesting collection of coffee/food grinders graced another wall.


The food couldn’t have been better – fresh and full of flavor!


It was a generous serving of Red Snapper for the fish tacos! And it was delicious, along with the avocado, cole slaw, rice pilaf and spicy beans. The Lighthouse in Haines should take note.


Marilyn had the same fish tacos, and Larry had fajitas. We all enjoyed our meals – I’m so glad Don found this place! What a great way to end our day. And I’m so happy we visited Stewart and Hyder!


  1. Great views of the glacier. The day we visited it was cold, wet, and foggy. Your meal looks yummy. What route will you be taking next? We are in Prince George, but heading south to Cache Creek on Sunday night and then on to the Osoyoos border crossing. BTW, PG has lots of RV service facilities we spotted in case you need your jacks worked on. Safe travels.

  2. I'm going to miss all of your spectacular photos of Alaska! It's been great fun traveling along with you on your 3 month adventure. Thanks for taking us all along with you!!


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