July 2019 – Cassiar Highway, with a detour

We decided to turn right before Watson Lake and jump on the Cassiar Highway heading South on our way back to the lower 48. This is the other route into and exiting Alaska. It’s 450 miles from beginning to end, down what seemed like a country lane with soft shoulders before we arrived at Mountain Shadows Campground in Iskut. We’re really in the backwoods of British Columbia now with little to no cell or internet

Upon our arrival our neighbor told us about a family of 4 bald eagles nesting not far from the campground. Walter, our neighbor was from Killington VT,  and was familiar with Steve’s cousins who runs the ski operation there.

We saw both parent eagles but missed the flying lessons they were giving the young’uns earlier

Also on the grounds was a sea-plane ready for takeoff

Scrambling for food tonight, we’re very low on supplies and not a grocery store or restaurant for miles.

We left Mountain Shadows the following morning, only after an incident at the dump station, having to watch the campers ahead of us miss the hole.

A side trip off the Cassiar Highway took us down route 37A and to the small border town of Stewart.

On the way we were treated to a view of Bear Glacier and similar to all the glaciers we’ve seen are receding at a fast rate.

Bear Glacier

Stewart is very sparsely populated with employment deriving from mining or logging. They have a huge logging storage facility and trucks are constantly driving in town hauling logged trees where they are shipped out to Asian markets.

We had a nice campsite at Bear River RV park and found ourselves once again parked next to Walter and Penny from the night before.

Bear River RV Park

Not much going on in town, but they did have a grocery store and a restaurant so we were saved from starvation.

Stewart BC

Another view of the hustle and bustle of Stewart

Decided to drive into the next town, Hyder AK, a mile away, and we were back in the US again. There’s no customs on this border as there’s literally no-where to go from here, but there’s customs on the return into Canada.

We’d ordered our mail to be forwarded to the Post Office in Hyder and what a cute little place it was.

This was just down the road from a viewing platform where you can watch the bears catching salmon as they swim upstream to spawn here. Unfortunately we were too early for coho and too late for king salmon, but we did meet some nice people. The coho salmon were due any day and the bears were seen dropping by to see if they’d arrived

Now, we’re taking a side trip from our side trip as we drove on Rte 37A toward Salmon Glacier. It was a 16 mile drive on a gravel road

But, boy, was it worth the trip. It looks like a back-drop

On the way back to town we had to stop at the Seafood Express, affectionately known as the “The Bus” for lunch. The owner is a one-woman show, after her husband has fished, they close up shop for the day to clean and prepare the catch, then she cooks all meals to order, one at a time. She told us she’d served 95 meals the previous day. It took an hour to get our meal, but it gave us a chance to meet all her other customers. No-one’s in a rush here, and express it’s not, and when we finally got our halibut it was fresh and delicious

Open air concept house across from the Post Office

And the store who sells everything, you just have to coerce the owner to come from out in the back to serve you, and you have to promise to buy something  to make it worth his while, he doesn’t like to be interrupted from what he’s doing in his workshop.

I think he’s one of the s—heads this sign was referring to.

This turned out be a great side-trip and wouldn’t have missed for anything. The lady at the Canadian customs was very friendly, we met her a couple of times, and she told us we could bring fresh fish over from Hyder if we wanted to, you can’t do that at any other international border.

Now back to the Cassiar Highway.

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