Mmmmm…a patchy sleep. The camp site was close to the road with regular heavy vehicles passing, and, from I don’t know where, mosquito’s invaded our space!
When we got up in the morning Jen said, “why are the lights on”? Cripes. We were nose into the camp site and a couple of big boulders in front of us, to stop us rolling down the bank into the lake! No chance of a push start! Fortunately they were only the park lights and there was enough juice in the battery to start it, with a wee shot of ether.
I think I mentioned the other day, that we were not too far from the Stuart Cassier Highway. I asked Jen to find out who Stuart Cassier was! Silly me. The road is named after the two settlements at each end of it. Stewart and Cassiar. No doubt there is a story in the naming of those two settlements, but without wifi tonight, it will have to be revealed at some other time.
A quick fuel stop at Kitwanga, the start of the road north, turned into a 30min affair, as I couldn’t get the bloody thing to start! Another shot of ether and we were on our way. grrrr.
Immediately we are on a quieter highway. Bliss. The road shares the same, or similar path to the river. Vegetation is fairly dense, with areas birch but predominantly pine, of some sort. On rounding a corner, there, sitting in the middle of the road, a black bear but by the time we were able to pull up is was off, into the undergrowth.
Highway 37 comes to a ’T’ junction of Meziadin. The road turns left to the Canadian town of Stewart and it’s Alaskan neighbour, Hayder, on 37A. We want to visit the “arsome” Bear and Salmon Glaciers. The Bear Glacier was visible across the river from the road but the Salmon Glacier is at the end of a dirt road, coincidentally 37k’s from Hayder. It’s the largest glacier in the world, accessible by road. Crossing the US. border in Hayder was a non event. It’s a run down ramshackle American outpost, landlocked by Canada. With buildings collapsing and old cars rusting away under veranda’s and no US border post. It’s glory days of 1919 when it was a thriving gold and silver mining town, are long gone.
The road crosses back into B.C. about 10k’s in, and we are climbing steadily. It’s raining, though not hard and after 14k’s, visibility is low due to fog. The river below seems a long way down. We come to a rockfall, partially blocking the road with a ‘Road Closed’ sign. We trust the sign is just a guide for cars, so carry on. Another 6 or 7 k’s we come to the reason why the road is closed.
Snowdrifts across the road have turned to ice. Someone has made an effort to drive through it. It wouldn’t be appropriate to turn around without trying to push further. Into low ratio and we bash through another 20m. Jen’s having a fit about now and making noises that sound like, “when are you going to grow up”! Not that I was listening, as this was fun. Do I get the chains out and have a serious attempt? With 10k’s still to go to the glacier, the drifts could have got deeper and while it’s fun playing, one doesn’t really want to be stuck without chance of recovery..:). Would I survive the berating?…:).
Would you believe but a Canadian border post is in the way of us returning to Canada and the two cute Border police decide to give me the third degree. I started to imagine spending the rest of my life in Hayder but I think they were only fascinated by the number and variety of stamps in my passport. A few more questions like “did you purchase marijuana in Hayder” and “do you have any firearms” and we were allowed in again.
It’s now 5.30pm and have found a campsite. It’s in a delightful little clearing deep in the bush about 100m off the main road. Its blowing hard but we are hoping that the wind will dissipate our cooking odours, so the bears don’t come to investigate!!!!
If Jen is able to write tomorrows blog, we’ve made it…:)