Heading south for the first time in months we started down highway 37 towards Dease Lake, passing brilliant blue lakes and miles of purple fireweed. Our first stop was Jade City, not actually a city but just a couple of shops in the area where 92% of the worlds jade comes from. As we checked out the store we wondered at all the Kiwi inspired designs for sale. I asked the girl working behind the counter if much of the jade was carved in Canada and she said it was all sent to New Zealand where the Maoris carve it and send it back.
Stewart BC and Hyder Alaska are basically the same small town, divided by a loosely guarded border. We had our passports out but there was no one to stop us as we crossed back into Alaska. (We were told the border guard was often found in the pub, but there is no where to go from here unless you have a boat.) The Canada side did have a little post, and the friendly border guard there told us that if we crossed after hours we just had to use the phone on the wall to leave a message for customs.
We’d crossed over to see the Salmon glacier and hopefully bears catching salmon in the river. The road passed back into Canada as we climbed up the stunning road to the glacier.
We stopped at the Fish Creek wildlife viewing area where we’d been told the salmon were running and the bears were feasting. Reluctantly paying the $5 to go out onto the boardwalk we settled down to wait at around 5:30. By 8:00 we started thinking about leaving, and as we were walking away a big Grizzly appeared. We watched him catch and eat salmon for at least an hour before he crept back into the bushes. It was amazing to watch him and the waiting was worth it.
Our next stop was Lava Beds provincial park on the way to Terrace, an odd landscape of blackened rock and beautiful blue rivers.
It rained as we drove out to Prince Rupert, which is the norm and didn’t detract from the beauty of the drive. We decided to have a look at the North Pacific Cannery museum, and were surprised at how interesting it actually was!
We wandered around Cow Bay and saw some totem poles before heading just out of town to brave a hike in the rain. We were rewarded with bushes heavy with wild blueberries and great views of the forest and inlet surrounding the town.
On a rare sunny day we drove down to Kitimat and spent the day by the river. Luke tried his hand fishing, and after a while a nearby fisherman lent him a bigger rod to use. Two casts later Luke pulled in a huge salmon.
Despite the rainy week this area of B.C. is absolutely stunning. We’ve been enjoying the darkness at night as we’ve travelled south, and the lack of mosquitoes. From here we head inland and carry on south.