Bear Watching in Hyder, Alaska

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Bear Watching in Hyder, Alaska

Hyder, Alaska.Hyder, Alaska.
Hyder, Alaska.Hyder, Alaska.

Leaving Alaska, we follow the Alcan Highway east for a few hundred miles to Watson Lake. Mrs. Phred has been suggesting travel south along the Cassiar Highway for something different on the way home. The Cassiar has been closed by a wash out for a couple of weeks, but we ask around and it is thought that they are now allowing one-way traffic at the washout 300 miles south. We drive the RV around the “road closed” barrier at Watson Lake and head south. There is very little traffic.

To reach Hyder, turn off the Cassiar Highway and go 35 miles west toward the sister towns of Stewart, British Columbia, and Hyder, Alaska. The port town of Stewart seems marginally more prosperous than Hyder. Stewart still has a grocery store open and a place to buy ice cream and rent DVDs. The Thing starring Kurt Russell was filmed here in 1982.

There are two good reasons to come here. The first is Bear Creek, where the American park rangers have created an unusual bear viewing area. The bears come here to catch salmon in July and August. The other reason is the long scenic drive up to Salmon Glacier.

In 1898, an American named Burgess swindled 65 people into landing here by telling them that it was a shortcut to the Klondike gold fields. In the morning he was gone. Only three of the 65 stayed here. One who stayed was 'Pap' Stewart who discovered the 'American Girl' gold mine.

VISA fraud prevention apparently doesn't like the geographic distribution of my ATM withdrawals. They have disabled my cash card again. My Canadian phone card doesn't recognize the VISA 800 numbers and it's the weekend. We're down to $50 cash and 5,000 miles from home. We use some cash to buy ice cream and rent The Thing for the RV DVD.

The next day, we make some shaky video of a mama bear and her three triplets catching salmon. The video ends when mama smells a big boar approaching and runs off with her cubs. One of the cubs gets separated and starts screaming for mama. The rangers block traffic for 30 minutes until the family is reunited. I threaded together a couple of the phone videos for H2G2 and dubbed in some Liberace (because I could).

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