North to Alaska - 2017 Trip

North to Alaska

No, not the Johnny Horton song. Over the years we have ridden in 49 of the 50 states and Alaska is the only one we've missed. You can see a map of all of the states we have visited as well as Canadian Providences, and National Parks here. So now we're heading for Alaska and,  although it would be fun to go as far as Juneau or even Anchorage, we are planning to go only as far as Hyder. Hyder, Alaska is the southern and eastern most community in Alaska and is located directly across the border from Stewart, BC in Canada. Hyder is the only land border crossing where a person may legally enter the United States without reporting for inspection. Although there is no border crossing entering Hyder,  there is still a Canadian border checkpoint to return from Hyder to Canada.  Despite only having a population of 87 at the 2010 Census, Hyder has it's own zip code and Post Office. Here's a site with interesting facts about Hyder.

One of the reasons for visiting Hyder is the Fish Creek Wildlife Observation Site. The Fish Creek Bear Viewing Area is a day-use recreation area in the Salmon River valley near Hyder, Alaska. Both brown (grizzly) and black bears can be observed and photographed at the site as they fish for chum and pink salmon in the clear shallow waters of Fish Creek and Marx Creek. Visitors will see wild bears in their natural habitat in this beautiful glacial river valley. Other wildlife frequently seen include nesting Canada geese, harlequin ducks, common mergansers, mink, beaver, bald eagles, and a wide variety of songbirds. Visitors occasionally see wolves fishing for salmon at this site. Bears use the site from mid-July through early September, following the arrival of salmon that return to the fresh waters of the creeks to spawn. The site is open from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm daily but it appears that the prime bear viewing hours are 6:00 - 9:00 in the morning and again in the evening. Forest Service employees are at the site during these hours to provide information about the bears and salmon, enforce site rules, and answer questions from visitors. So, with a little luck, we hope to see and maybe photograph some bears or other wildlife.

If the weather and the road conditions cooperate we hope to ride to the Salmon Glacier.  The road is a gravel road past the bear viewing area so we don't know what the condition will be. Being on a trike will certainly make it easier. The Salmon Glacier is a 37km (23 mile) drive from Stewart - past Hyder & beyond the Bear viewing platform. The Salmon Glacier, the fifth largest in Canada, is a remnant of that last great age of glaciers. The self-guided sightseeing tour along Salmon Glacier Road, built to connect Stewart to mining interests, is a must when visiting the area! Summit viewpoint provides a perfect view of the area and has facilities making it a great place for a picnic.

We haven't done a tremendous amount preparing for this trip. I did purchase a copy of Milepost in 2016 which is a great resource and has mile by mile details of many of the roads in Alaska and British Columbia. I used this to plan our route and where we will stop overnight. Currently we plan to stop at Cache Creek, Prince George, Smithers, and finally Stewart. The daily mileages vary from 208 to 275 so that shouldn't be a problem. I purchased a 1 gallon Rotopax gasoline container for emergency fuel. It doesn't look like we will have any problems but it never hurts to have the extra insurance. I also had a new tire installed on the front wheel of the trike. The current tire looked okay but I don't know what the options might be up there if I needed to replace the tire. Finally I purchased a new set of rain gear because the older ones were pretty well worn since I frequently wear them when working with Habitat.

Day 1 - 7/27/2017 Everett WA to Cache Creek, BC
Day 2 - 7/28/2017Cache Creek, BC to Prince George, BC
Day 3 - 7/29/2017PrinceGeorge, BC to Smithers, BC
Day 4 - 7/30/2017Smither, BC to Stewart, BC/Hyder, AK
Day 5 - 7/31/2017Stewart, BC/Hyder, AK
Day 6 - 8/1/2017Stewart, BC/Hyder, AK to Burns Lake, BC
Day 7 - 8/2/2017Burns Lake, BC to Valemount, BC
Day 8 - 8/3/2017Valemount, BC to Hope, BC
Day 9 - 8/4/2017Hope, BC to Everett, WA

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