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Entries about salmon

Aug 15, 16, 17 - Stewart BC, and Hyder AK

Grizzly_Bears, Glaciers

rain 13 °C

After our couple of days in Dease Lake, and our trip out the Telegraph Creek Road, it was time to move on to Stewart BC. The 450 kilometer drive was uneventful. The road is narrow, winding, but well paved.

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With very little reason to stop along the way, we were in Stewart by mid-afternoon and settled into the River's Edge Campground, a full service r/v park. $41 per night, spotty internet. It did have showers, which we needed desperately after 5 nights of dry camping, and a laundromat...we were running out of clean underwear :)

We did stop for a picture of TaJ with the Bear Glacier, on the road into Stewart.

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Our arrival also brought the rain. It rained pretty well our entire time in Stewart, sometime heavily. First night we had pizza in town, at the only pizza spot in Stewart. We'd rate it an 8 out of 10.

The next morning was our first visit to Hyder and the Fish Creek Boardwalk to see the Grizzly Bears feeding on salmon. The river has a large run of pink and chum salmon and regularly attracts bears to feed on the ample fish in the river. Here is a shot of the boardwalk, which is 15-20 feet above the river. The boardwalk holds up to 400 people, safely above the fray below, although we understand from the rangers that people have been stupid enough to leave the boardwalk in an attempt to get a "better" picture of the bears.

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Selfie on boardwalk:

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This is what the excitement is all about. This is a 4-5 year old male grizzly, a really adept fish catcher. He caught 5 salmon in just over a half hour, and ate one of the right in front of us. The crunching is audible to all on the viewing platform.

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We went to the boardwalk 5 times in our two days there, just to have a looksee. The best viewing times are early morning and evening. In between we took a drive up the road to see the glacier on the Hyder side. On the way up this determined little bird held us up for 5 minutes. Jenny had to get out of the car and finally shoo her away

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The road is steep and winds along cliffs past abandoned and active gold, silver and copper mines. This glacier is near the top of the road. As you can see we were pretty well socked in with rain.

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On our other trips to the bear viewing boardwalk, we saw a female grizzly and a black bear mother with twin cubs.

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As the rains continued, the water level in Fish Creek began to rise and the bears abandoned the river for the time being, as the water was murky and deeper than normal, making catching more difficult. We spent our time at the local museum, learning a bit of the history of the community. Local people live on logging, mining and tourism, and are deeply affected by changes in government policy that affects their livelihoods. There was much talk that politicians in Victoria, who, for the most part, have no idea of what life is like in the northern 50% of the province, where almost all of the economy is derived from natural resources like logging and mining, make decisions that affect them.

The town is lovely with moss hanging from the trees.

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Hyder AK is slowly sliding into oblivion, with less than 50 people living there.

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Eagles abound in the rivers;

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These old cars are reminiscent of earlier days and make a nice scene in downtown Stewart

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We departed Stewart on the morning of August 18, heading 475 kilometers south, to Prince Rupert, where we met up with out old travel buddies, George and Karmen Reid, who we met in Newfoundland, in 2013, and have hooked up with on the road 6 times now. Their Airstream is a real cutie:

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Our next adventure will see us park TaJ and head over to Haida Gwaii for three days. The next blog entry will cover this jaunt to the home of the Haida.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 11:52 Archived in Canada Tagged salmon grizzly_bears glaciers stewart hyder Comments (1)

Aug 7, 8 - Kenai Peninsula, Homer, Hiking

Salmon_Charters, Homer_Spit, Moose,

semi-overcast 20 °C

Aug 7

Our R/V park is great, perhaps the best we have ever stayed in. Spacious sites, good Wi-Fi, excellent washrooms. Klondike R/V Park in Soldotna, Alaska gets a couple of extra gold stars. If you want to visit here, this is the place to stay. The other R/V parks look like parking lots. It doesn't hurt that the owner gave us a 2 pound piece of Sockeye salmon when we asked where we could find some fish to buy. Yummy!

We started our stay with a supper of local halibut. Our plan is to eat seafood every day here...when in Rome, etc.

In the morning we took off out Kalifornsky Beach Road, which heads along the shore to the mouth of the Kasilof River, where people use dip nets on long poles to catch Sockeye and Pink Salmon. It looks like hard work, standing in waders in the stiff current of a tidal river, holding a 20 or 30 foot long pole with a huge net on the end. We saw several salmon caught this way. Most of these people are camping on the beach and fishing their limit each day.

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Homer is the place to visit if you come this far. It is at the end of the road and features a 4 mile long spit that extends from the town site out into the bay. Fantastic spot. We drove all the way to the end of the road, arriving in Homer around Noon. We wandered the beach and the old town, found this funky B&B with all this beach debris piled in front.

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Down on the beach, the cow parsnip grows taller than me:

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We drove out the spit to see where the action is. This place is hopping all the time, there must have been 5000 people out there, on a Monday. Restaurants, stores, fish charter boat operations, and hotels and B&B's.

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Here is a view of the spit, from the lookout at the top of Homer:

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Fish Charters drive the summer here. Hundreds of outfitters, thousands of tourist fishermen. A day charter costs $350 (and up).

We talked to one visitor from Georgia. He and 4 friends had flown up, done three days of fish charters, stayed in hotels, rented cars, bought food, etc. and the 5 of them were going home with 450 pounds of halibut, and 400 pounds of salmon, all cut into 2 pound chunks, sealed in plastic and flash frozen in processing plants. Now, with Halibut selling for $25 a pound, and Salmon for $18 a pound in grocery stores, they might be breaking even on their trip costs vas. just buying it at home. Plus they had the adventure of catching it themselves.

So, the five are going home with about $19,000 worth of fish. Pretty interesting business model!

On our return from Homer we stopped briefly at Anchor Point, which is the westernmost point on North America accessible on the connected road system. In earlier travels we have reached the coast of Labrador which means we have now gone east to west to the most readily accessible points on the highway system. We have also gone to the very tip of the Florida Keys, and stopped just short on Inuvik in 2006. North, south, east, west...we have done them all.

We also stopped at the Halibut Campground to see the phenomenon of the tractors that are used to put in and pull out charter boats. The tides are pretty decent here and pick up trucks just can't get boats into and out of the water very easily. So this is the solution:

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The volcanos across the bay were pretty interesting to view as well.

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We have seen lots of these Minnie Winnie motorhomes here in Alaska. We looked them up on line and they rent for as little as $100, but with add-ons can go much higher...add-ons like linens, dishes, cutlery, etc. But for a family coming here to see Alaska reasonable. Campgrounds can be as little as Zero $$ if you don't mind a lack of services.

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In the evening we went out looking for moose and were on our way home, about 9:45pm when we came upon this beauty. She was very sedate and hung along the side of the road until Jenny was tired of taking pictures. She had her calf with her as well.

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Aug 8

No pictures for today's blog entry. We travelled to the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area, about 30 miles east of Soldotna. Yesterday had been a busy, long day in the car and we were looking to hike and work out the kinks from sitting in the car for such a long spell. We got that. We did a hike called the Hidden Creek Trail, a round trip of about 6 kilometers. We were hopeful of seeing bears, but although we saw plenty of bear poop, and moose poop, we did not see any wildlife at all. An excellent hike and we were pleased to have gotten in a good bit of exercise.

The rest of the day has been spent in getting ready to depart and head back to Canada. We did all our laundry, grocery shopped and washed the car. A lot of little maintenance items on the TaJ as well.

Our next 10 days will have limited access to internet, and we plan to dry camp for several of those nights in an attempt to get back in touch with our travel budget, so our next blog entry might have to wait until Prince Rupert, where we hope to arrive on August 18

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 20:31 Archived in USA Tagged salmon moose homer fishing_charters minnie_winnie anchor_point Comments (0)

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