We had to leave Alaska without getting to take the Top Of The World Highway out because of a second storm caused blowout of the road in Alaska. In Whitehorse, two days later, we discovered we could have taken it had we waited one more day. Unfortunately the Alaska highway department wasn’t giving out predictions, and the first closure was for over a week.
We did enjoy a great boondock on a lake in Yukon, with a beautiful bike ride the day after, on our way to Whitehorse.
We were unsure if we would be able to travel the Stewart Cassiar Highway into British Columbia, due to ongoing forest fires. The road had been closed for a couple of weeks, but we heard rumors that they were caravaning vehicles through on some days. We were there early among the first in line. It was an interesting 50 kilometers or so, with small flames visible along the road at times, and some thick smoke. It was worth the effort.
From the Stewart Cassiar Highway we took a side trip to Stewart, BC, on the Portland Canal of the Inside Passage. A fairly short mountain bike ride later got us to a grizzly bear viewing area of the Tongas National Forest in Alaska. We missed a sow grizzly by seconds. According to volunteers, something spooked her up on to the road just before our arrival. We saw her still wet paw prints in the road after we rounded a corner. I sure am glad we weren’t there when she burst out of the brush, scared for her cubs and soon to become mad at innocent us! All we saw at the site was a few bushes rustling. All this time in the far north, and not one grizzly sighting. Maybe the wet paw prints were more exciting than seeing her from the protection of a raised viewing platform.
On the way back to Stewart Cassiar, we boondocked just across the outlet pond of Bear Glacier. The howling, but cooling breeze off the glacier helped cool us in the 85 degree weather.
The coastal mountains and glaciers are the most spectacular we’ve seen on this trip. We could spend a long time exploring the Stewart Cassiar and surrounds. We moved on south because the forest fires, all over BC, were making mountain viewing impossible, and we didn’t want to get trapped on the Yellowhead Highway before Prince George, the only way east or south.
We’re traveling the Yellowhead Highway eastbound, looking for a smoke free passage south. We did get in a good day in Smithers, BC, and rode through bucolic farmland, met and enjoyed a few locals. Claire found her maiden name on a road sign.