27 May 2011

Plus Grand Que Nature

Highway 37 through northern BC has to be one of the most beautiful drives around.  We overshot the turn by about 20 minutes as we followed the flooded Skeena River west towards the coast, but eventually realized our error and turned back.  We stopped at the junction to fuel up, paying nearly $6.00 CAN per gallon.  I spoke with the mechanic at the pump while I gave him most of my earnings, and he said to look for bears as we headed north.  Everyone says look for wildlife, moose, deer, bear, porcupine, all of which we've seen, but you never expect to see them so readily on the roadside.  Sure enough within ten minutes we saw our first black bear.  Not long after, we saw a grizzly, then more black bears, and more, and more.  All together we saw two brown bears and possibly as many as 16 or 18 black bears, we lost count.

A sow and cub turn their attention away from the grass momentarily

A young brown bear was enjoying his meal too much to care about our company

The best we could figure is that they move towards the roadside in the spring to feed on the grasses that grow where the Dept. of Transportation removes the trees.  Grasses are the first to put out new growth in the spring and these bears are eager to put on pounds.

Both brown and black bears feed primarily on vegetation in spring and summer

We were happy to be out of BC and that much closer to Anchorage
Eventually the Cassiar Highway took us up into the Yukon.  We turned west and within hours were in Whitehorse.  Whitehorse is the capital of the territory, and for me musters memories of Jack London stories and images of life in the far north.  Today it's a tourist destination for the cruise ship type that port in Skagway, AK.  Other than seeing displays around town telling of the gold rush history, dam building, logging and so on, there isn't much to do in Whitehorse.  It's hay day has pasted.  We camped across the river from the town, on a little ridge overlooking Long Lake.  The sun set late so we walked down to the shore and surprised a beaver making his evening rounds.  He didn't mind too much that we were there, thumped the water a few times but otherwise minded his own business.

Our campsite above Long lake across the river from Whitehorse
The following morning took us back across the boarder in Alaska.  Changes in the landscape were immediate, with aggressive, sharp peaks to the south.  We drove late as the sun was still high and made it within hours of Anchorage.  We spent the night in the trailer again, insight of glaciers, peaks and a river below.  In the morning prints in the dirt showed a moose had come to sniff the trailer.
Wrangle Range lie north east of Anchorage
This is as good as it gets on the road

No comments:

Post a Comment