Tuesday, June 17, 2014

June 16, 2014 - A Very Special Day

We started the morning in Smithers, BC and left the Fireweed Motel with the sun shining.  We gassed up and headed north out of town on Highway 16 toward Kitwanga.  I only spied two deer (bet there were more!) but they both ran off into the woods, woohoo!  We made a quick stop at Moricetown to take some photos of the river. This was a fantastic show of nature!  We spied several other adventure riders doing the same thing.

Our ride was uneventful but spectacular.  It was sunny, clear and fairly warm.  The road was in good shape and traffic was light.  We made good time.  Our first real stop was at Kitwanga, the junction of Hiway 16 and 37, our turnoff to Hyder.  We took the time to have some brekkie here.  While we were eating, a number of other riders pulled into the station for gas, food and pictures.  We meet several riders (two lovely ladies as well) who were headed to Dust to Dawson so I guess we'll be seeing them again in a few days!

We took the obligatory pictures before heading up 37 to Meziadan Junction.

Yes, we were having a grand time.  The weather was perfect and it was my Birthday!!!  What a fantastic birthday present, riding to Alaska with my honey.  Yup, it was perfect and it got even better.

We made good time to the junction.  We both found it interesting that we didn't see any bears.  The last time we were in Hyder, we saw more bears than we could even count.  This time....none.  Oh well.  The scenery was spectacular.  Not too far from our turn-off, we took a break and read about the Meziadin Fish Ladders.  No bugs here to bother us!

 We were reminded that Hyder was just up the road on the Pacific Ocean.

So off we went.  Just leaving this rest stop was our first of many wooden bridges.  I was thankful that is was sunny and dry out!

It wasn't long before we hit the junction and made a left turn toward Hyder.  We were surprised to see so much activity at the junction.  It looks like they are building some infra-structure to support all the logging, hydro and power activity going on.

 We took the requisite photos and the junction and jumped back on the bikes to ride 37A to Hyder!

We stopped along the way and took photos - we only had 204 miles of riding today so plenty of time to stop and smell the roses and we did :-)

 This is Bear Glacier along highway 37A.  It is rapidly diminishing which is a shame.  Even in the 4 years since I've been here I can see a significant reduction in the glacier.  However, still a very beautiful piece of nature.

 A few shots from the road by Eric. You can see how smooth the road surface is, how green the vegetation is and how blue the skies were.  Just a wonderful ride!

 Oh, Eric in motion.  Not too good of a pic :-(

It wasn't very long after these pictures that we arrived in Hyder.  We drove through Stewart checking out the changes and there were many.  We made our way to Hyder and stopped at the Sealaska Inn.  It was closed but I managed to catch the attention of the lady cleaning. She let me in to take a few pictures.  Apparently they aren't yet open for the season and expect to open on Wednesday.
 Me dancing with the grizzly bear.  In 2010 I had quite a good time up there in Hyder and spent a bit of time dancing with the bear.  This time around it was only me and the bear,  no party ;-(

 Look close at this one and you'll find a friend or two in this picture of a picture.  Here are the riders who rode the 48 + in 2006.  My buddy Rick Martin was one of the awesome riders!

After checking out the Sealaska Inn we rode down to the pier. So much has changed in four years.  The road is now paved and even the road to the pier is paved.  It was such a beautiful day, sunny, warm and my birthday!!!  Since we had time to take pictures today, I'm going to share them with you.  These are pictures from the pier at Hyder.

 I found this firepit at the end of the pier and thought how nice it would be to sit out here in the evening roasting hotdogs or making s'mores as the sun set.  What a beautiful place.

 After the pier, we went to the ranger station to get a stamp in our National Parks book.  Most folks don't know but there is a special super secret stamp at Hyder.  However, it wasn't at the ranger station (which is in the community center) but at the Bear Walk.  So, we rode up through Hyder, past the "Bus" which unfortunately was closed.  I was looking forward to Birthday dinner at the Bus, but alas, not this year.
 Here is a picture from the Bear walk.  It's too early for the bears to be here because the salmon aren't running yet.  But...it is still very beautiful!  And, we did get our special stamp!
We rode back to Hyder and stopped at the Boundary Gallery but nobody was there!  There was a note on the door that said "Gone to the Post Office, Back Soon", so we waited a bit.  It was quite pleasant to sit on the porch and smell and listen to nature.
 This is the view across the street.  This building is sadly falling into disrepair.
 We bought fudge (four different flavors) and some stickers and visited with Caroline, the owner.  Note, Caroline also has a special "Hyder" stamp for those of you who collect them.  I now have two :-)
 Departing Hyder...

 We stayed at Ripley Creek Inn in Stewart.  We had a room in the Crow's Nest with a private deck off the back.  We could park our bikes back here. It was lovely.  It faces the estuary and is very quiet and beautiful.

 Before we left, we put a DPK sticker on a window of the Inn (with the owner's permission).  Oopps, my shadow is in the pic.  I'll try another one :-)

So, that was our day today.  We ended up having dinner at the Pizza place across the street that is owned by Joanne (my bad, no picture).  I had such a great time meeting her 4 years ago and today was no different.  We had a ball talking about just stuff!  Eric and I shared a great steak and baked potato dinner and then went to bed after a few pieces of Caroline's fudge.  I slept like a baby :-)  It was a wonderful, wonderful birthday.  For those who don't know, I met Eric for the first time in Hyder in 2010 so it has special meaning for us.

We were somewhat disappointed to see how many businesses have closed down.  There are a few new places in Stewart, but mostly things have shut down.  Hyder is quickly becoming a ghost town which is very sad.

We were so lucky that today was a picture perfect sunny day.  Every curve seemed to present a postcard view.  I ran out of oooohhhs and aaawwhhhs.  It was almost overwhelming in the beauty presented.  Oh, not too many bugs either which was a big plus :-)

Tomorrow is another big day of 400 plus miles.  We'll be riding the Cassiar highway to Watson Lake, Yukon.

Cletha (another year older)
from Stewart, British Columbia


  1. Happy B'day. Keep the reports coming!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, it was obviously a grand one :-)

  3. " Even in the 4 years since I've been here I can see a significant reduction in the glacier. "

    Al Gore tell you to say that...

    Happy Birthday. Wish I could be there - you guys are having too much fun without me!

    1. Hahaha. No, Al didn't coach me. I made it up all by myself. Thanks, Steve. Wish you could be here too, but, we'll see you in Denver if not before and we'll party then!

  4. Looks like you're having fun! Thanks for "the picture"! :)

    1. Rick, I'll send you a copy when I get a moment.

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you, Andre. Just point & shoot cameras but not too bad for a complete amateur.

  6. Happy Birthday, happy trails.

  7. Cletha, what a wonderful way of spending your birthday and the 4th anniversary of meeting Eric. Those are memories that you will cherish forever. The photos you posted are gorgeous! I can't wait to visit up there. It is sad to hear about business closings but I think unfortunately that it is occurring in all of the US and Canada. So sad. I really enjoyed reading today's blog post. Keep em' coming girl and glad you had a fabulous birthday!

    1. Thanks Minna. I'm thinking next year we might do New England and I just happen to know a few folks who live up that way ;-)

  8. I'm having a good time on the ride to Alaska. I'm mostly out of action motorcycle-wise until probably August so I'm putting in my "miles" via your blog. So keep the posts coming. And by the way . . .

    . . . the photo captioned, "Oh, Eric in motion. Not too good of a pic :-(", is actually a very good action-shot photo in my book. I think the photo is framed very well with E riding in the upper left and the road crossing the frame diagonally. Maybe it could use a little cropping, but really, it's a very nice photo. [Okay, okay! Enough of this unsolicited photo critique stuff. This IS a motorcycle travel blog after all!]

  9. What a wonderful way to spend your birthday and the anniversary of meeting Eric! The pics are wonderful, and I really hope to get up there and see the glaciers before they are all gone. Cheers, Lynne

  10. I put this in another post but will repeat myself. HyderSeek 2010 is the first time I met you and Eric. I had a nice chat with you in the back area of the "Inn" and Eric, true to his word, bought me a beer for making it up there but then had to dash off to help some stranded biker with a flat tire on the road up to the mines. I didn't really get much of a chance to talk to him then. It is interesting seeing Hyder with paved roads. Another part of history gone to progress.

    Happy Birthday by the way. Hope the rest of your days on this trip are just as fulfilling.


  11. Been following the FB posts, but this is the day I had to read about. It was 2010 when Karen & I rode up to Hyder Seek and met you. Also, the same trip where Karen won the Ayers Grand Prize. Always good times up there!

    Michael Gabriel