Hyder, AK fun
Kitwanga Travel Blog› entry 116 of 167 › view all entries
We saw bears in Hyder today! Determined to see at least one, we returned down the potholed 3-mile road to the viewing area. Just before arriving, I saw a black bear cross the road behind us (in my rear-view mirror)! We stopped and backed up- could see him eating berries in the bushes down the road embankment.
Then at the viewing area, we saw a black bear (same one perhaps?) emerge along the bank further down.
There is a glacier river nearby that feeds an amazingly blue lake that you can also admire from the boardwalk. It looks surreal and magical.
There were just a few large salmon swimming upstream in the creek at this time. They would splash and struggle upstream about 15’ and then would get washed downstream for 10’. It looked like a tough way to make progress. The kids quizzed the Ranger and he said that the salmon will spawn (lay eggs and die) right here, that it depends on the gravel size (too big and they cannot make a nest for the eggs) and that they had only between around the observation area to half a mile upstream before the gravel was too large.
Last night we stayed in a grass field that had picnic tables and an archery log just behind the SeAlaska Inn. It is a homey lodge, hostel type of place with a saloon where they tried to “Hyderize” me, since it was my first night in Hyder. I’d gone in to pay for the campground and get the free Wi-Fi code, but another patron saved me and tried it. They had all sorts of rules regarding no smelling it before shooting it, turning the glass upside down, and buying the whole bar a drink if anything came up. It turned out to be 151 proof everclear and they then smeared the drops on the bar and lit it and the shot glass aflame, giving the gal a card telling her that she was “Hyderized.” I felt very smart for declining!
Doing laundry, we of course met an interesting person (as usual): Steven from Colorado, who is motorcycling around
Bears will often do a “fake charge” to see if you’ll run as prey, but you’re supposed to stand your ground, talk in a low voice, avoid eye contact, make yourself look big with your hands above your head, and then if it attacks, curl up in a ball with your hands over your head - don’t let it roll you over to get your tender underside.
We really enjoyed Hyder. All the roads are muddy and potholed, the people are very friendly. The General Store guy tells jokes and directs us down the road for ice to the Glacier Inn (we had some fridge problem that has oddly resolved, thank goodness). There we entered the Glacier Inn Gift Store and the owner took me through to the Saloon where she scoops ice from the bar into a bag for ice. No ice deliveries by truck here! The saloon had dollar bills stapled all over the walls (much neater than the money plastered all over the Salty Dawg Saloon in Homer) and was quite an icon.
That afternoon, going through Customs when passing into Stewart, 500 yards or so up the road, seemed silly. (There is no U.S. Customs into Hyder). It would have been difficult to get to Hyder in an RV in the first place if we didn’t first go through Stewart - there is only one road. I understand the two towns even share emergency services - I’ll bet the police don’t go through Customs every time.
Regardless, through Customs we went and were quizzed on weapons and “Where’s DAD???” asked in a grave voice.
We traveled back up the side road to the
We camped directly across the street in a city-provided campground (free) in a lovely little park (of course we located it thanks to the Church’s book).
It is really wonderful being in such a camping-friendly location. The people of
We noted that the kids’ friends returned to school today.
The kids spent a particularly long time on their studies today. They talked for awhile about their friends’ emails and hoped they were doing well, but there seemed to be no sadness at missing school or giddiness about their good fortune. I think they realize that this is a singular experience in their lives and they appreciate the opportunity. We’re having fun and learning all we can along the way. It’s hard to put a value on the education that such travel provides.