RubiKon Adventures

Tales and travels of "GrizzLee", "Looksha Lori" & "Yukon Johann"

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Rubikon Adventure Quest 2011: Panoramic Beauty

There is nothing like walking to get the feel of a country. A fine landscape is like a piece of music; it must be taken at the right tempo. Even a bicycle goes too fast. ~Paul Scott Mowrer, The House of Europe

Enjoy some of the finest beauty we've experienced so far. Click the pictures to enlarge them for a panoramic treat.

 Evening (night?) hike at Boya Lake at 11:00 pm.
 Just outside of Iskut along the Cassiar is this place we discovered.
 Somewhere along the Cassiar. Just a typical view when the sun is shining.
 The Salmon Glacier (180 degree view from wast to east)
Beyond the town of Smithers is this view across some beautiful farm land.

We head out to Haines Junction today to register for multi-day trek. We hope the weather is nice.

Until Next time...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rubikon Adventure Quest 2011: The Cassiar (Kanaskin Lake, Boya lake and More...)

My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing. ~Aldous Huxley

We are in Whitehorse. Hoping to meet up with a fellow hiker and drive out to Kluane Park to do the Donjek Glacier route (8-10 days of hiking in a trailless wilderness).

It has been awhile since we’ve been able to access the internet. What access we have now is sloooow.

Since leaving Hyder, (that all seems a long time ago now) we have had much sunshine. The Cassiar hwy was the most beautiful it has ever been for us. We passed many snow covered peaks, drove by many snow-filled avalanche chutes on the edge of the road, many incredible rivers and saw many lakes. It was almost too much beauty for the eyes, but great for our soul. However, we were in no hurry. As usual, we could drive for an hour or so w/o seeing another being, save for the occasional bear, porcupine and other various wildlife on the road.

We stayed one night at Kaniskan, just on the outskirts of Mt Edizza Provincial Park (another must see place the bucket list). While there we went for a short hike and met an elderly adventure gal named Phyllis. It just so happens that Phyliss used to live in Seattle and still visits there quite regularly. The interesting thing about Phyllis is the fact that she hiked the Donjek route solo with her dog 30 years ago!! In fact, she has solo’d many remote places. We look forward to hearing from her in the future.

We spent a subsequent night in Boya Lake and had a minor thunderstorm roll through, giving us a great rainbow spanning the lake. We happened to be hiking at 10 pm that evening and got some great pictures. Before arriving at Boya Lake, we came across some Stone Sheep grazing on the side of the road. They had come down the mountains to the mineral licks. We got some nice pictures and video of the small herd of Ewes.

As we approached the Yukon we were greeted by a very curious black bear (brown in color). This fellow was pretty friendly and would approach the camper w/o much fear. We got some great pictures and some amazing video of the bear as well. We noticed that he had a severe scar on his hind quarters. After a ½ hour or so, some motorcycles came screaming by and scared the bear off. We’ve never seen a bear run so fast. We could see it running flat out for 100 yards or so through the thin forest.

As we approached the Yukon Border, we drove through a huge burn area that seemed to go on for miles and miles. The folks at Watson Lake told us the fire had just been put out.

Yukon Border Guard.....
Please let me see your passports?
Hey there, got any food for me?
The large burn area as we approached the Yukon Border.
Yukon Johann at the border for the 3rd time!!
Teslin crossing, where the start of the main flow of the Yukon river begins.
A quick side trip up the Canol Hwy.
Enlarge to read aboput the first oil pipeline road in the north... long before the Alaskan pipeline was even planned. The remote road and littered with artifacts from the effort.
A view back towards Hyder on the pier before we departed.
The harbor at Hyder.
One last look at the Bear Glacier before we head north on the Cassiar.
Views like this were common place over the next 3 days.
Stone Sheep on the Cassiar hwy.
Big eaters.
Boya Lake park entrance.
All nestled in for the night.
Our 10:00 pm hike in a thunderstorm.
Rainbows.. and double rainbows.

Until next time...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rubikon Adventure Quest 2011: Salmon Glacier

“Glaciers are delicate and individual things, like humans. Instability is built into them.”

The Granduc Mine road starts in Hyder, Alaska at sea level and follows the Salmon River to the Salmon Glacier at 4,300 ft. up in the alpine. As we drove up we passed several mines which have been operating since the 1920s. A couple of miles in from Hyder is Fish Creek, where one of 3 salmon runs provide food for bears, gulls and bald eagles. There is an observation deck providing a unique opportunity to view and photograph grizzlies and black bears. No salmon is running now, but when they do, an unusual thing happens. Black bears and Grizzlies, which normally do not get along, don't seem to mind each others company.. that is as long as there are fish.

At the top of the road we had spectacular views of mountains, alpine meadows and the large t-shaped Salmon glacier which forms the headwaters of the Salmon River. We spent the entire day up there gazing, hiking and staring in wonder at this river of ice. We could see weather coming in from the west and we would take refuge in the camper, within the hour the sun would show for a bit and the cycle would continue again.
We were unable to continue beyond the parking lot at the top even though there is a road that continues 5 miles further to a new mining exploration. In fact, mining has been renewed in this area due to the current price of gold. We've been told to expect to see much more as we move our way up farther along the Cassiar Hwy. 

Approaching the Salmon Glacier. 
 Looking back down the long valley to the coast. Look closely and you can see the lines of where the glacier sat not too long ago.
 Almost at the end of the road and the highest point of our drive.
 The glacier stair steps as it turns the corner to make its run down hill.
 Yukon Johann and GrizzLee acting like National Geographic jocks as we trek around with our camera gear.

 At the top there was a gentleman selling DVDs of bears and glaciers.
 We pretty much had the place to ourselves all day.

We climbed up higher to get a better vantage point. There were glaciers behind the hill that seemed to go on forever. 
 Along the road we crossed back into Canada from Hyder, Ak. Just beyond the crest of this glacier here, is Alaska.

 It runs like a river.
Coming back into Stewart to get gas we were greeted with showers and a brief glimpse of sunshine AND this beautiful rainbow. Yes, we almost ran out of gas. No worries as we are carrying an extra 10 gallons in Jerry cans with us just in case. A pre-caution all travelers in the north take seriously.

It was brilliant and seemed to eminate right from the ground.

Until next time....

Rubikon Adventure Quest 2011: Hyder

So we see this dead rabbit on the road. A local gal comes by and puts some funny spray on it. The rabbit comes to life and begins hopping down the road. Puzzled, we ask the gal what did she do to make the rabbit come back to life. The gal replies "I put some hare(sp?) spray on it. See, right here on the can it states 'that it brings dead hair back to life' ". Ok we said and drove on. -Unknown

The drive form McBride to Prince George was spectacular. We saw a few bears along the way munching grass and berries alongside the hwy. One bear in particular was very cute as she kept standing on her hind legs. At one point she looked like she was playing an Air Guitar.

We stayed at Tyhee Lake Provincial park just outside of Smithers. Smithers is beautiful and a place that we would like to live.
We stopped in at the ‘Ksan village again and looked at the totem poles and Long Houses. We also stopped at Gitanyow and looked at the ancient totem poles there as well.
Once we got going on the Cassiar hwy, we were once again reminded why we love this place. Virgin forests and snow-capped (many glaciated) peaks are a hard thing to forget.
The weather has been a bit spotty, but today, we are in Hyder, Ak and find the sun shining. So we will drive up to the Salmon glacier, hoping to see some bears and a large river of ice. One thing… on our drive into Hyder, we had to dodge bear scat in the road. It was like walking through a heavily mined cow pasture. Fun stuff. We saw some wildlife, other than bears. At one point we saw a Porcupine dodge across the road and we got some really good footage of a beaver making a dam. The beaver seemed oblivious to our presence.

Air guitar  jammin bear
 Let's eat.
 Lets dance
 Johann fishing in Houston with the world's largest fly rod.
 Lee trying to land the big one.
 This grinding stone came from South America (???) Weird.

 Outside of Smithers.
 Skeena River.
 The start of the Cassiar hwy.

 Gitanyow wood carving.
 The road into Stewart and Hyder.
 More glaciars.
 Parked next to the Bear Glaciar.

 Father-son pose for a pic in front of the Bear Galciar.

US-Canada border crossing from Stewart to Hyder, Ak. 
Funny thing, there is no US border partol here. The only border guards are the Canadian police.

Unitl next time....