RubiKon Adventures

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

Saturday, July 21, 2012

RubiKon Quest 2012: The Big Finale - Hyder to Home (Sammamish)

July 16th, 17th, 18th, 2012

Leaving "North of Ordinary"

This morning, it was hard to leave; the weather was soo very nice and the night before we had witnessed two bears play fighting. I have it all on video. It was truly a National Geographic type moment. However, we were quickly becoming sad as we knew the last days of our trip were nearing an end.
We left the hotel and drove up toward the Salmon Glacier. Days without clouds in this coastal marine environment are rare. We enjoyed a real treat.

The following pictures are all views from the road.
Baby El Capitan... The approach would be a bitch. There is a huge canyon and river below that must be crossed to reach the base of the rock... not to mention the ungodly bushwhacking. Still, it may be an opportunity for a first ascent.
This is the Salmon river running in the deep canyon to the Portland canal where Hyder is located.
Our first glimpse of the Salmon Glacier.
What's this? It appears that 2 bears were munching on the roadside grasses. Probably siblings. They split up as we approached. One went scrambling up the cliff side and hide in the brush, while the other scrambled down the steep slope toward the glacier.
I often wonder what bears would say if they could talk. Sometimes, their expression says it all.
More glacier
Into the heart of the Salmon glacier. Just beyond this pass is hundreds of miles of ice, stretching along the Alaskan arm.
This is summit lake. That broken ice down there is floating on water. A local had pictures of huge ice caves and the lake in late summer with giant 'bergs floating on it. 
Just beyond where we had to stop, is the Granduc mine. There is gold in them there hills... er, I mean glaciers.
At the terminus of the road is a picnic table and a great view.
GrizzLee in a profound moment.
Close up of Summit Lake.
Close up of the Salmon Glacier. To get a sense of scale, those cracks are big enough to fit semi tractor trailers in them. Many are several hundred feet deep.
Pics of the glacier with some local plants.
On our way out. One last look down the glacial carved canyon.
Oh, this was cool.
Leaving Stewart and Hyder, the roads carves it way through a narrow canyon, carved out by glaciers thousands of years ago. The result is a cornucopia of waterfalls coming down from hanging glaciers far above us.
One last look at the Bear Glacier before we go.
We left this beautiful land, vowing to come back again and again.
We spent the night at Tyee lake provincial park in a tiny town called Telkwa. The next morning we arrived in Burns lake and saw this "flower powered" VW bug. It's the real deal.

The rest of the drive to Prince George, although beautiful doesn't compare to the Cassiar hwy and seemed very bland in comparsion
On our way out of Prince George, we came upon this road. It is a road I discovered on previous travels north. It is an ominous sign and a reminder that I must return to work soon... bleh.... Every time I see it, I get sick to my stomach.
Valemount - Let the Mountains Move You
We drove down the Yellowhead Hwy and spent the night in Valemount. A spectacular place. There is no equal in the states. The closest comparison would be someplace in Colorado Rockies. This view was just outside our motel room.  It had rained very hard over night, with lightening storms and thunder. In fact, it began to rain on us the day before as we got to the really interesting part of the Robson Valley near a small town called McBride. We witnessed a fire near the roadside that was started by lightening. There was a helicopter circling over head and the forest service was parked on the hwy. We believe they were hoping the rain would put the fire out as the fire was in thick bush on steep mountain slopes.

The rest of our drive toward Kamloops along this beautiful hwy was cloudy and rainy. The weather cleared in the arid Kamloops valley and we made our way over to Hope and Chiliwack. The traffic began to get worse and we crossed the border into Washington State near Abbotsford. Out trip was all but over now. 

Enjoy this panoramic view of the Salmon Glacier.

All we have now are these photos and memories that will last a lifetime. But, I can tell you this my friends. "I'll be back" again and again. The north is an awesome country. The Yukon is the best place on earth IMHO. It is magical, the people of the region are incredibly nice and warm hearted from the first nations in Teslin to folks in Whitehorse, Dawson and above in the arctic. Of all the places I've have been, I find the people in the Yukon to most pure in spirit and the most genuine at heart.

Spell of the Yukon
I wanted the gold, and I sought it,
I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvy — I fought it;
I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got it —
Came out with a fortune last fall, —
Yet somehow life’s not what I thought it,
And somehow the gold isn't all.

No! There’s the land. (Have you seen it?)
It’s the cussedest land that I know,
From the big, dizzy mountains that screen it
To the deep, deathlike valleys below.
Some say God was tired when He made it;
Some say it’s a fine land to shun;
Maybe; but there’s some as would trade it
For no land on earth — and I'm one.

You come to get rich (damned good reason);
You feel like an exile at first;
You hate it like hell for a season,
And then you are worse than the worst.
It grips you like some kinds of sinning;
It twists you from foe to a friend;
It seems it’s been since the beginning;
It seems it will be to the end.

I've stood in some mighty-mouthed hollow
That’s plumb-full of hush to the brim;
I've watched the big, husky sun wallow
In crimson and gold, and grow dim,
Till the moon set the pearly peaks gleaming,
And the stars tumbled out, neck and crop;
And I've thought that I surely was dreaming,
With the peace o' the world piled on top.

The summer — no sweeter was ever;
The sunshiny woods all athrill;
The grayling aleap in the river,
The bighorn asleep on the hill.
The strong life that never knows harness;
The wilds where the caribou call;
The freshness, the freedom, the farness —
O God! how I'm stuck on it all.

The winter! the brightness that blinds you,
The white land locked tight as a drum,
The cold fear that follows and finds you,
The silence that bludgeons you dumb.
The snows that are older than history,
The woods where the weird shadows slant;
The stillness, the moonlight, the mystery,
I've bade 'em good-by — but I can't.

There’s a land where the mountains are nameless,
And the rivers all run God knows where;
There are lives that are erring and aimless,
And deaths that just hang by a hair;
There are hardships that nobody reckons;
There are valleys unpeopled and still;
There’s a land — oh, it beckons and beckons,
And I want to go back — and I will.

They're making my money diminish;
I'm sick of the taste of champagne.
Thank God! when I'm skinned to a finish
I'll pike to the Yukon again.
I'll fight — and you bet it’s no sham-fight;
It’s hell! — but I've been there before;
And it’s better than this by a damsite —
So me for the Yukon once more.

There’s gold, and it’s haunting and haunting;
It’s luring me on as of old;
Yet it isn't the gold that I'm wanting
So much as just finding the gold.
It’s the great, big, broad land 'way up yonder,
It’s the forests where silence has lease;
It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.
~Robert Service

As far as the "Spell of the Yukon" is concerned and what it personally means to me.
I can tell you personally, it is a medical condition. There is no known cure. Furthermore, I don't want to be cured. I shall die with this illness.

Some people may be impervious to it. As for me, I am infected. I'm helpless. I tasted the water, climbed her mountains, gazed upon her sunsets, enjoyed the stillness, loved the forests and lingered in the peace. For those like me, who have this condition, you understand well. For all others, I feel sorry for you.

May the wind be to your back, may the skies be favorable and may the gods smile upon you in your journeys.
Until next time...

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