Don't miss the ride to the Bear Viewing and the Salmon Glacier.
Don't miss the ride to the Bear Viewing and the Salmon Glacier.
Thanks for the photo links. One of the photos showed you working at your laptop on a picnic table. I'm amazed the mosquitos (Alaska state bird) hadn't carried away your laptop.
A few years ago a large mosquito landed at Elmendorf Air Base near Anchorage. They pumped 500 pounds of jet A into the poor devil before realizing it wasn't an airplane.
You rode all the way up to the Glacier? I'm impressed. That's one technical "road."
I'm still trying to figure out what critter crossed the road in front of me on BC 37. I was cruising along on my 1150GS, and noticed what appeared to be a piece of truck tread lying across the road. I leisurely picked a path around it, but when I got close it scrambled across the road. I'm not kidding! It reminded me of a baby alligator, but we're talking BC here, not FL. Too low to be a beaver, otter, or badger. Too long to be a squirrel, skunk, crow, or lynx. Too small to be a wolf, cougar, or sasquatch. And I can't imagine an indian kid lying alongside a remote road with a tire tread on a fishing line, waiting for some naive biker to come along. He would have been eaten alive by the mosquitos.
Short travel warning about Dease Lake. There's a restaurant along the highway, and one of the few places on the Cassiar to get a meal.
But beware the locals, especially the shifty-eyed young layabouts. After my breakfast, I noticed three young guys standing around a pickup truck loaded with carpentry tools. As I rode off, I heard a POP similar to a rock being squirted out from under my rear tire. I didn't think much about it, since all the parking lots are gravel up there.
The next morning I discovered a flat tire with a 16p new construction nail imbedded. I don't have any proof, but I'm pretty sure the layabouts braced the nail against my tire while I was in the men's room.
So, just before riding away from Dease Lake, check around your tires for nails. OK, I'm paranoid about this. Maybe bigoted. Your mileage may vary.
Glad you enjoyed them. Sure was fun taking them.
I did ride it. Very carefully! And it was worth every inch to arrive at the top! Then going down steep gravel was another challenge. But my F650 Funduro handled it all with aplomb.
In 2009 we didn't ride back up because the road was blocked with an avalanche not far past the Bear Viewing area. They blew it up and opened the road, but it was lots more challenging.
I'm thinking that Hyder is such a great destination because Hyderites have the Alaska attitude, but Hyder is way down south and closer to "outside" (the rest of the USA outside of Alaska)
It just happens that when the US bought Alaska from the Russians, we got the coast islands that would otherwise have become British Columbia's Pacific coast. It was just by chance that the north-south boundary cut off a tip of land to the west of what is now Stewart, giving the Canadians access to a natural channel to the Pacific, and giving Alaskans a tiny piece of land attached to Canada.
Theoretically, since Hyder is so far removed from the rest of Alaska, law enforcement is supposed to be reciprocal with the Royal Candian Mounted Police. If there is a law enforcement problem in Hyder, the Alaskans are supposed to call the Canadian mounties. But of course, no self-respecting Alaskan would stoop so low as to get the Canadians involved in a genuine Alaska dispute. I get the impression that Hyderites take care of their own problems without consulting either the Alaska troopers or the RCMP. If someone steps too far out of line, I suspect the boys just get together and invite the poor SOB to go crab fishing.
You can spend US dollars in Hyder, but most everyone uses Loonies (Canadian dollars have a loon on them) and Toonies (the Canadian two-dollar coin). Most everyone drives (or rides) into Stewart for supplies, where Canadian dollars are required. Groceries, ice cream, gasoline, spare final drives, etc.
The bear viewing area Voni mentions is six or so miles north of Hyder. The road actually curves around and crosses back into Canada, but no one pays any attention. There is a salmon stream coming down out of the mountains, and every fall the bears congregate in large numbers to eat fish. Someone has built a raised walkway so visitors can view the bears from about 10 feet above the creek, hopefully just out of reach of a bear. I believe there are both brown and black bear there at the same time. I'm thinking Grizzly aren't in the area, but correct me if I'm wrong about that. An adult Grizzly can reach about 12 feet with his front claws, and remove a pickup door with one snatch. By comparison, Black bear are smaller and cuter.
You won't see many bears at the viewing area during the Hyder Seek. I'd like to go up some time in the fall and watch the bears gorging on fish.
Grizzlys are a bit larger and more powerful.
Of course, it's required to stop at the Boundary Store run by Caroline. You'll get to buy home made fudge and lots of HyderSeek souvenirs.
She's the one who told me Hyder bears are raised by their moms to know that fish are food and berries are food, and that people aren't. An ideal setting except for an occasional rogue bear who wasn't schooled so well. It's hard to tell by looking whether the bear you are seeing is local or not.
Not to be confused with Bear Glacier . . .
Last edited by Voni; 11-30-2010 at 03:35 AM. Reason: fix RED
There are lots of websites with pictures and information about Stewart and Hyder, including
If you want to see pictures of the bears, try
Looking at some of the photos on various sites, I stand corrected about Grizzly bear. They appear to frequent Fish Creek, which it appears is in Alaska.
Voni, I suspect the Hyder bears don't eat local humans because they are too tough to chew. A tender motorcyclist from the south might be acceptable...
Maybe that's why Paul insists we stay at the Grandview instead of camping at RunAmok. LOL!
My wife and I are heading up to HyderSeek after the Chicken Rally. How are the roads getting in? OK for an LT?
Greg and Melanie
BMWMOA, BMWMOAL, IBA, MTF
Paved the whole way except for construction. If you head north from Hyder and take the Cassier you may still hit some unpaved areas (it's been 6-7 years since I did the Cassier), but people ride the Cassier on Hogs and scooters.
Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost
From the South--via 16 to Kitwanga, then north on 37 to Meziadin Junction, and west on 37A to Stewart is "all paved." From Meziadin Junction north on 37 there are several stretches of gravel/dirt.
If the weather is bad, the unpaved sections can be treacherous. If the weather is dry, the unpaved sections will generally be very acceptable for any street bike.
But in the north (BC, Northwesat Territories, Alaska, etc. the ground freezes in the winter and bubbles up in frost heaves that can be 2 ft tall. So a "paved" road can be rough in the spring, and the temporary repair is to blade off the offending heave and spread gravel around. That means that even an "all paved" road is typically 80% paved in the spring, and 90% paved by the end of summer.
So, many riders heading for the north will install tires with a bit more of a dual sport tread.
Just about all the routes in BC are beautiful, remote, and scenic, including 93/16 through Jasper/Banff to Prince George, and 1/97 through the Frazer River canyon.
When riding into the north, it helps to have a mindset that you may need to delay for two or three days for bad weather, tire problems, or whatever. It's not clever to pass a gas station up there just because you still have a half tank. And, although lots of riders go solo, there is wisdom in traveling with someone else, not only in case of a problem, but to share the experience.
Bear in mind that water routes are sensible alternatives to the land routes. The Alaska Ferry System handles traffic from Bellingham all the way to Skagway. BC Ferries connects between Port Hardy at the north end of Vancouver Island and Prince Rupert (the western terminus of highway 16) Some riders go by road in one direction, and by ferry on the flip-flop. Since I live south of Victoria, my route to Hyder would be up Vancouver Island, ferry to Prince Rupert, then east on 16 and north on the Cassiar. However, the ferries don't always run on your preferred schedule. Both BC and Alaska ferries allow sleeping on deck, but I'd suggest getting a stateroom with a bunk, toilet, etc. and a place to lock up your gear. They all have food service.
View from the stern of the BC ferry Queen of the North, somewhere on the inside passage south of Prince Rupert. This ferry now lies on the bottom after a slight miscalculation by the crew during a storm.
Was wondering about getting an oil change on the road, either by a shop or DIY. Any shop recommendations for Whitehorse, Dawson Creek or Watson Lake? I would prefer not hauling 4 qts but just buying from a shop. And I will be riding my GS!
When traveling up north, I'd advise getting a current copy of The Milepost, which should have ads for various businesses as well as general advice.
If you do a search for the locations you mentioned, you can find businesses that might be able to provide what you need. For instance, in Watson Lake:
Campground Services mile 632 Alaska Hwy. Gas, diesel, propane & oil changes. Free Wi-Fi. 867-536-7448
You might try calling or emailing them. You may need to have your favorite oil shipped to them, or have them order the correct stuff for you.
When I need to do an oil change on the road, I buy the oil and a plastic drain pan at a convenience store (or "mart" as available), drain the old oil, fill with the new oil, pour the old oil back into the bottles, and leave at a gas station. Sometimes it's cheaper to buy a gallon jug.
Or, look in the Anonymous book, and see if there might be a fellow BMW owner with work space, maybe oil and filter, on your route.