Good fun, we got to do some nice hiking in Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks, and got our feet wet in bear country. Like most of BC, the area is popular with both black and grizzly bears. Since our pop top camper has soft, hypalon fabric sides on the pop top, there are some national parks where we were prohibited, only allowing hard sided campers. (though really, if a hungry grizz wanted in to ANY camper, he'd open the aluminum sides with his claws like a can opener.)
Never did see a grizz, though we did see fresh evidence...
And black bears were a common site, on the trails, in the campgrounds, and on the roads of BC.
After Glacier Park, we continued east to check out mountains and glaciers of Yoho, Lake Louise, Banff, and Jasper National Parks. The Canadian Rockies are absolutely spectacular and unique mountains. Unfortunately, they are really being "loved to death". The crowds are intense, and no backpacking can be done without permits, which have been reserved months in advance...not Bravo style! And the weather in early summer this year really sucked.....rain or threat of rain most days we were there. We did a few hikes in pouring rain, but it got a bit old. And, of course, rain in the hills meant for more tourists in the towns of Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper. But we did manage a few hikes in decent weather, and they were amazing!!!
Here are a few shots from the weeks in the Rockies.....
|Red umbrella at Moraine Lake|
|On the Iceline Trail, one of the most spectacular alpine hikes in Yoho National Park...or anywhere, for that matter!|
|Town of Banff, from top of Tunnel Mountain|
|An evening at the Jasper train yards...|
|Storm brewing on Mt. Athabaska|
|Anyone remember Rocky and Bullwinkle?|
|Here in rain mode, Dirt Bravo 2 (DB2) has been a great touring rig for us.|
|Here we've deployed the "mozzie box", clipped to the awning.....great to keep the little bastards at bay.|
After our time in the Rockies, we turned our windshield to the north west, driving through Prince George and many small towns on our way to Stewart. Stewart is right on the border with the dead end town of Hyder, Alaska. Kind of a whacky deal, really. There is no border crossing here into Alaska, because there's simply no where to go aside from the little semi ghost town of Hyder, and the mining roads above it. But Hyder is famous for its salmon run in July, and with the salmon come the bears to feast. It's one of the most accessible spots to watch the spectacle of bears catching their salmon. We last saw this at Brooks Lodge in Alaska many years ago, and we were eager for a repeat show. Unfortunately the salmon hadn't shown up yet....."any day, now", said the park rangers. We waited for three days, and in that time only one salmon was spotted, not enough to generate much enthusiasm from the bears lurking, no doubt, in the dense forest surrounding the river.
The weather was a bit gloomy, but we got to do some great driving along the glaciers on the way up to the mine sites.
But it was a beautiful spot nonetheless, and we enjoyed watching a mother hermit thrush feeding her three babies, which had hatched over the 2 days prior to our arrival.
We couldn't hang out forever in Hyder waiting for the salmon, though, as it was time to meet our friends John and Kathy on their trawler Mystic Moon. We first met J&K in the Galapagos in 2013, and leapfrogged with them across the pacific. After Australia, they went on to SE Asia, Japan, and Russia, before crossing to Alaska. They spent last winter in Sitka, and were bringing Mystic down the BC coast for a major refit in Washington State, to be done this fall.
It was great to see them! Leaving DB2 in Prince Rupert, we had a terrific 10 day trip, cruising the beautiful BC waters around to Kittamat. From there we hitched a ride to Terrace, where we rented a car for the day to go and fetch the truck where we'd left her.
It really felt fantastic to be back on the water again, for the first time in at least 6 or 7 months. The salmon and halibut fishing was terrific, crabbing could hardly be beat, wildlife amazing, and life aboard Mystic Moon with mates John and Kathy was just simply great. It made us remember just how extraordinary the cruising is in the Pacific NW, and we know we'll enjoy it again one day on new Bravo. Here are a few shots of our time aboard Mystic.....
|Another sweet anchorage|
|Navigating in pea soup fog....ah, life in the Pacific NW!!!|
|48 lb halibut, yielded 25 lbs of tasty fillets!!! (photo by Kathy)|
|Juvenile bald eagle|
|Came across this sweet fishing cabin on shore. Someone had sketched some native drawings on the walls inside, this one of an orca whale.|
The wildlife was amazing. Bears were often seen on the beach (here a mother with her three cubs). We heard wolves howling at night, but unfortunately didn't see any while we were there. And, of course, the whales were always a treat, often coming up close and personal, to be sure!!!
|A pair of sand hill cranes.|
All in all, a great 2 months in beautiful British Columbia!!! Saying our good byes to John and Kathy, we headed down the road towards the US border. We had a ferry to catch to get to our niece Elizabeth's wedding to Evan in Port Angeles!!!
Next, on to Wyoming.....