Monday, July 18, 2011

Skagway & Hyder Alaska

We made our last two stops in Alaska, for both you had to travel through the Yukon, into British Columbia and back into Alaska. Other than that the two places couldn't be more different.   This lake is on the road into Skagway called Rainbow Lake for the beautiful colors reflected off the marl bottom.  The land was full of boulders and small trees and a myriad of lakes at alpine altitude.  The steep decline into the town was amazing.  This is a tourist town, Cruise ships, helicopter rides, trains, (think Wisconsin Dells +).  Walked the Historic Gold Rush District with about 10,000 people from the 5 ships per day.  On the way out of Skagway we were blessed with a Canadian Lynx sighting, running across the road and up a long bank. Our last Alaskan destination was Hyder with a population of 100 (in the summer) with streets of dusty gravel.  We attended a small Baptist church with 11 others, 6 visitors.  We drove to National Forest Salmon observation platform, as tradition has it, people who discover the first Salmon in the river get the fish named after them - we are now famous and some grizzly bear's lunch.  Then drove 23 miles up hairpin, cliff edge gravel road to summit over Salmon Glacier (pictured below) at 5,000+ feet.  Ty had to climb the extra 1,000 feet to the mountain top - at this alpine vista added the target birds of Gray-crowned Rosy-finch and White-tailed Ptarmigan, plus Golden-crowned Sparrow and Semi-palmated Plover.   Today we had a record bear day of 8 giving us 51 for the trip including a sow grizzly with 3 month old cubs, a black bear swimming a fast, wide river followed by a harbor seal, and a coastal brown bear with a curious standing cub.  God Bless you all,  Ty & Ida

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