Friday, August 28, 2009

The Bear Glacier

Day eight - July 30, 2009: Hyder to Watson Lake, Yukon (405 miles)

Sealaska Inn, Hyder Alaska
In the 130 or so miles between the Yellowhead Highway and here there are a lot of trees and not much else.  The occasional black bear steps into the road.  It's about 50 miles from the Cassier Highway along a gravel road through the mountains and alongside glacial rivers.  The Sealaska Inn is a bar with a few basic rooms attached.  Walk in covered in dust and bugs and feel welcome like you were wearing Prada to an LA opening.  Through the double door the first stop is a long bar with a bartender who loves working here and loves living here, even though she broke most of the bones in her body last autumn falling off her roof and spent the winter in a wheel chair.  Hyder was a mining town in the 70's and "they'd line up 4 deep at the bar for drinks" says the owner who always is sitting at the end of the bar reading a newspaper.  One night there was a gun fight and he caught some shotgun pellets in his head.  Little divits or craters on top of his bald head and in his forehead if you look close.

Main Street, Hyder Alaska

Marina Jetty, Hyder Alaska

Cassier Highway, Upper Gnat Lake

Observation: There are a lot of trees, lakes and flying insects. The insects arrive in clouds forming a gray aura, and will leave you bloody, not a little. Mosquitoes, presumably, sense heat. Infrared vision possibly. A motorcycle must light up like Vegas for them. While moving down the road it's moth to a flame as they smear them selves across the front. When stopped they arrive in thunder clouds, engulfing. Move 20 feet away and the air is relatively calm.
Observation 2: Wasps are carnivores and as such are drawn to the mosquito and dragon fly carnage across all forward facing surfaces of the motorcycle. They swarm by the score arriving shortly after the mosquitoes. They also defend their opportunistic meal aggressively against morning oil checks and tire inflation.

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