It's Windy and Wet
South to Alaska

September 23rd, 2014

What happened…

Andrew writes:  It was really nice taking the time yesterday in between rain showers to dry everything out. Even today, we’re still finding things that we missed. They’re slightly damp, and a little smelly. We also find ourself freshly charged, and well-fed after our rest day, with two days of “all you can eat” buffet breakfasts. Today’s breakfast, 3 plates and a bowl of chow, left us with enough gas in the tank to ride almost 100km in record time! Something like an average speed of 17km/h; unheard of on this trip so far.

We started out from Bell 2 Lodge this morning around 9:30am and rode for just short of 6 hours. We stopped only for a short-lunch, and some love-making under the blue sky. The road seemed mostly downhill from Bell 2 to Bell 1 (60km) before we enjoyed a pleasant 19km climb up to 700m through Hanna Pass. It was a great 90 minute climb, but we looked forward to the downhill even more, and it practically took us all the way to the Hwy 37A Junction which goes to Stewart, and then the border with Alaska.

The sun was out all day today, and the scenery is incredible. If you haven’t checked out this part of the world, then put it on your list. Rent a camper, or load up the car, or even better, hop on your bike and come see this unique part of our home and native land. As we get closer to the junction with Stewart, and the Cambria Icefields, we are starting to see more and larger glaciers on the titanic mountains that surround us on all sides. I was all agog in April during my ride through the Rockies, but this is something else!

The remoteness of everything can leave a little to be desired, but it also has benefits. Right now, I’m one of two people inhabiting the Meziadin Lake Provincial Park. The gate was closed when we arrived, so naturally we took the opportunity for free camping. There’s a covered shelter with a stove and firewood, a lake with Dolly Varden trout leaping to and fro, and there’s a flock of Canadian Geese nearby honking. I sat on the beach with my camera trying to capture the fish jumping out of the water but they were shy, and only wanted to jump when the camera was off, or not pointed at them. Typical.

We’re going to play it by ear tomorrow. If the weather cooperates we might take a 60km detour towards Stewart so that we can see more ice fields, including the Bear Glacier. If, as the weatherman forecasts, it’s raining, then we’ll start working the remaining 200km down the highway towards Kitwanga, and ultimately our next Warmshowers destination in Smithers.

Amanda writes:Today was glorious.  The sun came out and that really does make everything seem easier.  It wasn’t warm by any means, but certainly good for riding.  The forecasted high was 9 degrees and Andrew reported that it hit 13 degrees on his thermometer.  The riding seemed to come easy for us after a rest day of doing laundry, showering, eating, reading books and playing cards.  We left Bell II Lodge well fed and ready.  The terrain was pretty easy today and only the one big climb so that was nice too.

Cycling with Andrew felt so right today and it felt so natural to take an extra long lunch break.  After lunch we set out on our big climb and just had such a good flow.  As we arrived at the Junction for Stewart we met a fellow who insisted that it is worth the trip to see the Ice Fields.  This fellow also thought we were nuts to be trying to head to Jasper this time of year and then simply walked away when we informed him our destination was Argentina.  It left me smiling ear to ear.

After we started heading down the road away from Stewart, Andrew stopped his bike.  He declared that (1) we should go to Stewart and check it out, it was only 50 kilometres or so and (2) we were not going to pay for camping again and we would wild camp.  I’m all for wild camping but I’ve already been pretty nervous about our timing through the rockies this late and then into the Northern USA.  We haven’t been enjoying the rain so much and if we go to Stewart we put ourselves back two days.  We decided we would talk about it at dinner after we find a wild camp spot.  We took off down the road and were stoked to see the campground was closed.  Yippee free camping!  And as a bonus the campsite is glorious.  Jackpot.  Andrew is making dinner while I set up camp and continuing to try and dry out some of our stuff and we will see in the morning what direction we head in.  Maybe we’ll decide to see the ice fields in Stewart and then take a ferry to Prince Rupert and Port Hardy and go and see Grandpa and Uncle Des and do the ice fields next spring.  We had such a fabulous time with family in Whitehorse, maybe we could spend Thanksgiving in Nanaimo with family.  And then we could also check off the Alaska mark that I was hoping to do.  If we did Jasper later in our trip it would only be about 2000 kilometres North from Mexico.  Going to eat!

Today’s Photographs

It's Windy and Wet
South to Alaska