Monday, July 12

Arctic Adventure

Today started off good.  Stewart, BC lost it's shroud of foggy mist from the previous day and it was probably about 15 degrees warmer.  While it was still nice I rode about 1.5 miles from Stewart to Hyder, Alaska - border towns, respectively.  So, I can officially say I've been to Alaska.  Anyway, Stewart is a very small town, but Hyder, is barely even a town; probably closer to a collection of buildings - with half of them being deserted.

From Hyder, I rode back into Canada and north on the Cassiar Highway. (and, just for clarification, the Cassiar Highway isn't really a highway, it's a two lane road through a massive forest). Then it started to rain, on and off, for the next 10 hours.  Of course, the moment I got to any unpaved portion of the Cassiar is when it started to rain and when the temp dropped 10 or more degrees.  The average temp today was in the low fifties, however, I did see (and feel) it go as low as 41.  I rode with my heated jacket all day today.

In the past two days I saw 15 bears - all black.  I only have photographic evidence for two, as they were the only ones far enough away to stop and take a picture (and weren't camera shy).  The others were either right alongside the road or crossing it.  Also, I saw a huge moose cross the road about half a mile up in front of me.  Finally, this place also has lots of roaming horses - free for the taking.  They also have lots of bears free for the taking, but that's a slightly different proposition.

I've been riding about 400 miles a day for the past 4 days and I'm getting exhausted.  I can't believe I have 20 more days of this left!   However, even though there is a big  physical part to this ride, the mental part is bigger.  When you're out riding for hundreds of miles and there's no one around and you know there's a good chance that if you break down you could have a  less than diplomatic bear encounter, you have to fight to keep your spirits up and keep yourself from continually asking "Why am I doing this?".

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