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Smithers, British Columbia to Hyder, Alaska

Smithers is a nice little town with a Bavarian flavor about it. It drizzled the entire time that I was there. My hotel was owned by Germans and they did a feast thing for breakfast each morning, which I appreciated, but the hotel rooms up here are not like the hotel rooms in the states. We are very spoiled.

I decided to start driving toward Alaska and see what happened. I wasn't sure how good the road (37, otherwise known as the Stewart-Cassier)) was up to the Alaska Highway, and I had gotten some conflicting reports. I got to Meziadin Junction and gassed up at some kind of an outpost there. They sold a little bit of everything. And just my luck, some church group of teens from Oregon (4 or 5 vans full) arrived just moments before I did, so the store was packed (AND they had scarfed up the best snacks in the place) AND there were long lines in front of the bathrooms. I mean, what are the odds? Meziadin Junction is in the middle of nowhere.

While I waited in line to pay for gas and inferior snacks, I decided to detour down 37-A and have a look at Bear Glacier. WOW. What a road. The drive into Stewart on 37-A was one of the most scenic stretches of my entire trip. 41 miles of outstanding beauty. Bears were all over the road, hawks were swooping, fish were leaping, and an ethereal mist of clouds was hovering around every bend. Black raspberries were everywhere. It was incredible.

There are over 20 glaciers along this road.

Bear Glacier is blue and it calves icebergs right there alongside the road into Strohn Lake. (That sounds a trifle immodest.) It's neat to look at, but it's quite dusty from all of the traffic on the road. It's supposed to glow at night, but I wasn't in a mood to sit around waiting to find out. And, as I discovered a bit later, it's merely a prelude to the magnificence of Salmon Glacier.

And, if you happen to read this and you were with that church group: