Alcan Highway: The Yukon – Mile 1135 – July 6, 2007.
On the 4th of July we took a hike though the Chilkat rainforest near Haines, Alaska.
The trail comes out on a rocky beach overlooking a glacier across a bay. It’s quiet. All you can hear is a waterfall under the glacier about ten miles away. I try my luck fishing with the usual result.
Later, we encounter a huge grizzly bear. She has her new cub with her. She is eating yellow flowers and pretty much ignoring us except for an occasional glance. You can tell a grizzly by the size and by the hump on the back. Black bears and brown bears are smaller.
In the evening we go up to Chilkoot State park to watch the “Mad Raft Race” on the Chilkoot River. There are four rafts in the race, all home-made. In last place are two little girls on a raft built of milk jugs. Their raft disintegrates as they pass, but they float on in the swift, cold water to finish. A fisherman stands in the current and brings in a salmon. So far this season, only about 10,000 “reds” have crossed the weir. The big run should start soon.
We drove north from Haines on the 5th and reentered British Columbia, then the Yukon. Northern Alaska is about 60 miles from where we camped last night. As we drive we pass a bald eagle preserve area where about 3,500 eagles gather to feast on salmon later in the summer. The campground is full of abandoned WWII highway construction equipment.
The bears here in the empty Yukon put on fat for the winter in September when the “chum” or “dog” salmon come to spawn. Chum salmon are considered the least desirable of the five species of Alaska salmon by humans.
They say to wear little bells and carry pepper spray when you hike in the woods because of bears. We see lots of bear droppings on the hike. You can tell black bear droppings by the berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear droppings are full of little bells and smell like pepper spray.
Here are some bear and forest pictures.