Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Salmon Glacier and Bear Creek

Stewart, British Columbia

In the morning, we drive two miles over to Alaska and cross the border. Bear Creek is a place where the salmon are spawning and the bears come out to feed.

The Pink and Chum salmon like this little creek. It’s shallow, the water is clear and the gravel is just the right size. The female salmon flutter and clean the dirt and algae from their nest area. They dig a hole in the gravel and deposit their eggs. The males swim over and fertilize the eggs and then they cover the nest with gravel. Both parents guard the nest until the fry hatch out. They have grown teeth and changed color and shape. Then they die. Only one bear is hungry this morning, but the dozens of salmon fluttering and fighting for turf in the shallow water are very interesting to watch.

We drive up a narrow gravel road 25 miles to the summit of Salmon Glacier. We meet Keith Scott. He is living in a tent on the summit until September. He tells us that the glacier forms a big lake which drains in July like emptying a giant bathtub. The result is a huge flood down river and a broken ice field at the top of the glacier. It happened last week.

We talk to Keith awhile. He suggests a hike and loans Mrs. Phred a can of pepper spray in case she attracts any grizzly bears. The hike is about a mile along a ledge with a good perspectives looking down at the huge glacier.

The view is stunning. It reminds us both the tourist town high in the Alps, with the cog railway, but without the train or the hundreds of jostling Japanese tourists with expensive cameras. We have the whole place to ourselves. I make a bunch of videos, but the Wi-fi back at the camps won’t let me post files that large.

We return to camp and play some tennis in the municipal park (I lose 2-6) then go back to Bear Creek in the evening. A big grizzly sow and her three cubs come out and put on a 30 minute show fishing and playing on the bank. A big male shows up and mama quickly runs away with her cubs. One cub gets left behind in the hasty departure and bellows for 15 minutes until his mother returns to fetch him.

Here are some pictures of the glacier, maybe some videos later?

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