Jumping Salmon, Skagway and Wildfires
Alaska is the fishermen’s paradise
To be able to go fishing in Alaska an official fishing permit is required. For foreigners and for longer than 14 days it costs 145 US$. We organised one at Delta Junction.
In several large and rather rapid rivers my attempts had to be booked under «practicing». Locals told us that it was still too early for salmon.
In Valdez I managed to do everything right. Weather, passing salmons and thus I succeeded in reaching the daily allowed quota of six fish per day several days in a row. Now we have the comfortable problem that in our 30l freezing compartment apart from the salmon – filleted by Brigitte – there was only space for some Magnum ice creams and ice cubes!
Border official, likable and linguistically gifted
Coming from Haynes Junction, Canada we travelled south into Alaska once again. The officer on duty spoke to us in fluent German after having received our passports. As he stayed in Germany until he was 10 years old he spoke the language very well. There were no other vehicles behind us at this rather quiet border post and we had the chance to get some interesting insights form this friendly official.
Where we would for sure see bears! That now most fish were to be found at the mouth of the Chilkoot River, due to the warmer weather and increasing minerals in the glacier water.
That he enjoyed this border amidst nature more than the Mexican, where he was stationed previously! We said farewell in Spanish.
Hyder, a village in Alaska where Grizzlies roam
From Stewart, Canada we drove the few kilometres without border control to Hyder, Alaska. This place had a rough charm and appeared like a ghost town to us. Dilapidated houses on scruffy yards. Every second house is marked “for sale”.
Hyder advertises the attraction of seeing bears catching salmon. As the Fish Creek had very little water when we were there we felt sorry for the fish that really had to struggle to get upstream. In every little pond where there was space for the whole fish to be under water they fought with each other. On the viewing platform tourists were cramming up for the best spots to take pictures. Despite persevering for several hours for two days we were not able to take a picture of a salmon catching bear. They do exsist, those photos, but not from us.
We left this touristic highlight after two days. Luckily for the salmon it started raining. We had just left the parking area towards Steward when a Grizzly crossed the road 30 metres in front of us.
The Canadian border official asked us on return whether we had brought any presents or other things from Hyder. He must have insider knowledge, as we did not see any shopping possibility in the dilapidated village.
Coming from Haynes with the car ferry we ended up in the tourist trap of Skagway. Up to four cruise liners at the same time land here. Consequently, the small town (450 inhabitants in winter) gets displeasingly flooded with up to ten thousand tourists a day in summer. Except for gift and jewellery shops as well as some tour operators. For us it means stocking up on supplies and off we go into the grand nature.
BF Goodrich T/A KO2 the Allrounder also for snow
After already having a wary feeling about our Firestone A/T tyres on the Dempster Highway because of the snow mud and rain it was time to get better tyres.
From substantial, positive experience with BF Goodrich All Terrain in Australia and in southern Africa the choice was obvious. In Prince George tyres for our large rim size R20 were immediately deliverable. Now all we needed was a good testing route!
Heavy forest fires in Canada
In the south-west of Canada, we were traveling from Prince Ruppert to Jasper. Due to the many fires and their smoke development we mainly drove through heavily smoked areas, like fog in the night. Some places were completely evacuated.
At the beginning we still risked one night in a recreation area. The strong smoke-filled air and the over flying fire extinguishing helicopters made us continue our journey the next day. Very disappointing, as we had to leave out some very nice overnight spots, also some with good fishing grounds, for hundreds of kilometres.
In Prince George we had a stopover. Coincidentally we met Erwin the Swiss, who spontaneously invited us to set up on his property. We learned a lot about the people and the country from him and his wife. Interesting for me and for Erwin was that we had many mutual friends 45 years ago in Zurich.
The trip up to Lasalle Lake continued to take us through heavily smoked areas. After on night however the sun rose again and the doomsday mood was luckily over.
Ice fields as far as the eye can see
From Haynes Junction we flew in a well motorised airplane through the mountain valleys and over the different glaciers of the Kluane National Parks. During one-and-a-half hours Stuart piloted us through crisp blue skies and excellent vistas through the unique mountain world. The three days of waiting for the weather to clear had been worth it.
Photos Kluane National Park Air Tour
USA Alaska: August 2018