We left Skagway, headed to Watson Lake and turned south. This was on the Cassiar highway. The first part of the highway must be original. There is very little grading - the road just goes over the hills and down in the gullies, no cuts or fills. The road tends to be narrow and bumpy. At least 100 miles of it are unpaved: a few long sections and dozens of shorter ones.
After travelling south on the Cassiar highway, we turned west towards Stewart, B.C. The road immediately heads in between the mountains and climbs. The way is kind of narrow, twisty and very scenic - running along side the Bear River. Coming around a curve, we saw the Bear Glacier as it comes down to its lake.
Stewart is billed as 'Canada's Most Northerly Ice-Free Port.' It is located a the northeast end of a 90-mile long fjord that separates Alaska from British Columbia. This was a busy area of mining at the turn of the century. West of Stewart is the Canada/US border and Hyder, Alaska.
The next morning, we drove over to Hyder and took the road out of town on the other side. This road serviced the mines in the area. It also leads to the Salmon Glacier (and other glaciers). The Salmon Glacier is supposed to be the fifth largest glacier in the world. It was neat to be able to drive right up to overlook a huge glacier.
At the end of the road, we found the remains of the Granduc Copper Mine and Mill. This was closed in 1984, and the mill was salvaged, but a lot of stuff still remains.
Our trip to Stewart and Hyder was pretty much by accident. We just
wanted a decent motel room for the night, and Stewart was the biggest/closest
town. It turned out to be one of the real highlights of our trip. Spectacular
scenery with a bunch of mining history thrown in to boot!
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