I knew that I was going to be in for a big day of driving when I left Carcross. It's about 5 hours from Carcross to Watson Lake then another 2 hours to my paradise, aka Simmons Lake, BC. I did the drive slowly so in total my drive stretched to about 8 hours. I had planned to camp again near Boya Provincial Park but after filling up my drinking water at the Artesian well in the parking lot it was only 5:45 and I still had a lot of life in me so I continued South. 6:30 came around a began my usual routine, if you've been reading my blogs you know what I'm talking about. As I was passing a small chain of lakes I decided to pull over to an info booth on the side of the road and let the people behind me pass. I hopped out to take a look at the lake and noticed a small sandy beach at the South end. There was a gravel path off the pull out so I followed it. This is when I happened upon a little paradise.
There nestled in the trees was flat open ground right beside a small flowing creek that made its way into the a beautifully serene lake. Unfortunately I wasn't alone, there was another traveler there, but after a short conversation it was clear that it wasn't going to be a problem sharing the paradise with him. After dinner my neighbor came out to the lakes edge to fish. I wandered over with Willow to say hello and he promptly offered me a puff from his fat joint. Nah, I'm good I said, then we continued to chat. Willow sat at the waters edge transfixed on whatever the fishing line might bring up. A while longer and he retired into his camper and me to my tent.
The next morning was pretty glorious. A warm sunrise brought me to consciousness, shortly after with a full belly the smell of coffee filled my nostrils. After breakfast I took my towel down to the lakes edge and sat in the sun for a while before jumping in. The water was cold and crisp but felt amazing. As I bathed I had two people stop in the same pull out as I did then watch me...kind of awkward, good thing I hadn't decided to go in naked that morning. Feeling fresh and clean I packed up the truck and said good bye to my beautiful campsite, I'll be back campsite, I promise. My next destination was Stewart, BC then Hyder, AK. This time I hauled ass to get back down the 37. I didn't really stop except for dog walking/ pee breaks, I knew the drive would be long but I didn't really know what to expect when arriving in Stewart so I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to find a decent camp spot. The drive West of Meziadin Junction is like a slow ramping up of excitement. The mountains get bigger, the snow a little more prominent and then...glaciers. I was freaking out while passing the gargantuan mountains spilling their cold glacier gifts into the valley below.
Arriving in Stewart I first mailed a letter to Alison, grabbed some groceries then continued on my way to Hyder. When crossing over into Hyder its a little surprising when you're driving then suddenly there's a sign telling you you've entered Alaska. There's no customs booth or border guards, you just drive in. I drove in then realized that Hyder is a ghost town and there are very few services, aka no gas. Having only a quarter tank left and another 25km trip one way I turned around and headed back to Canada to get some gas. Turns out there's a customs booth going back into Canada. I had a rather lengthy conversation with the border guard there, apparently she had little else to do and was rather intrigued with the North American Overland sticker on the side of my truck, I had to explain that it was kind of a club but really more of an Instagram account and that it had had multiple members till they all fell through two months before the trip. After my little chat with the guard I went back to town, fueled up then entered again into Alaska. Before driving to the glacier I stopped in at local watering hole to get "Hyderized." Being Hyderized means taking a shot of 150 proof Everclear. House rules is that if you can't hold it down then you buy the house a round, I kept it down...only because I'm frugal.
It wasn't looking like I was going to find a decent place to camp in Stewart and I had been assured that I'd find something on the way to the Salmon Glacier. So I drove, up and up and up. I'll let the pictures do the talking from this point.
I camped at the Salmon Glacier lookout that night. Aside from the bugs (worst of the trip) it was a pretty magical night. At one point I woke up to a moonlight glacier backed by an incredible starscape. I felt pretty blessed to be there.