February 21st, 2009

Hyder Alaska

Reports from Dave Craig that lived in Stewart B.C was that there was a record breaking base and in the past week 5 feet of fresh had fallen. I loaded up the truck to join a caravan of 10 to leave Pemberton on the 16hr drive north. As we made the final push down the Stewart/ Cassiar hwy it was obvious that this was going to be a great trip. The snowbanks were well over our truck, maybe not Simon’s!! There were snow cats and huge front end loaders trying to push snow anywhere they could fit it. We spent the first few days riding in Hyder Alaska. It’s a crazy little town that is at the end of a road and is the only US town for miles. It’s truly lawless. There are no State troopers and Canada has no jurisdiction. So the people police the streets on there own. Even though we fire up the sleds in Alaska by the time we get to the good riding we’ve travelled back into B.C. The access is easy with mining roads leading to the base of enormous ice fields and huge sub alpine meadows. The wind hammered the alpine a bit which is normal for this area but the snow in the trees was amazing. The crew of 10+ people was always full of comedy with someone doing something stupid almost at all times. There was all kinds of great crashes and many hit and runs on trees of all sizes. Check out next years 2 Stroke Cold Smoke to see the footage.

After riding thru hyder Alaska for a few days. We got tired of the long mine road full of woops. So we started riding a bit inland near a place called Meziadan jct. The approach to the riding zones is a bit of a challenge. One of the places we road has a river valley with near verticle walls. Once you get in the valley it’s about 1000 verticle feet before you can get out of the gulley. It wasn’t an easy trail break but it sure was a lot of fun with people in tree wells and stuck with nothing more than a foot of the track touching the snow. On our last day of riding, we unloaded the sleds almost straight onto the Bear Glacier from the highway. In fact it was about 500meters across a lake to the tongue of the glacier. It was a crazy route find as we wound our way through ceracs and crevaces before getting up onto the main Bear Glacier. Once on top the icefield ran in all directions as far as the eye can see. One of the guys on tour with us spent his youth hiking grid lines for mining companies all over these mountains. He’d heard rumors that a test mine closed 10 years ago and left all the equipment at the mine site including a new Bombardier snow cat. So the mission turned to finding the cat. After a bit of searching sure enough we stumbled onto the cat as well as a bunch of other vehicles and equipment. We spent an hour too long digging the cat out because when we turned to head home the clouds moved in and whited us out 10 kms from the truck. Luckily a couple guys had turned on their gps and we were able to follow our trail home instead of spending the night in the snow.