The Salmon Glacier which is a 37km drive from Stewart- past Hyder – is the 5th largest glacier in Canada and a remnant of the last great age of glaciers and therefor an absolute must for the boys to explore.
About 5km outside Stewart one crosses into Hyder which actually is situated in the USA but strangely enough there is no USA border post which has a strange history to it:
It can be reached by British Columbia Highway 37A from Stewart and International Street from Hyder. There is no US border inspection station at this crossing, making it the only land border crossing where a person may legally enter the United States without reporting for inspection. The US closed its border station, which was located in the same building as the Boundary Gift Shop, in the 1950s. As a result, all flights leaving the Hyder Seaplane Base to other cities in Alaska are treated as international arrivals, and all passengers, including Hyder residents must be inspected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.Hyder is the easternmost community in Alaska.
On April 1, 2015, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) decided to close its border station at Stewart between midnight and 8:00AM Pacific as a cost-cutting measure. The road was closed with a steel gate when the station is closed, cutting off the only road entry point into Hyder. The decision was met with protests from Hyder residents, as they rely on Stewart for health care and mainland road access, although the Canadian authorities reassured that the residents would continue to have access to emergency services. The move also inconvenienced people wishing to cross the border early, such as mine workers working in mines accessible only via Hyder, as well as tourists entering Hyder for bear viewing. Following discussions between US and Canadian officials, starting in June 2015 the road is reopened for 24-hour access. Anyone crossing into Canada after border station hours is required to report to CBSA by video telephone.
Underneath is a saying which the boys saw in one of the pubs – describing this Highway:
“Winding in and winding out,
leaves my mind in serious doubt,
as to whether the lout who built this route,
was going to Hell or coming out.”
On the road to the summit from where the Salmon Glacier can be seen Team Lipstick passed some old gold and silver mines bearing witness to why people came here in the first case.
Andre trying to find out whether there is any gold left in this Alaskan Mines.
The Granduc Mine road to the glacier starts in Hyder, Alaska at sea level and follows the Salmon River to the Salmon Glacier at 4,300 ft. up in the alpine. The road goes by several old gold mines which have been operating since the 1920s. Three miles past Hyder is Fish Creek, where from July to September, the salmon run provides an extensive food supply for bears, gulls and bald eagles.
Finally reaching the summit on this winding road the Salmon Glacier appeared in all its glory and beauty.
check the videos which Andre made on this blog post.
The Salmon glacier of course gets its name from the many salmons which breed in the rivers which the glaciers around this area are feeding.
THE LIFE CYCLE OF A SALMON
1& 2: Eggs & Alevins. The cycle begins in freshwater, when a redd, or a female’s nest of eggs, is fertilized. These eggs remain in the gravel throughout the winter, and the embryos develop. In the spring, the eggs hatch and alevins emerge. These are tiny fish with the yolk sac of the egg attached to their bellies. Alevins stay close to the redd for a few months. When they have consumed all of the yolk sac and grown in size, these fish emerge from the gravel, and are then considered fry.
Fry swim to the surface of the water, fill up their swim bladders with oxygen, and begin to feed. Depending on the species, fry can spend up to a year or more in their natal stream. Upon emerging from the gravel, both pink and chum are already silvery smolts, and head directly to sea. Sockeye fry tend to migrate to a lake, spending 1-2 years before migrating to sea. Chinook fry usually spend less than 5 months in freshwater, while coho fry may spend over a year. The survival of fry is dependent upon high-quality stream habitat. Boulders, logs, shade, and access to side channels is important in allowing fry to hide from predators and prevents them from getting flushed downstream during flood river-flows.
4: Seaward Migration
Eventually, environmental cues cause fry to begin their migration downstream towards the oceans. At this time, smolting begins, and scales grow as they turn a silvery color. At night to avoid predators, small fry (or developing smolts) allow the river to take them tail-first downstream while larger fry swim actively towards the ocean. Estuaries, at the mouth of the river, are crucial to the survival of young smolts. While allowing their bodies to adjust to the new conditions, they feed heavily, hoping to ensure survival in the ocean.
5: Ocean Life
While some salmon remain in coastal water, others migrate northward to feedings grounds. Salmon may spend one to seven years in the ocean. Certain species have more flexible life history strategies, while others are more rigid. Coho may spend up to seven years at sea, but typically four. Pink salmon, on the other hand, spend a fixed 18 months at sea. Sockeye typically spend two years at sea, coho spend about 18 months, and chinook can spend up to 8 years before journeying back to their natal streams to spawn.
6: Spawning Migration
It is unsure as to how exactly salmon detect their natal streams, though it is suspected that scents and chemical cues, as well as the sun, play an important role in the homeward migraton. Once the salmon reach freshwater, they stop feeding. During the course of the journey, their bodies intinctively prepare for spawning. The taxing journey draws energy from their fat storage, muscles, and organs, except for the reproductive organs. Males develop hooked noses, or kype, in order to fight for dominance.
7 & 8: Spawning & Death
Upon reaching natal streams, females build nests, or redds. These little depressions in the gravel are made by the female by turning on her side and using her tail to dislodge stones or pebbles. Males fight with other males for spawning rights with a female. The dominant male will court the female and upon spawning, they release eggs and milt simultaneously.
Fish Creek at the bottom of the Salmon Glacier is a wonderfull site to see Salmons by the thousands!
Salmons swimming upstream to breed and … die!
One of the natural enemies of the salmon is the black and brown bear which cannot wait for the salmons to arrive – as they again depend on them in order to survive the harsh winter months when no food is available and they start hibernating.
The boys were lucky enough to see a young black bear getting ready for some seafood and where actually able to catch him on video as he was catching a nice salmon out of the river –
A rare video indeed for team Lipstick.
A great day for team Lipstick before they turn further south again next day towards Vancouver …