Kates Diary Installment Two - Whitehorse to Stewart.
Thursday 2 September 2010, Filed in: General
Talking of Bears…..Today we got a little way ahead of mum and a black bear walked out into the road between us and stopped. When she passed it it ran into the woods. She was a bit upset that we we hadn’t even notived because we were busy picking raspberries and Saskatoon berries. We had the only can of bear spray!
The last few days we have had a heatwave. It was 35 degrees today. The water in our bottles get so hot that it doesn’t quench our thirst. We kept jumping into rivers and lakes sometimes with all our clothes on. We have been surrounded by forest fires. We can see big orange clouds and smell the smoke. It is very hazy. There are 41 fires. The smoke was so thick one morning that there was ash all over our tent.
We watched a beaver swimming in the lake. We could see its home made of logs and branches that the beaver chews off with its sharp teeth. The home is called a lodge. The bit where they live is above the water but to get in and out they have to swim under the water. There was a big dam at one end of the lake also made by the beaver.
We went to Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre and looked at totem poles, masks, drums, painted paddles and canoes. We saw clothes made from moosehide and decorated with beads. We watched films of dancing and drumming. The Tlingit art often tells legends or stories. Many of the pictures and carvings are of animals like eagle, raven, wolf, bear and frog. Living with nature is very important to the Tlingit people and they all belong to an animal clan.
We crossed a place called the Continental Divide. On one side the rivers all flow to the west and on the other they all flow to the east. This means that for once we are going the same way as the rivers which means AT LAST MORE DOWNHILL!!! WHEEEEE!!!
One day we did 65 miles!!
We went to Watson Lake where there is a huge signpost forest. It has fifty three thousand signs from all over the world and is nearly the size of Achmore. I painted my own sign and nailed it to one of the posts. We also went to the Northern Lights Centre. It is like a big dome and you sit in the dark and look up at the pretend sky and see a video of the Northern Lights or the aurora borealis as it is also called. If you want to see the real thing you have to be here in winter.
Ooops We were wrong there. Mum and Dad saw them the other night. Dad carried me out of the tent in my sleeping bag kicking and screaming but I would not wake up. It wasn’t like on the postcards with green or blue or purple colours. It was just bright white streaks flickering about. Dad took photos but it looked like a vapour trail on a cloudy day.
We passed Bear Glacier and cycled up a long dusty track to see Salmon Glacier which is the biggest glacier in North America that can be seen from a road. A glacier is a river of ice which starts to flow when lots and lots of snow gathers up in the mountains. We could see lots of deep cracks in the ice. These are called crevasses. Ten thousand years ago there was an ice age and much of the world was covered in snow and ice and glaciers like this. The glaciers are like big bulldozers carving out valleys and changing the shape of the land. It was very bumpy on the way down and we only had two hours to go twenty miles before dark. Dad didn’t use the brakes much even though it was very steep and my teeth were rattling and I kept getting a wedgy!
We also went to Fish Creek to watch the bears catching salmon. We could see hundreds of salmon in the stream. After salmon are born they go on a long journey out to but they always return to the same pool in the river where they were born to spawn. That is to lay their eggs and then they die if the bears don’t get them first. We saw the bears chasing the fish and eating them and I got a great video of two grizzlies wrestling. Mum said she got lots of shots of bears bottoms! In Stewart we also had breakfast in a museum filled with hundreds of old teapots and toasters called the Toaster Museum. We picked blueberries and chanterelles and found thousands of tiny frogs.
On this trip many people have been so kind to us. They have invited us to their homes, given us food and even money sometimes! One of our favourite treats was when we were going up a steep hill on a hot day. A man stopped and handed us a bag. It had 3 peaches in it. They were from the Okenagen. This is a place in the south of Canada which is famous for having the best fruit in the world especially the peaches. MMMMMMM!
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