Cassiar, Cassiar: A Young Family’s Strange, Exotic Journey from Bellingham to Tok

There are two main roads that take you to Alaska from the lower 48: the Alaska Highway (or Alcan) and the Cassiar. We knew we’d be going south on the Alcan, so we decided to take the more westerly Cassiar north. We’d heard the scenery was unbeatable and we’d definitely agree with that assessment. The road wasn’t all paved up until a few years ago, but now the road is fine; there are still rough sections and frost heaves, but overall the drive treated us well. 

We wanted to get back to the U.S. for the Fourth of July, so we did the 40 hour drive in about 2 1/2 days. David and I switched off driving and we took advantage of the perpetual daylight to drive well into the night. We had a copy of the Milepost—essential reading for any Alaska/Canada roadtrip—and lots of podcasts. The kids watched loads of Wild Kratts—we haven’t let them watch shows in the bus before because Graham has a tough time coming down from a TV high and we all seem to do better without screens. But we’d told them from the beginning that while we were in Canada they could watch things so they (mostly Graham) had a serious binge.

We took one major detour to Hyder, AK to see the beautiful Salmon Glacier. On the way we stopped at the Fish Creek bear viewing platform. We were too early in the season for bears, but we did see a beaver! If you’re anywhere near here between mid-July and early September, definitely look into coming to see the salmon-fishing bears. 

All in all, our drive was uneventful, in a good way. David almost hit a moose when it ran out in front of the bus, we had to stop for a herd of elk making a road crossing, and we saw 15 roadside black bears, a porcupine, loads of bald eagles, and an owl. We pulled into Tok, Alaska just in time for their Fourth of July parade and festivities.

 We passed Bear Glacier on our way to Hyder.
We passed Bear Glacier on our way to Hyder.

 Beaver!
Beaver!

 

  

 Salmon Glacier
Salmon Glacier

 

  

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