Monday, July 5, 2010

Drive to Stewart, British Columbia, Canada: July 5

We decided to exit the Alaska-Canada Highway early and take a detour on our way home on the Cassiar Highway south through the middle of British Columbia. Although this route is shorter in distance it takes quite a bit longer due to the rough road conditions, but it also offers superior scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities. It did not disappoint!! Our first run-=in was with some Stone Sheep, seemingly munching on gravel by the side of the road. They didn't seem to be bothered at all by our presence and went about their business as we stopped to take a few photos. The next encounter was with a very cute and curious red fox. First he circled our car to check us out and pose for a few photos. Then he sauntered down the street behind us and kept turning back to check on us every few paces. He looked pretty scraggly. Maybe he was hoping for a free meal. At this point in our drive we were feeling very content with the wildlife we had seen. We got to check off two new animals from our list, but we weren't done yet...Gabe's eagle-eye spotted a black bear (colored light brown) hanging out on the side of the road. When we pulled up close he walked over to a tree, stretched up, and put his paws on it and looked over and stared at us. That made for a very cool photo. During the last half-hour of our 12 hour journey (657 miles), we saw 4 additional black bears. Each one was eating grass beside the road and after making eye contact with us they went back to eating their dinner. However, the last bear experience was a bit different and more exciting. We pulled the car up alongside where the bear was eating and Jenny popped out of the sunroof to get some photos. The bear meandered over to the side of the car, and at one point was less than a foot away from the passenger door, just below where Jenny was!! Luckily, it wasn't acting aggressive so we just let him check us out and then he went on his way, crossing the street just behind our car. We expected to see animals, but this drive was a wildlife wonderland!!