We sadly left Hyder to continue our journey north entering back into Canada at Stewart. The border crossing was uneventful except for the fact that the agent seemed suspicious of the fact that we said we had no weapons of any kind (which includes bear spray). She questioned how we planned to protect ourselves in bear country and we told her we were planning to buy some spray once we get back into Alaska. The use of bear spray seems to be a topic of debate as some people say it won't help if a bear is intent on attacking you. As of today (August 7th) I still don't have any but I am not doing any backwoods hiking or camping so I think I am fine.
The drive up the Cassiar Highway is known for its remote beauty and we saw why. You can drive miles and miles (in fact, you can drive days) and see nothing but forest and mountains. You don't want to break down on this stretch of road. We didn't see much wildlife and surmised that with so much woods, an animal would have little reason to be by the road. We did, unfortunately, come across a very young black bear cub who had been hit by a car and was lying dead in the middle of the road. It was really sad to see.
We broke up the drive with two overnight stops - the first at a boondocking spot I had heard about on Upper Gnat Lake and the second at Boya Lake Provincial Park, which ended up being one of the best camping spots we have had to date. The free site on Upper Gnat was secluded and beautiful - right on the lake.
The campground at Boya Lake Provincial Park was perfect - there's just no other way to put it. We lucked into the best site on the lake which is the most beautiful shade of emerald green and really clear and calm. It was the perfect opportunity for me to try my new inflatable kayak. We figured out how to inflate it and took it out for a float. Aside from the fact that we still don't work together too well and struggled to row efficiently, it was a very pleasant outing. The couple from Long Island in the campsite next to us joked that they thought they were going to have to call in the rescue team after watching us struggle. Later in the evening, we took a 3km walk around the lake to a huge beaver dam. The hike took us away from the lake and through a pretty birch stand. All in all a wonderful day.
One touristy stop along the Cassiar is Jade City. We stopped mostly because Jeff was in need of coffee and it turned out to be kind of interesting. Apparently, it is a family owned and run jade mine and is actually featured in a reality TV show on the Discovery Channel called Jade Fever. Didn't buy anything but was happy to have a brief connection to the internet to make sure nithing catastrophic happened in the couple of days that we were unplugged.
Tommorrow we connect up with the Alaska Highway!