We rolled up the Alaska-Stewart Highway (highway 37). At around 56.1 degrees North latitude, the highway comes to a tee. I had been sleeping, but was still tired. The small gas station and surrounding area we had seen on Google Street View had morphed into a large work camp. We stopped at the stop sign and turned right.
There is a 1971 low budget horror movie called The__ Touch of Satan. It stars no one and features nothing (though, it does have the enduring hill-billy, Robert Easton). The movie starts with the lead protagonist, Jodie Lee Thompson (played by Michael Berry), coming to a side road. He turns down the side road just to see what’s down it__. _Jodie travels down the road, becomes entailed with a woman on a farm (actually, it is referred to as a _walnut ranch in the movie) at the end of road. In the end, he becomes part of an evil plot crafted by satan; Jodie is stuck on the farm for eternity.
The thought of that movie crossed my mind as we drove north. I was not scared of finding satan along the road or getting stuck on a walnut ranch. I was however, concerned about getting stuck without diesel; we had a half-tank and no jerry cans. With the gas station on the corner having been converted into a work camp, we did not filled up there.
Two kilometers down the road, we stopped, made a turn-around on a spur road. We headed to Stewart.
This was at around 6:00 AM; we rolled down Highway 37A past the work camp and toward Stewart.
Highway 37A rolls through mountains and crosses over several streams and rivers. Along the way, we saw black bears and porcupines; around a corner, up a little bend, suspended on the edge of a pond was Bear Glacier.
We had past by glaciers in while driving through Banff National Park in Alberta, but those glaciers were covered with tundra buggies and tourists. Bear Glacier, on the other hand, was just sitting in solitude.
The color of the glacier, on one corner, reminded me of the glaciers that I saw from the air when flying over Greenland several years ago. It is the same color as a blue Icee. We stopped and just sort of looked at it in amazement before continuing on to Stewart.
Stewart is a small town – like many of the towns we went through. It was Victoria Day, so things were either going to not be open or just open late. The gas station was not open yet. We drove around a few of the streets, and found a couple cafes. We settled on Temptations Bakery & Deli; it was open and looked like a possible breakfast-spot.
Inside we found four locals, sitting, having coffee; two more were working behind the counter. We ordered some muffins and coffees, and sat down next to the four locals.
The locals were talking about a friend who was down in Terrace, BC; Andy and I talked quietly amongst ourselves. One of the locals, we would later learn her name was Alice, turned around, “Where ya’ from and whatcha doin’ in Stewart?” Andy said said he was Montana; I said I was Minnesota. We said we were on our way to the Yukon.
Alice was from Oklahoma, Ross – a grey-long-haired-Willie-Nelson-looking-guy, was from Saskatchewan, another man was from Nova Scotia, and the other was from elsewhere in Canada.
We chatted for a while; mostly small talk. Alice kept getting razzed for being from the States; she insisted that she did have her Canadian citizenship.
Ross owned a fishing boat in the harbor; he never used it, though.
Even though it was all small talk, the people of Stewart that we interacted with, were remarkably nice. It was also apparent that rural Canadian towns with attract a particular kind of person. We would later realize this can go to an extreme in the nether regions of the arctic.