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Continental Divide Lodge to Nisutlin Outfitters Teslin, YK (78 miles)

Timing is everything, especially spotting and avoiding wildlife.

I had not biked ten minutes when I began crossing a bridge. A multi-colored fox (mainly dark with patches of red). Likely, it was a silver fox (part of the red fox species).  Later, I spotted three snowshoe hare in their summer brown coat, and a moose swimming across a lake.

Bikers try to avoid bears. Travelers in vehicles feel safe enough to stop and take photos. That brings me to today’s story of timing is everything.

My total ascent today was only 2,435 feet—meaning on this 78 mile ride there were not too many hills compared to the BC Rockies. As I was partway up a long incline, I spotted a large black bear crossing the highway to my side about a half mile in front of me.

(Sidenote: Yukon ditches are not maintained like the rest of Canada. Trees and shrubs, up to twenty foot tall, have regrown since the ditches were cleared and mowed several years earlier. They are much more dangerous since wildlife can suddenly appear on the road without warning.)

Back to the bear on the hill story: With all the trees and shrubs in the ditch, I lost sight of the bear. As I rode closer to where the bear had crossed, I moved to the oncoming highway shoulder. I spotted the bear walking along, head down feeding (likely on dandelion-a typical bear food this time of year). As I was anticipating sneaking by, a Class A RV slowly approached from behind me and pulled into position between the bear and me. Shielded from bear, I peddled up hill as the RV stopped to take photos of the bear.

As I neared the top of the hill, a motorcyclist pulled ahead of me and waited until I reached him. He had observed the RV/bicyclists interaction and wanted to know if anyone needed help. He had not seen the bear and I explained that they thankfully stopped for a photo shoot as I escaped. He said: “Be safe”, and moved on.

I had riden for perhaps ten minutes without a vehicle passing me. At rest stops I hear people complaining about the volume of motorcyclists and campers heading north on the only highway to Alaska. I am not complaining, as one acted as my protector and the other offered help. We share the road. In this remote area, I consider them my protectors.