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North to Alaska - Live!

by Kathy 19. June 2011 23:39

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<<Starting the Alcan Highway! | Whitehorse, Capital of the Yukon >>

 

Wildlife, Hot Springs & Sign Forest

 

Over the past two days, we have continued our drive north along the Alcan Highway, crossing the border into the Yukon.

Yesterday morning, our road had risen and fallen, up and over mountains. Near the top of one climb, we had a clear view of “Indian Head Mountain,” so named for the profile on the tiny overhanging crag:

Portions of the highway cut through limestone cliffs that were home to many stone sheep, an animal indigenous to this area and often mistaken for a mountain goat. We saw about a dozen of these sheep, including some babies, licking minerals from the rocky surfaces next to the road.



We also spotted some caribou, although their camouflage made them difficult to see once they scampered onto the rocks. Here is one making a getaway upward:

This baby caribou remained by the side of the road:

Both the stone sheep and the caribou were beautiful. However, my excitement meter went off the chart when I spied my very first moose—a male, licking something off a pile of gravel in an empty road maintenance area below Muncho Lake.

We made a U-turn to get a better look.  He was very majestic, with a small set of antlers:

After seeing the moose, I was on a natural high!  

The turquoise waters of Muncho Lake were icing on the cake:


Just when I thought things couldn't get any better, we arrived at Liard Hot Springs—a popular stop for many travelers along the Alcan.   We joined the countless others before us and immersed ourselves in the deliciously hot water.

Here is Genevieve, on the deck overlooking the springs:

The water in the right side of the pool was so scalding that none of us could even keep our toes in it for more than three seconds. However, the left half was very pleasant. We found that the further to the left we went, the more Ahhh! sounds we made.

Ben, easing his way to the left:

The water had a nice “bathtub” temperature near the long logs, far to the left behind Ben. Genevieve and Sebastian, ever the explorers, led us under the logs and into a very narrow and shallow channel, where the water became increasingly cooler.  Not too far back, we discovered the secret ingredient--a cold water creek that flowed into the hot pool, taking the edge off.

Next to the hot springs was a wonderful campground where we stayed for the night.  We made a fire and roasted our first marshmallows of the trip.

Leaving the campground the next morning, we waited while a small bison crossed the road in front of us:

Just as she reached the other side, a tiny grey bird darted down and landed in the middle of her back:

More excitement was ahead today, as we saw four bears. The first was a medium sized black bear, who turned and high-tailed it for the woods when we slowed down to get a closer look:

The other three bears were a mother grizzly and two cubs, ambling along an open area on the edge of some trees. They were behind a knoll, so we didn’t know they were there until we were right beside them.  We barely had enough time to shout, “There are some grizzlies!” before they were gone from view.  No time for a photo.  

The road ahead:

One of the many beautiful lakes that we passed:

Throughout the day, we saw several small clusters of bison grazing next to the road. Here is a large bull:

We crossed the border from British Columbia to the Yukonone step closer to Alaska!

This afternoon, we stopped in the town of Watson Lake to visit the planetarium at the Northern Lights Center and learn about the colorful aurora borealis (northern lights) that light up the skies during the winter months.  

During the summer months, the nights up here are very short--just a few hours, if that--and the sky doesn't get dark enough for the lights to be seen.

The grand finale today was adding our own sign to the Sign Post Forest--a magical little area that contains thousands of signs and license plates brought by travelers from all over the world.


After searching over half an hour for the “perfect spot,” we finally found a space for our California license plate, reading “BCH BUM”:

We added our family name and date, and then each one of us signed it:

Genevieve and Sebastian both took good mental notes regarding where our sign was located among the maze of posts. I think that they plan on coming back when they are older and finding our sign . . . perhaps showing it to their own kids, and maybe adding another sign of their own.

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<<Starting the Alcan Highway! | Whitehorse, Capital of the Yukon >>

 

Comments (4) -

6/20/2011 4:26:02 PM #

Donnie W. Jennings

Hi Kathy!  

One of Sheryl and my most memorable sites was driving up the Alcan coming around a bend in the road and seeing a moose on top of a 25 foot pile of gravel!  It was licking as the moose is in your picture.  We though that there might have been salt impregnated in the rocks for ice control.  

I have a "sticky" on ADV in the Inmates concerning Sheryl, check it out if you have time.  Continue having a great time!  Maybe I will take my trip in a month or so.

Donnie

Donnie W. Jennings United States | Reply

6/21/2011 7:59:06 AM #

Kathy

Donnie, thanks for sharing the memory of Sheryl and the moose. Salty rocks for ice control is a good theory--we hadn't thought of that! I will check out the ADV sticky. Perhaps we'll see you on the road to Alaska.  Take care, and we are thinking of you.  Kathy

Kathy United States | Reply

6/22/2011 11:19:14 AM #

Kathie Kenaston

Hi Roeder Family!

I'm really enjoying reading about your travels.  Makes me want to make the trip again, but do it the way your family is... at a relaxed pace. There is an art to travel, and you have mastered it.

I can't wait for you to make it up to Fairbanks!  It's been rainy and overcast - hopefully it will be nice and bright by the time you get here.

Be safe and happy,
Kathie

Kathie Kenaston United States | Reply

6/22/2011 11:29:33 PM #

Kathy

Hi Kathie,

Thanks for your comments.  We are looking forward to seeing you in Fairbanks!  We crossed the border into Alaska this evening and will be meandering our way through the south and then up your way. I think we arrive in Fairbanks the afternoon of July 17, spending two nights there.  Fairbanks looks like it has some great places--Pioneer Park, the Museum of the North, the Large Animal Research Station, the Morris Thomson Cultural & Visitor Center, and the Ice Museum.  

Our experience in Canada has been amazing.  The kids are great travelers, and we have developed a nice rhythm when we are on the road.

We have had some rain every day of our journey so far--we thought that we had brought it with us!  But it looks like it might be waiting for us in Fairbanks too.  Ahh, well.  The rain is part of the adventure!

I'll send you an email as we get closer.

See you soon!
Kathy



Kathy United States | Reply

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For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

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Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.


Words for the Heart

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