We are finally back in civilization – a grocery store and Internet and we are in Alaska! It has only taken two months but we have finally made it.
We spent the last week in Kluane National Park at two different campgrounds. It was absolutely spectacular scenery. This is the view from our campsite at Congden Creek on Kluane Lake. Our first afternoon in camp, we sat and watched Dahl Sheep on the hillside.
This is the bear that was hanging out in our campground.
We hiked for three days (but of course the wildlife was in our campground and not in the wilderness.) The last hike – Sheep Creek was my favorite. This view was our reward for six miles and a 1400′ climb. You can just see the toe of a glacier in the distance.
We will be staying here in Tok for a couple of days to do laundry and stock up on supplies. I am planning to put up a couple more posts with pictures from our other hikes, so stay tuned.
We are planning to leave Whitehorse tomorrow for next destination unknown. As I write this, our caravan of two has not decided whether we are detouring to Skagway or heading on to the Kluane National Park and Tok.
Brian and Will went hiking today while we walked the 5 km Millennium trail to the Yukon Fish ladder and then checked out the SS Klondike, Berengia Interpretive Center, and the Transportation Museum. I would have liked a day to go hiking but since I chose to sew yesterday and just hang out in camp, that wasn’t really an option.
The highlight of the day would definitely be the DC-3 weather vein. It always points into the wind … we even saw it spin around a bit.
It was also interesting to tour the SS Klondike. River boat traffic was an important part of Yukon history.
Here I am making my best beaver impression next to the Giant Beaver which were known to roam the Berengia …
That is it for tonight – off to the showers and packing up for tomorrow!
We have been enjoying Whitehorse. It is a “big” city with a Walmart and large grocery stores. The weather has even been mostly cooperating. I did get to the local quilt shop but couldn’t bring myself to buy more than a small kit since the fabric was $18.50/meter! It was a nice shop, though.
Yesterday, we went to the see the sled dogs at Muktuk Adventures. It was a blast! We got to play with the puppies and learned all about sled dogs and the races. It was really cool to see the dogs go crazy any time one of the dogs got on a leash. I’ve got a video that I will try and upload as soon as we have an Internet connection that can manage it.
I have a few more pictures from our drive to Teslin. We stopped at a small park with some falls and a little trail. Brian spotted this bird that we think now is a tarmagen (after extensive review of the pictures and consultation with the bird book.) It wasn’t really conclusive, though, so if anyone out there knows any better, please let me know!
We saw more wildlife along the road – the black bears have been everywhere. This guy was hanging around eating dandelions.
We’ve made it to the Yukon. We left Muncho Lake and got to Watson Lake on June 18. The Alaskan Highway As I write this (driving along the Alaskan Highway going to Whitehorse), we have been on the road for 50 days and we have driven 6,575 miles (although not all of them with the trailer.)
We stopped for a quick hike at Teeter Creek Falls along the road and then on to the Signpost Forest. That is just about all there is in Watson Creek, except for a very nice Visitor Center. Texas is very well represented on the Signposts. Maybe we will be like the Frey’s and come back year after year.
Our next stop was Teslin, where we visited the George Johnston Museum and the Teslin Tlingit (pronounced klink-it) Heritage Centre. Camping was along the Teslin Lake at our first Yukon Government Campground where they provide free firewood and only charge $12 a night (no hookups of any kind, though.)
We are thinking we will stay in Whitehorse for at least a few nights and maybe take a side trip to Skagway/Haines. I’m thinking that I could really use a very nice do-nothing day! We have been driving a lot without any days to completely recover.
We have seen a lot of wildlife most days while driving the Alaskan Highway. I’m not sure if I posted these before but we have seen a lot of bison and black bears. The grizzlies have also been spotted but we haven’t seen them.
Muncho Lake is a gorgeous shade of turquoise from the naturally occurring copper oxide.
On our second day, it looked like it was going to be sunny, so we set out on a little hike. The trail left right from the campground and went up to the original Alaskan Highway route along the cliff. In the next picture, I’m standing on the Old Alaskan Highway looking down on the modern road.
No matter what you hear, the road is in pretty good shape – at least as far as we’ve come and there has been gas at regular intervals (you just have to ignore the price.) Our windshield is cracked but that happened pretty early (30 miles from milepost 0) and luckily it is just a little spot in the corner.
Did I mention that it was just a little hike and sunny? None of us bothered to bring any rain gear. I have a great new jacket that I got at the REI flagship store – it folds up inside its own pocket but did I bring it? No. This is what it looks like when you see rain starting to come from across the lake towards you ….
We got back to the camper a little wet but not soaked through like we were at the Heritage Village in Calgary. We even went on another hike in the afternoon. We took a “trail” up a wash until we got to the hoodoos.
The Internet hasn’t been great but I’ve managed to get these last few posts uploaded and scheduled while we are staying in Watson Lake. By the time you read this, we will be through Teslin and in Whitehorse (Yukon) or maybe on a little side trip to Skagway.
We made our first extended stop at Muncho Lake Provincial Park (Strawberry Flats) in British Columbia. It was gorgeous!
Brian and Will had a nice fire the first night, so we hung out at their lakeside (later to be known as buggy-side) campsite and enjoyed a glass of champagne. Brian and Alan were still wearing sunglasses at 8 PM.
It was still plenty light at 11 PM for me to take this picture without a tripod.
The next day was rainy and overcast, so we took a drive to the Liard River Hotsprings. We had originally planned to stay at the Provincial Park there but I think Muncho Lake was a better choice. A day trip worked out perfect and the hot water soak was great. I would have stayed all day.
The next stop for our little caravan on the Alaskan Highway was Fort Nelson and the Triple G RV Park. A few miles out of town the wildlife were everywhere … It started with the Stone Sheep
posing for us:
We had seen pictures of the sheep right along the road and that is exactly what we saw.
Then it was the young caribou:
We also saw moose at a couple of different spots:
This was all just in one day of driving!
Dawson Creek is the official start of the Alaskan Highway (sometimes called the Alcan Highway.) Originally, we weren’t going to stay here but we drove an extra long day from Edmonton. We opted to stay at the Walmart (along with at least a half-dozen other RV’s.)
The next morning, Alan got a haircut, we stocked up on supplies at the Safeway, stopped at the Visitor Center to watch a very interesting movie about the construction of the Alcan, and lastly took our pictures in front of Mile Marker 0.
I’m pretty backed up on my posts – we’ve found very little wifi along the Alcan Highway. Good thing for me that Brian has been very diligent. We met Brian and Will in Edmonton at the Rainbow Valley campground and then spent the next few days exploring the city.
The Muttart Conservatory was interesting and a great place to spend a rainy afternoon. We managed to get in the last tour of the day (with a very informative and enthusiastic tour guide.) I took a lot of close up flower pictures but I will try and keep my sharing to a minimum here.
The next day we drove around and explored the city. Our last stop was the Alberta Legislature building. We missed the last tour this day but did get to explore the underground tunnels that connect everything.
Our last day was spent outside of the city at Elk Island National Park. We took a great hike and saw some wildlife. It was really cool but by now we have seen so many more animals!
Note: I’m finally getting this post up at Watson Lake, Yukon.
We enjoyed Calgary despite staying at perhaps the worst RV Park – Whispering Spruce. I refused to use the showers and the spots were rutted, muddy and inhabited by prairie dogs. We should have just left but it was convenient to downtown Calgary so we stuck it out. If only it wasn’t raining the whole time so we could of at least been entertained by the prairie dogs frolicking nearby!
We toured the Heritage Park Historical Village. It was very well done and we enjoyed the roundhouse. They had an unbelievable display of old gas pumps. It was a memorable day because we got completely soaked (and hailed on!)
We only had one day but we also checked out the Lee Valley store (one of Alan’s favorites), walked around Stephen Avenue and enjoyed a good (but loud) dinner at Beer Revolution.
On our drive to Calgary, we stopped at the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. It was a very nice museum that explained all about how the Indians used the cliff at that location to drive buffalo to their death. They had very well-organized and informative displays. It was definitely worth the short detour.
I’m finally getting this post up while we sit in the Walmart parking lot in Dawson Creek, BC. This is officially mile marker 0 on the Alaskan Highway. I have one more post from Edmonton where we met up with Brian and Will. We did everything together there – so you can check out his blog!