Saturday, July 3, 2010

Alaska Highway - June 22 to 26

Tuesday – June 22, 2010 – Dawson Creek, BC (Canada)

We took advantage of our last full day in Dawson Creek to learn a little more about the next 1,400 miles that we will be driving, The Alaska Highway.  We started off with photos of the Mile Post 0 to mark the start of the highway and also the Alaska Highway sign at the visitor’s center.  We also toured the Alaska Highway House which was a great small museum dedicated to the building of the 1,400 mile Alaska Highway in less than 9 months during WWII.  We watched the film documentary regarding the building of the highway by the US army and soon got a little worried over our route as they described how the road would be built around obstacles and that 90 degree turns and incredibly steep hills (up to 24% grade)  were more the norm than the exception.  We then learned that private contractors came in after the army to “fix” and smooth out the trail that the army had blazed through wilderness and make it into a road, so maybe it won’t be too bad????  We’ll keep our fingers crossed.  We also visited the art gallery next to the visitor’s center for more WWII era photos of the road construction.  I would not have wanted to be a surveyor on that army regiment as sometimes the bulldozers knocking down the trees were only 10 miles behind, talk about pressure!!!  In the afternoon we visited the Pioneer Village right next to our RV park and enjoyed touring the history of the area through its old homes and schools.  No wildlife sightings for today as we were in the town all day.

Wednesday – June 23, 2010 – Alaska Highway – Dawson Creek, BC to Liard Hot Springs (Canada)

Our official start to the Alaska Highway – today’s journey has us starting at milepost 0 (Dawson Creek) and ending at milepost 477 (Liard Hot Springs Provincial Park) for 477 miles of driving.  We thought it could take us about 9 to 10 hours but it ended up being over 12 due to road conditions.  We were not impressed with the town of Fort Nelson (the normal stopping point for this day’s drive) so we continued on to Liard Hot Springs.  The road was in good shape with shoulders until we left Fort Nelson and then it got really windy and narrow.  We arrived pretty exhausted around 7:30pm in the beautiful provincial park campground for the hot springs and proceeded to back in the RV and not do much else for the evening.  Today was a great day for viewing wildlife as we managed to spot our first Canadian Moose along with a fox, black bear, herd of buffalo and stone sheep.  Overall a good day and glad we got the miles in as the scenery after Fort Nelson was beautiful but the road conditions and road construction (lots of fresh gravel) left a bit to be desired.  We think the section of road between Fort Nelson and the hot springs must have been the original road with little to no improvements made as it was full of steep climbs, steep descents, bumpy & curvy.

Thursday – June 24, 2010 - Alaska Highway – Liard Hot Springs, BC (Canada)

Ahhhhh…  that about says it all….  We had a great relaxing day at the RV with not one but TWO soaks in the beautiful hot springs.  The hot springs are a must see and soak.  I don’t think I’ve ever been in a hot springs that hot before and we had to frequently move out of the cool end of the Alpha pool and go into the kiddy pool to cool off.  We could never get more than half way up the Alpha pool to the source of the hot springs as the water was so hot (up to 128 degrees).  It was a beautiful setting with natural surroundings (no concrete pool) of dirt and rock.  We did manage to get out and do a short drive back towards Muncho Lake but the rain came in and we decided that our second soak in the hot springs sounded better than driving in the rain.  We did see the same herd of buffalo again and as we were leaving the hot springs in the evening, a moose was near the boardwalk as we walked back over to our campsite.

Friday – June 25, 2010 – Alaska Highway – Liard Hot Springs to Watson Lake, Yukon (Canada)

What a way to start the day, our last soak in the hot springs.  It was in the mid 50’s and raining so we were able to stay in the water longer and it was wonderful!!!  Today was a much shorter drive (we learned our lesson on Wed).  We started out at milepost 477 and drove to Watson Lake at milepost 612 for only 135 miles of driving (3 hours).  Today we will be crossing out of British Columbia and into the Yukon.  It was a beautiful drive with lots of trees.  We are amazed at how the road was built in such a short period of time after having traveled on it for a couple of days.  I don’t know how the surveyors saw anything (that is how thick and continuous the trees are).  Once we arrived in Watson Lake, we enjoyed touring the Signpost forest, the Northern Lights Center, the visitor’s center, the Alaska Highway Interpretive Center and finally the airport with its great collection of 1940’s photos showing the importance of the small airstrips all along the highway in the war effort.  We found a great camping spot at Campground Services for less than $10 CAD.  Much better than the recommended RV park in town that was basically a gravel parking lot.  Today’s wildlife sightings include large herds of buffalo (and one huge lone buffalo), black bear and a bald eagle.

Saturday – June 26, 2010 – Alaska Highway – Watson Lake to Teslin, Yukon (Canada)

Boy are we missing the hot springs…  Just a $2 – 5 minute shower to wake us up today.  Our route today takes us from milepost 612 to milepost 769 for a total of 157 miles in around 3 hours.  It was a beautiful drive again today past so many picture perfect small lakes and ponds, or as we have nicknamed them, “Mooseville”.  Too bad, the moose don’t know they are perfect for them (no moose sightings today).  We arrived at our chosen campground, Dawson Peaks Resort, to be given the best spot with a great view of Lake Teslin.  After setting up and having lunch at the RV, we set off for the small village of Teslin which is about 6 miles from us.  It has a very large native peoples population and in such, has a couple of great sites on their history.  The George Johnston museum was absolutely wonderful.  Mr. Johnston was quite a character in this town as he bought a 1927 automobile and had it transported to Teslin which had NO roads.  He was quite inventive so he decided that the 78 mile lake that froze in the winter was a great road.  We also visited the Tlingit Heritage Center which was ok and then a quick visit to the Wildlife Display at the Yukon Motel.  Given the town’s population of under 500, I think we saw everything there is to see!  Just as a footnote, the truck that we bought new at the end of last year now has 17, 253 miles on it.

 

1 comment:

Levonne said...

What a trip you are taking!! Superior! If you have a minute, you're invited to stop by my blog. A Camp Host Housewife