Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Alaskan Highway, Dawson Creek to Watson Lake

Our excitement at reaching the Alaska Highway was mitigated by the news that it was closed past Watson Lake due to mudslides, washouts, and flooding. RVs were being discouraged from traveling on for several days.
 We opted to travel on slowly, taking those several days to get to Watson Lake. We stopped for the night at a nice campground on the Sikanni River. My site is closest to the swiftly flowing river. Whole trees were floating by, but the river was receding, not rising, and we were safe.
We cooked hot dogs over an open fire next to the river. Whether it was hot or cold was a personal opinion as you can tell by the clothing choices. This is the last picture I have of Nan, as we have lost her again.
We stayed here 2 nights and were heading toward the Tetsa River Government Campground with a stop in Fort Nelson for gas and check on road conditions. Saw this black bear along the highway.
We started off at different times but all but Nan met up at the Visitor Center in Fort Nelson. Mitch saw her go by, so we assumed she was ahead of us, but she wasn't at the campground when we arrived. Officials were still discouraging travel to Watson Lake, so we hope she hunkered down in Fort Nelson and just decided to go slower.
 I have to say there was a lot of peace and dignity at our campground too.
We hiked a trail to a beaver pond.
 Tina is resting on a tree downed by the beaver.
 An ambitious work in progress.
 More signs of moose. That is a soda can for size comparison.
 Three adventurous women: Birdie, Tina, Mitch, and Stuart dog.
 Mitch tried out the hand pump. The sign says boil the water.
 We took a drive up to Summit Lake to check out conditions and availability and look for Nan. Saw this cow moose on the way.
 And this bull moose with short velvet antlers on the way back. He said, just check me out again in September!
We found out the road was open...they built a one-lane "pioneer" road around the washout, so we travelled on. It was a beautiful morning and we stopped for a hike at Summit Lake/Stone Mountain.
 Another stop for a photo op at Muncho Lake.
Wood Bison creating a traffic jam at Liard Hot Springs. A big semi cleared the road with a blast of his horn.
 We spent the night at the free parking area at Liard Springs. In between rain showers, Birdie and I went birding along the boardwalk to the springs. Birdie says this is a Western Wood-Pewee.
 The boardwalk to the Hot Springs.
 Wild roses were in bloom.
 The hot springs create a tropical habitat for these Ostrich Fern.
 Lush vegetation around the edge of the hot springs.
 It was cold and rainy....none of us were tempted to get in the pool. But it was pretty.
 Birdie trying to find the singing bird...she's all ears.
 And there at the top of a tree was this Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
 Above the hot spring are these "Tufa" terraces. 
 About Tufa.
Birdie taking a video.
 Philadelphia fleabane is one of the wildflowers that can survive here by the hot springs.
We stopped for gas here. I've already figured out it is what is is....fill her up.
 Beautiful section of road.
 Stone sheep in the road ahead.
 Stone sheep have thinner horns than the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep.
We found the rest of the bison herd beyond Liard Hot Springs.
Bison crossing.
We saw at least 13 bear....10 black bear and 3 grizzlies.
And more frisky bison down the road.
One fox.
More bear...
And crossed over into Yukon Territory.
We have made it to Watson Lake, where the first wave of stranded travelers have moved on. Our campground filled up today with a second wave, of which we are a part. Early start tomorrow on the rough road.

The famous Signpost Forest in Watson Lake. Travelers have been leaving signs of their passing for years.
 This one's for Heather, a sign from her home town.
 And if you forget to bring a sign, any old thing will do.


  1. Lizzie, again just breath taking pictures and Where's Nan...:) she's off to Alaska..LOL Hey tell Birdie..that Rose Breasted Grosbeak is what stopped to say Hi to me at my feeder a month ago..just awesome looking and I never forgot that Orange Looking Triangle..just a real beauty... God Bless..I'm enjoying the pictures and travels..Zeee and Critters 3

  2. Ah, thank you wifi! As usual your photos and narration are perfect. Thanks for taking me with you.

  3. I love reading your blogs! You will always be a teacher. I can't wait to be with you soon!

  4. Liz, what fantastic pictures. I loved every one. You have such good shots of the scenery and the animals. You will have such good memories looking back at your blog.