Posts Tagged ‘Alcan’

Shabbat Shalom from Liard Hotsprings

Sunrise: 5:25 a.m.; Sunset 9:06 p.m.

We really needed a true Shabbat and Liard won the toss.  We could relax in the hot springs and being early in the season, there would be fewer people in the campground.  We met some wonderful people in Dawson Creek (from Anchorage) and they arrived Friday evening at Liard along with two other couples from Ninilchik in the Kenai Peninsula.  Everyone also had ties to Colorado so soaking in the springs made for some fun conversation.  At the end the called us ‘Alaskans,’ lol.  One couple has a boat and fishes in Homer for halibut and expect to visit us at Cooper Creek. 

 

The first day at Liard was sunny and a balmy 50 degrees.  This type of weather heats our trailer very nicely which is needed as Liard has no hook-ups whatsoever – water, electric or sewer.  No issue for us boondockers, a warm trailer is cozier.  Saturday was a cloudy day and the temperature never got above 40 which made for a much cooler day.  After a breakfast of sourdough pancakes and our Torah study, we spent the rest of the day reading, eating a chocolate cake I decided to make,  along with another soak in the hot springs.  It was a very relaxing Sabbath and prepared us for today’s trek into the Yukon Territory.

We left Liard quite early in the morning hoping to see some wildlife.  Along the Liard River, where many trappers lost their lives in the harsh winters, bison tend to graze by the road.  The herds travel for miles and their ‘buffalo chips’ can be seen for miles as well. 

Vocabulary word for the day: Liard is French for ‘poplar’ as poplar trees line the Liard River Canyon

 

 

 

 

©2018 Tentstake Ministries

Toad River and the Plague of Toads

Sunrise 5:37 a.m.; Sunset 9:01 p.m. 

My husband and I were both ready to roll this a.m. and had the earliest start of our entire traveling experience: 8:00 a.m.  We were both also ready to be on the Alcan and going toward our destination in familiar territory. 

Because this is our second year to do the Alaska Highway, we are taking more time to stop and see those things we passed by last year.  It’s not that we didn’t want to stop, we just wanted to make the best time to Alaska.  This year, we have some time to spare and are taking our time. 

The Peace River Bridge is the longest span of bridge on the Alcan. 

Last year we stayed in Fort Nelson at the Triple ‘G’ RV park.  Though is was a nice place (had no water though), we arrived there so early in the day that we decided to travel further to the Toad River Lodge.  We needed to fuel up so we stopped at a Husky station.  The price of diesel per liter was $1.49 = 4.50 per gallon.  A little over the top and we were told it went down a couple of cents in the past few days. 

 

Leaving Fort Nelson is like leaving civilization.  From Dawson Creek to Fort Nelson, there are small towns and some larger like Fort St. John that boast huge supermarkets, coffee shops, and numerous other commercial businesses.  Mostly though everything involves either logging or pipeline.  To enter Fort Nelson, we crossed the Muskwa Bridge which is the lowest point on the Alaska Highway at an elevation of 1,000 feet.   Muskwa is an Athabaska term meaning ‘bear.’

 

As we left Fort Nelson, the traffic was much less on the road.  The beauty of the Canadian Rockies and bridges over frozen, but slowly thawing rivers became much of the scenery.  We began climbing Steamboat Mountain Pass with its magnificent views.  Last year it was snowing  on this pass, a semi-truck had broken down and we couldn’t seen 25 yards in front of us.  This year the trek wasn’t frightening as the sun shone on the snow-topped mountains and puffy clouds dotted the blue sky. 

From Steamboat we settled into a small valley until we began the continuous climb up Summit Mountain Pass.  Again, last year it was snowing and thought it appeared to be a pretty place, we couldn’t see clearly.  On our return trip, there were quite a few tourists and we missed the pullover and didn’t get any photo ops.

Today, Summit Lake was frozen solid, the campground had feet of snow covering every site and there were no tourists except us.  We found the pullover and enjoyed the view of evergreen trees stick out of the feet of snow on the hillsides.  Summit Lake is the highest point on the Alaska Highway at 4,250 feet. 

 

 

This mountain area is called Stone Mountain and there are usually Stone Sheep hanging out.  Both directions last year we saw sheep, but today they must have all been snoozing in the sunshine or romping in the waterfalls created by the snow melt.  We did however see a caribou standing next to a sign reading “Caribou”. 

We crossed the Tetsa River a few times and I love the metal bridges.  Most of them are blue like the Peace River Bridge, but a few are just silver metal with metal grating.  My husband hates when I try to take photos of the water below the grates which is why I try to do it. 

 

 

After a 9-hour drive (our goal is 6) we arrived at Toad River, an unincorporated stop.  The population is probably no more than 25.  There is a road maintenance camp, a post office, a Greyhound bus stop and an airstrip in Toad River.  Yet, in the wilderness of nowhere land in British Columbia, there is always scenery.  Our campsite had no snow, no mud and sat by the side of Reflection Lake and Folding Mountain.  The temperature was a balmy 60 when we arrived and gave us the perfect conditions for a walk around the campground and lake.

 

The Toad River Lodge is known for its hats.  They have over 11,000 baseball-type hats hanging everywhere.  

Tomorrow is Friday and we want to rest on the Shabbat.  We haven’t decided whether or not to stay here at Toad River or go another 70 miles and stay two nights at the Liard Hot Springs where we can truly relax and refresh during the Sabbath.

 

 

 

 

New word for the day: riparian zones are areas of beaver lodges

 

My daughter wanted to know if we saw any toads.  Yes, there was a plague of toads:

 

©2018 Tentstake Ministries

 

Dawson Creek

Pacific Time

Sunrise 6:12 a.m.; Sunset 9:44 p.m.

One year ago today we were traveling through Quesnel, British Columbia when we had our tires slashed by a Canadian who hated America and Americans.  One year later, we have had a trial and the man was acquitted even though we had taken a photo of the license plate and entered into evidence was the pick-axe.  Apart from the lack of justice, a lot has happened in this past year from violence to having our first grandchild who lives on the Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage. 

For those who are interested in sport fishing, our son-in-law manages Alaska River Adventures in Cooper Landing.  He is what I call a ‘fish whisperer’.  He fishes King’s, Red’s, Sockeye, Pinks, Rainbow and Dolly Varden – some catch and release; others you get to beat, keep and eat.  They set up trips to Homer for Halibut, too.  They are one of the few outfitters on the Kenai River that has permits to fish through the wildlife refuge with seasoned and top-notch fishing guides.  We began campground hosting in the area as a way to spend our summers with our daughter, son-in-law and now growing grandson.  We work for Alaska Recreation Management who manages the US Forest Service Campgrounds on the Kenai.  We are at a small campground called Cooper Creek.  We service 28 sites with no hook-ups.  There are pit toilets and a water pump, but the beauty of the Kenai River and sites along Cooper Creek makes up for the ‘roughing’ it whether you are in a tent, a small rented RV or boondocking for the summer as we do.

 

Our trip up the Alcan or Alaska Highway begins at Mile 0 at Dawson Creek.  We decided to spend two nights here just because ….  We are staying at the year-round Northern Lights RV Park and it’s more like a gravel pit with full hook-ups.  With all of the melting snow and huge puddles, the owner brought us a pallet as a little porch so we wouldn’t always be stepping in the water.  Of course, after having living in Alaska, we have our mandatory ‘rubber boots’ which makes sloshing and jumping in puddles fun.

 

 

 

Notice the huge pond behind me in the parking lot at the Alaska Highway Mile Zero sign?  Yeah, I jumped in that a LOT! 

 

Last year we arrived in Dawson Creek late and had enough time to set up, take a quick look around town, do a little laundry, sleep and get on the move.  This year we have explored the town a little more.  The visitor center woman named Jennifer was full of information, information that we will definitely need as provincial campgrounds won’t be open until the end of May.  Seasonal campgrounds are opening late because of the snow and we needed a little heads up on what is available over the next 1500 miles. 

 

 

 

We also took a little side trip to the Kiskatinaw Curved Bridge which used to be on the Old Alaska Highway at Mile 21.  It was built in 1942 and is no longer used since the New Alaska Highway by-passes it. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, along with laundry and baking cookies (my husband is spoiled), we are going to take a walking tour around this quaint town and maybe grab a coffee at Tim Horton’s or lunch at a local cafe.  We are also going to visit the Mile 0 Museum and learn more about the building of the Alaska Highway which became a necessity after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and an attack on Alaska.  The weather is tremendous and warm with blue sky and sunshine that will make the snow melt even faster and flow down the sides of the roads like raging rivers.  Tubby’s, where we stayed last year, is nothing but a river right now as it is sits next to the creek that is overflowing its many banks.  

New Word for the day: Swamp Donkey

©2018 Tentstake Ministries