Alaska, the Last Frontier - Summer 2012 travel blog


our sign

duly represented

hand drawn sign

pink bra sign

Sign Post Forest

another view

more great weather

road repairs

bridge crossing

The Sign Post Forest at Watson Lake was started in 1942 by a homesick Army GI from Danville IL, not too far from where we live. While he was working on the Alaska Highway, he erected a sign here pointing the way and listing the mileage to his hometown. Others followed his lead and are still doing so to this day. When we were here last in 1989 there were about 7,000 signs. We didn't know about this place and arrived ill prepared. Today there are about 62,000 signs from Yukon visitors all over the world and we celebrated our anniversary by adding our sign to the forest. Ken firmly fixed our old name sign from the days when we had a fifth wheel trailer to the pole with two long brass screws. It should be there in perpetuity. It was fun wandering through the forest (even though it was still raining) and seeing what folks had left behind. Some with artistic ability had obviously given their sign a lot of thought and effort and others were more creative and spontaneous.

We could have lingered, but the cold rain drove us further west to Whitehorse. Navigation is not a challenge on this route. If you are on a paved road, you are on the Alaska Highway. If you are on a gravel road, it's some other Yukon road. The road is still in pretty good condition, but every so often a few hundred yards were gravel. Every time we stop for the day the car is so coated with dust, mud and stoney bits, we hardly recognize it as our own.

The route took us through an unpopulated land, although there was s steady stream of vehicles from Alaska going the other way. Did they know something we did not? Every so often we could see the bottoms of mountains; the tops were shrouded with rain clouds. Many of the creeks and rivers we crossed were foaming and churning; all that rain we've endured has got to go somewhere. In some places small lakes were nestled under the mountain peaks. The surface of the water was glassy and reflected the parts of the mountains revealed by the clouds. On a sunny day you could take some amazing photos here. We will be retracing part of this drive on the trip home. Perhaps the rain will have stopped by then???

Whitehorse is the capital of Yukon Territory. 20,000 people live here; 3/4 of all the people that live in the Yukon. At the visitor center we complained to the friendly lady there about the weather. She went ballistic. She said that June is normally their best month with sunny skies and temperatures in the high 60ยบ's, but it'w been raining (and snowing) for months on end. We are sick of the weather, but she was beside herself. Doesn't bode well for the future...

Loaded down with brochures of fun things to do around here (when it's not raining) we returned to the rig to figure out what how to spend our time here. The campground here has the best internet we've had since we left home and 70 cable TV channels. It's sad how much we appreciate those things after a few days in the wilderness. Tonight the sun sets at 11:32 and rises again at 4:30. Plenty of time to see it all.

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