Heart of Alaska RV Caravan travel blog

Today’s travel was only 168 miles but we were told it would take 6 to 7 hours due to the bad condition of the roads. However that estimate was based on last year’s conditions. They apparently have done a lot of work because the road was in pretty good shape. We hit a few rough spots but not enough to really slow us down. We are starting to see more and more mountains now. Lots of snow up high.

We stopped in Otter Creek for coffee. All the walls of the store were covered in trophy heads. Most were local animals but some, like the boar, were obviously not. We have been payinf Starbucks prices for average to poor coffee. Today it was just as expensive but the coffee actually tasted good.

We spent a lot of the drive along side of Kluane Lake on the edge of Kulane National Park. The lake is the largest in the Yukon Territory. The water is a very pretty blue. We stopped at the park visitors’ center and found out that the park is very large. It contains the highest mountain in Canada as well as lots of long glaciers. It is one of 4 contiguous national and provincial parks in AK, YT, and BC that form the largest international protected area in the world.

We also stopped at the Sheep Mountain visitors’ center. The guide there said that there are 256 Dall Sheep on the mountain but at this time of year they are all on the back side where there is better grazing. Once the snow starts to cover the ground they come back to the highway side because there is more wind there and that blows a lot of snow off of their foraging grounds. Our luck with animals is holding – all bad!

We ate lunch in the parking lot and then continued on. About 20 miles later we found our RV Park for the night. You could hardly miss it, it was the only thing around. It consists of a gravel parking lot on a mild slope. There is a water line and an electric line running down the middle with posts every 20 feet or less. We are all lined up side by side next to the posts. There is a main building which contains the office, store, and restaurant. The toilets and showers are in one end of that building.

We had our wagon-master briefing as soon as everyone was parked. The park owner told us that tomorrow’s journey will be slow. We will be lucky to average 25 MPH. He explained permafrost and how it operates. It stays at -85 degrees F and nothing bonds with it. In winter the ground freezes down to the permafrost but it never gets more than -35. He said that the highway surface over permafrost will last 3 years if it is properly maintained. After that it has to be reconstructed. He said that up here there are 2 seasons – winter and construction – and winter lasts 7 months. He was interesting.

Since this was an unexpected stop, the owner was not prepared to feed so many. On Sunday he drove into Hanes Junction [66 miles each way] to buy out the buffalo meat patties at the grocery store. He served us buffalo burgers with all the trimmings and potato salad. It cost us $13 apiece but it was nice to all eat together again.

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