Jasper, AB to Watson Lake, YT
Jun 11, 2015
|Sunday, May 31, 2015
Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada (through Hinton, Grand Prairie, Dawson Creek, BC) to Taylor, British Columbia Canada
Stopped at Peace Island Park Campground
Miles driven today: 364, cumulative: 1761
Animals: deer 3, elk 2
Someone was very creative naming places on today’s drive:
• Outside Jasper there was a Windswept B&B
• In William Switzer Provincial Park we saw signs for Kelley’s Bathtub and Graveyard Lake
• Between Grande Cache and Grande Prarie there was Hammerhead Road
Today we made it to Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway at Dawson Creek! The Highway Museum in town shows a great movie about how the highway came to be. Japan had control of an island in Alaska’s Aleutian chain during WWII which scared the heck out of the US after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in Dec. 1941. The US army began building the road, even before approval from Canada’s Prime Minister. The road was crude but it gave US access to Alaska when finished in under 9 months during 1942 (quite a feat, even today). Working in soil up here is painful – vibrations from idling equipment would make it sink in muskeg like the dirt was quick sand and permafrost causes trouble when that soil thaws and turns to a liquid sort-of goo. We crossed the last original wooden bridge still in use from the Alaskan Highway over the Kiskatinaw River outside of Dawson Creek.
We traveled a little further and stopped in a town campground next to the Peace River where jet boat races are held during the summer.
Monday, June 1, 2015
Taylor to Tetsa River past Fort Nelson, British Columbia Canada
Stopped at Tetsa River Services & Campground
Miles driven today: 318, cumulative: 2079
On our way to Tetsa River Services and Campground, we ran into many miles of highway construction. We found out that Canadians prefer to use chip seal to repair roads (much to our dismay). Tetsa River Services in just a little stopping point along the way, just past the road construction. This cute log store and RV park is noted for their cinnamon rolls and, yes, they were good. Best way to tell you where it is: N 58⁰ 39.137′; W124⁰ 14.256′ along the Alaskan Highway.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Tetsa River, British Columbia to Watson Lake, Yukon Canada
Stopped at Nugget City
Miles driven today: 263, cumulative: 2342
Animals: stone sheep 4, wild bison 11, moose 1, black bears 4 (1 cinnamon color)
We drove on to Watson Lake, YT, today. We stopped along the Liard River near Fireside Cranberry Rapids for lunch. During our drive today there were many signs warning of wildlife, so our eyes were scanning from tree line to tree line across the road looking. We felt like Darth Vader’s light saber, back and forth, back and forth. This part of the highway had many curves and ups and downs too. In Colorado a 6-7% grade is considered steep. On the Alaskan Highway many of the grades were 8-9%, considerably steeper. This type driving seems to get boring fast, up and down, up and down, up and down.
The highway was built right on the shore of the beautiful blue Muncho Lake. Then it snaked by Folding Mountain. After the mountains were uplifted, the tectonic plates squished together and actually folded the layers on this mountain. We crisscrossed between British Columbia and the Yukon many times today.
Watson Lake’s main attraction is the signpost forest at the visitor’s center which we were prepared for. We walked through the ‘forest’ and found the perfect post for our signs. Chris who works for the city of Arvada had a sign made for us to hang. Dave also brought a Charlevoix car plate. There were two local people there that wanted their picture taken, so we had a photo op for them after we took our pictures with our newly posted signs. We have their address to send their picture to them. Another tourist said that this is the largest collection of stolen property in the world – and probably right!