Friday, August 13, 2010

Whitehorse Adventure - Day 8: Liard River Hotsprings (BC) to Watson Lake (YT)

Day 8 (209km traveled) - We decided that swimming in the hotsprings was so awesome that we would go again this morning!  It is certainly a great way to start the day!

Because of the swim this morning we didn’t get on the road until 10am, however, this isn’t a big deal since this is not a very long driving day.

We finally saw more wildlife today!  First there was a black bear sitting in the grass on the bank above the road.  Further on we came to the buffalo herd that we had been seeing warning signs about for the past day and a half!  It was pretty amazing to drive right beside these wild creatures and be able to take pictures of them.  They were aware of the vehicles, but didn’t really pay much attention to them.  They were walking on both sides of the highway and would randomly crossover to the other side without a thought of the cars there watching them!  I don’t think I’d want to cross this stretch of highway at night.

We stopped for gas at Contact Creek (as had been recommended to us by a couple at the hotsprings).  The gas prices there were the best that we had seen in a few stops ($1.09/L - WOOT!!)

It was really smokey as we got close to Watson Lake.  We stopped for a tourist moment photo-op at the Welcome to Yukon sign.  We only look slightly crazy after driving for more than 2000km to get to this point!  This is the first time that any of us had been north of 60°.
The Happy Travelers!

We headed into Watson Lake to check out the infamous sign post forest.  The sign post forest was started by a homesick G.I. who as part of the US Army core of Engineers was working on the construction of the Alaska Hwy.  He put up a sign that gave the distance to his hometown.  Other people added their own signs and the rest is history.  When we were there (August 2010) there were more than 60,000 signs.  Unfortunately we did not remember to bring a sign with us so we did not leave a sign there.  We did however enjoy walking through it and seeing all the signs.  I suppose this just means that we will have to go back again sometime so that we could put up our sign!

We found out from the helpful people at the tourist info that the smoke from the nearby forest fire was blowing to the east and that west of the fire was less smokey.  Because of this we chose to press on a little farther to an RV Park near the junction of Hwy 37 (yes even closer to the forest fire than we had been in Watson Lake).  The air was clearer, but the down side was that there was ash fallout from the fire.  It was also rather disconcerting to watch the Yukon forest fire fighters set up sprinklers on the buildings at the RV park!  They were just precautionary... in case the fire changed direction.  I will say this that even though it was un-nerving the fire was a good 10-15 km south of the YT/BC border so about 20km from where we were staying.  (no problem)

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