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Published: April 27th 2016
Distance: 3809 miles
After posting yesterday's blog I booked it out of Prince George going up on PR 97 towards Dawson's Creek. About 50 km from Dawson's Creek I changed my mind about going there since there was another road called PR29 that looped to the The Alaskan Highway and Fort St. John and ultimately Fort Nelson. I'd figure I would try to get to Fort Nelson by nightfall. Getting that far should allow me to make the Yukon easily enough the next day.
Interestingly, when I turned onto the Alaskan highway, there was a big 'ole sign saying it was the law that all cars traveling from Oct 1st (I think) to April 30th must have winter tires. So technically I am breaking the law since I'm driving the highway without winter tires.
Moving down the highway was a little depressing. I didn't notice at first, but there were highway entrances going back into the interior. These entries are all over the place. All kinds of petro-chemical and logging companies signs were posted proclaiming "private property" and "do not trespass". One sign even said Danger, Do Not Enter, POISON GAS in use. Huh, poison
gas out in the open? Anyway, every once in a while the highway would rise up over the trees and give me a glimpse into the interior and you would see various types of industrial plants, strip mines and clear cut areas. At one point I went over a bridge that had a big pipe running underneath the bridge. I'm assuming it's either Natural Gas or crude oil, but I'm not sure. I guess I'm just trying to say that this area is hardly pristine virgin wilderness.
The scenery got a little monotonous. From Fort St. John to Fort Nelson, all one sees is trees lining both sides. The trees are too think to see through most of the time. Occasionally there is a steep climb or descent but otherwise is generally flat. What is impressive, is when I get the occasional sight (aside from areas I describe above) of forest going off to the horizon or a distant mountain range in a unbroken carpet of green. It is truly vast.
After about a hundred miles or so before Fort Nelson, things started getting more wild. More moose signs, a few bald eagles keeping pace with my car
(at least it seemed that way to me) and a couple inspecting their car after having just hit a porcupine. Literally minutes before I came across them.
Ugh. It was messy. Grossly messy. Messy enough that I didn't want to pull over and see if they needed help. I justified this by: it was the middle of the day, the weather was nice, I had no cell service, there was 2 of them, they weren't trying to flag me down and it was a REALLY messy roadkill. :-p I still felt a little guilty but the truck behind me didn't stop either so no harm no foul. Right?
Speaking of trucks, there are logging trucks all over the place. I've had a few hairy moments going around curves in the mountains and seeing a logging truck inch its way into your lane as it barrels towards you and you realize that you have no where to go. Then you see his load shifting towards you. Crap, eh. This is when you just close you eyes and hang on. Yes, yes I know that would be dumb to close my eyes but the desire was really strong. So instead
I just gripped the stirring wheel hard, looked straight ahead and pretended we had plenty of room to pass.
About 60 km from Fort Nelson, it's about 6PM and I spy in the corner of my eye a park sign in a small turn off. There is no highway sign or any other warning so I drove right past before I realized what it might be. So I stopped, did a u-turn and came back to the spot. Sure enough it was Muskwa-Kechika Management Area. The sign had also posted instructions of what to do and what not to do. The area was only a primitive camping/backpacking area. Of special note was the explicit instructions warning that this is wilderness and that there are in fact grizzlies and black bears. Cool. So I drove back on some trails. In the process I ripped off my lower front bumper. So know I have to carry my lower front bumper around. This is useless item #3 that I now have to trudge around.
I found a spot and setup camp. No people, no facilities, just me and nature sans bears, mountain lions or wolves, hopefully. I gotta admit I was
a little nervous. I built up a big fire, put my bear bell on (I can't help thinking the bell was really a dinner bell), carried my bear spray and had my loaded shotgun next to me. It's obvious from the number of camp spots (and sadly, trash) that people use this area often so as I am writing this, I am hoping that I won't have a close encounter of the undesirable kind. If the gentle reader is reading this blog, I made it, eh. If you are reading this entry as Bob's last entry found in a mauled tent, then Kim gets everything. 😊
Damn, it's getting cold again. As soon as that sun goes down it became downright freezing. I think I am about to call it an evening. I'll try to get this out in the morning. Tomorrow I am going to continue on into the Yukon. The tentative plan is to go all the way up to Inuvik. The real only problem is the last couple hundred miles is on dirt roads so we'll see.
P.S. Mosquitos are huge, they like blood, they apparently can handle freezing temperatures and 100% DEET barely keeps
them at bay.
It's morning. I slept pretty good considering I was hearing animal noises outside in the distance. "Wait! What's that noise? Is it getting closer?" Overall it was a calm night and I was nice and warm in my tent. I also discovered the joys of what bears do in the woods. It has been at least 30+ years since I have had to do that duty (haha, duty get it?).
So I packed up my equipment, toured the area and collected a bag full of trash (always leave a camp site better than when you came).
I'm heading towards the Yukon from Fort Nelson (after posting this blog).
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