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Published: April 28th 2016
We’ll I've written this log entry already but I have somehow lost it. Grumble grumble.
So to recap:
At Fort Nelson I decided to head north on PR 77 towards Inuvik in the far north of the Yukon. My original plan was to head to Dawson City and go north from there to Inuvik. Instead I hit 77 and go north whistling a merry tune (I can’t really can’t whistle, so it's just as well you weren't there) and enjoying the scenery. About a third of the way towards Fort Liard I hit a bridge being worked on. The entire bridge lanes are being replaced. Next to the original bridge support structure, the construction crew have laid a single lane wooden planked bridge that stretched over the river gorge. It was with a little trepidation that I went across, about a third of the way down the lane there is this sign that reads “Yield to oncoming traffic”. I thought that was funny as the only way to yield is to put it in reverse and back up on the tiny single lane wooden bridge. I make it. Whew.
As I get closer to Fort
Liard the paved road ends and the dirt road begins. The road wasn't that bad from a comfort POV. Dusty as all get out. You should see BB. The car looks awesome. It looks like I've been out in the wild mud bogging.
Fort Liard is in the Northwest Territories and is a sleepy little town with mostly dilapidated houses and sheet metal single story buildings. I think I am the only white (Mexican really but nobody believes me) person in town. I’m not sure which Indian tribe they belong. I asked but I didn't have anything to write it down with and as usual, I have forgotten the name. Anyway, I head into one of their grocery store called Northern and looked around. I got some coffee and the cashier/stocker/manager didn't want any money. So we talked a bit and I told I'm what I was doing and asked about getting to Inuvik. He told me he had no clue and sent me to the General Store to talk to Jane who is the local expert on traveling in these parts.
I get to the store and found Jane. Jane was super helpful and said that she makes that
journey several times a year. She said the journey can be made from here no problem, but then she got this concerned look on her face and said she wanted to see what I was driving. So I took her outside to the car with a little trepidation. I didn't want to hear her laugh in disbelief. Instead, she nods her head and announces that I won’t have any problems. Awesome!
She then said that I may have to lay up a little while in Fort Simpson or Deadhorse for a bit due to the unseasonably warm spring weakening the two ice bridges that I normally would have crossed. Not awesome. I’d have to wait until the ferries could be brought down (or up, I'm not sure where they came from). How long, I ask? 3 weeks or so, she responds. Crap. Do you know about trying to get to Inuvik from Dawson City to the west. Yep, same issue. Bridges are out earlier than expected. Roughly the same wait time for the ferry to move into place. Well double crap. Thanks climate change. She was very nice about it but I could tell that she didn't think waiting 3
weeks was that long for me to wait. What’s the rush. Ah well.
So I believe this DENIED #5. Correct me if I'm wrong.
So I head back the way I came. Over a hundred miles just to have to turn around. I was rather dejected and now the scenery seemed boring (been there, done that, got the ticket). So here I am, slumped in my self pity when I spy a black shape right on the edge of the road. I stop quickly and lo and behold, a black bear cub is right there on the side of the road. It's obviously nervous about me and shies away into the bramble set back from the road edge. I get out of the car to see if I could help the cub. The poor thing was obliviously lost… Ok ok, I’m not that stupid (shut up Maddie). I really stay in car and take some pictures while nervously looking over my shoulder to see if I can find mama bear in the thicket on the other side. Nope, and you just got to know that Mama is there especially since I can see the cub looking over to that side.
I figured I'd press my luck long enough so I took off. The entire incident didn't take a minute. Still, I saw my first bear, and a cub at that. I didn't see an enraged mama bear for which I am grateful, though that would have been awesome picture and great story (after I changed my shorts).
I get back to Fort Nelson and it is getting late enough in the day that I start to seriously think about just staying there for the night, basically I made 50 miles today. But I decided I couldn't do that so I headed west/north on PR97 thinking I’ll find something along the way. Not a half hour goes by when I spy this large black shape on the other side of the road. I stop and lo and behold it's a big black bear. It’s just merrily eating at stuff on the side of the road totally ignoring me. It lets me take pictures with nary a glance. I did find it interesting that there was a swarm of flies buzzing around it. It just ignored them and continued to do what I can only describe as grazing. After a bit, I
took off. 2 bears in one day.
I’m on the road for a while when I come across an unincorporated town called Toad River. They have lodging, an RV park and a campground. Guess what? The campground is closed. I’m tired, they have free internet and I really needed a shower since it had been 4 days since the last one, so I get a cabin. It's roughly 50 or 60 bucks and since the campground would have been 20, the extra money was worth the extras I would get. I’m past the guilt part related to staying at a hotel/motel. A nice warm shower will do that to you. I promise I will suffer tomorrow.
The plan is to head towards Alaska will all due haste. When I am in Dawson city, I will inquire on seeing if the road to Inuvik is impassable just to see if conditions have changed.
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