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Published: June 19th 2008
Tuesday June 17
We left Fort St. John at 9 AM in the rain and started our ride to Fort Nelson. The rain let up quickly, but came back in frequent showers along the way. The trip was mostly a paved road through the bush, with few features to be impressed about. It kind of reminded me of driving to Edson, but about 3 times as far. Countless black spruce bogs along the way. Things got a little better as the view opened up to show us some mountains around Pink Mountain, and the descent down “Suicide Hill” to the Sakanni River was dramatic. We stopped for lunch at a gas station and restaurant in Buckinghorse River where the food was fresh, homemade, and very good. The only thing wrong perhaps was the price of gas at $1.59 a litre. We arrived in Fort Nelson around 3:30 PM. After unpacking, a few of us went to the pub and shared a jug of draft. Afterwards we had dinner. I ordered salmon only to discover they had prepared it with my favourite topping - basil garlic. After supper I went for a walk around town before heading back to the room
at the Fort Nelson Hotel.
Wednesday June 18
We left Fort Nelson shortly after 8 after a mad scramble as I slept in to 7 AM; I had set my alarm for 6 but must have slept through it. This day was quite a bit more interesting with more geography to look at instead of the endless forests we rode through yesterday. Shortly after leaving, the road followed along side of the Tetsa River, and afforded us a view of the mountains we were heading towards. The road climbed up to over 4000 feet (1300m) through the Summit Lake pass, then we dropped down to the Toad River area before climbing again to the Muncho pass, then descending to Muncho Lake. We stopped for a soak in the Liard River Hot Springs Park and had lunch at the lodge across the highway. The Liard hot springs are in a very natural setting, there is no man-made pool, and the water is natural as it comes out of the ground. The closer you are to the water source, the hotter it gets. The area has been developed with change rooms, toilets, and stairs down into the water. The bottom
of the stream has been covered with gravel to cover up what was probably a pretty sticky mud originally.
I was amazed at the size of the Liard River, it is a huge river, more water volume than the Fraser River I would think. We stopped a few times along the way for photo opportunities. We saw lots of wildlife today including at least 3 bears, two of whom were sows with cubs. Deer, and lots of mountain sheep. We even saw some buffalo which are roaming free. We had to wait at one point as a buffalo walked across the highway. One deer we saw on the side of the road bothered me as the motorcycles in front of me went past it. I slowed right down to watch the deer run across the road about 100 feet in front of me.
Sometime after Contact Creek (where we made a fuel and ice cream stop) we ran into a hail storm and while I had all my rain gear on, the noise from the hail pounding on my helmet was really something. We arrived in Watson Lake about 6:30 PM. The first thing we did was
visit the sign forest and put up our sign. The sign forest originated during the construction of the Alaska Highway during the second world war. Workers and soldiers at a nearby camp would put up a sign of some kind - usually some kind of reference to their home town and distance, and their name. This
Tomorrow we make the run to Whitehorse where we are staying for 4 nights.
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