When we left Dawson Creek I said to Michelle, "I think we will begin to see some real wilderness on this leg". Well that lasted for about 45 minutes until we made Ft. St John, a pretty big city and the trucking capitol of Western Canada. They even had a Walmart. Past that oh, it really gets lonely. After following the rivers and valley on our first leg we were on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains where there are mostly rolling hills and forest to the north and plains to the east, mountains to the west. We made good time over the smaller hills looking for bears and moose while listening to satellite radio and eating road goodies. It’s a pretty drive but we were disappointed, we still haven’t seen a moose. Michelle said the Watch For Moose signs were there just to keep the kids busy and I told her it was working well so far. It was quiet for a long time after that. Before long we were in Ft. Nelson for a quick overnighter prior to heading for the Yukon. We got up to a cold light rain that was supposed to taper off quickly. The
weather forecasters in Canada aren’t much better than the ones in the US. Out of Ft. Nelson you quickly turn west to climb back into the Northern Rockies which meant that the cold light rain turned to snow and got much heavier as we made our way up. Toward the summit, the highest spot on the Alaska Highway, we made it into the clouds which just added to the excitement. Of course from there you have only one way to go, down the other side at an 8% downgrade. I have to tell you, that diesel engine exhaust brake is the best thing we brought with us. After about 1000 ft of "ho my gaud" downhill twisters we broke out of the snow and soon it stopped raining. By the afternoon we were in clear weather but I will remember that decent in the clouds and snow for a long time. So on the other side of the mountains it really is wilderness territory. We have a whole new respect for those US Army troops that built this 1400 miles of road in 1942 in only eight months. What an incomprehensible task they had and what a miracle they pulled
it off. Much of the current road follows the same path and given the equipment available at the time I don’t see how it was ever done. As we pushed over the mountains and through the river valleys we began to seriously see the wilderness animals that everyone talks about. A herd of Stone Sheep were right in the road, munching on salt and minerals put down during the winter for snow melt. The Black Bears were everywhere, grazing in the grass and eating the flowers. And just about the time you think it’s just another black bear but it’s a big one, and it keeps getting bigger, you spot your first full grown grizzly bear but you’re going too fast to stop and it runs off into the woods anyway. As you marvel at these wild animals in the wild what shows up right on the side of the road but Bison. Real buffalo and they are big and they are everywhere and you remember – whatever you do, don’t get out of your vehicle!! Not a problem as that was not going to happen. We could have sat and watched the bears and buffalo for hours but we
needed to get to Watson Lake for the night, and there is always tomorrow. So I hope you don’t get bored of wild animal pictures as we have hundreds. No I won’t post them all. Today is a layover day, good break for us both. Tomorrow morning it is off to Haines Junction for the night and then into Alaska. By the way, for all the kids and family, we have no phone connection up here in the Yukon but we are fine. We normally get Wi-Fi at the campgrounds which gets us our email, and gets Michelle on Facebook, but phone service is spotty at best and roaming is expensive anyway. Will call when we get back to Verizon territory.
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