We’ve had a pretty good couple of days. Wednesday morning we left Triple G Campground in Fort Nelson about 0730 for the 185 mile transit up to Liard Hot Springs where we stayed at the Liard Hot Springs Lodge RV Park. The trip is supposed to have some of the best scenery we’ll see as well as numerous animal sightings…but we’ll get to that later.
Our first stop heading north was at Indian Head Mountain…this is a rock formation up on the side of a mountain very similar to the one in New Hampshire known as The Old Man of the Sea…sort of a profile of rocks. This one looks supposedly like an Indian profile…we thought you needed a pretty good imagination to see it.
Next up we hit an area with no road…reminding us of that line in Back To The Future Part 2 where Doc Brown says “Roads…where we’re going we don’t need no steenking roads.”
And a beaver dam and lodge on a branch of one of the many rivers we crossed.
Here’s a shot of Summit Lake…which is (naturally) located at the top of Summit Pass…which is the highest elevation reached on the AlCan…4,250 feet. That’s Mount Saint George behind the lake on the left side. The water here is amazingly clear…it looks like bathtub water and you can easily see the bottom 15 or 20 feet from the shore at a depth of 6 feet or so. Really nice view…along with a very nice campground that we could stay in if we wanted to…no utilities but with our generator and solar panels it would be no problem…right on the lake and the sites are big enough for us to fit pretty easily. If we ever come back up this way we’ll keep it in mind…but it would definitely have what our friends Howard and Linda call the “it factor”.
Next up we stopped by the hoodoo’s and took a short hike about 1.2 miles overall to see them…325 feet high although I’m not sure how they measured that as the pinnacle structure of the didn’t look that high but maybe it’s measured from the bottom of the slope or something.
A nice pano shot of the area behind our second cinnamon roll purchase of the day…more on that later as well…and a shot of the Toad River right before we got to the second cinnamon roll stop.
A shot of Muncho Lake…a 20 mile long lake pretty close to Liard Hot Springs…again, amazingly clear water.
Now…about that wildlife we were supposed to see today…eh, not so much. We did spot a mother moose and calf while we were having a sandwich but she they ran back into the woods before we could get a shot. We also passed through Stone Mountain Provincial Park…which is the home of the Stone Sheep. This is a brownish sub species of the white Dall Sheep found further north in the Yukon and is very similar in appearance to the Bighorn Sheep we have in the US Rockies. We did spot one of these but they blend into the grass really well and even though it was within 5 yards of the road we didn’t’ see it until we were within 30 yards or so…luckily it jumped away from the road when we startled it and not out in front of us. We (naturally) saw it right as we got to the bottom of a fairly steep but short hill so stopping for a photo wasn’t really in the cards…although we did see one so we were happy. After that…the only other thing we saw were some Bison…here’s a couple of shots of those for ya’.
So…on to the Cinnamon Roll Stops. Shortly after we passed through the section of the road with no pavement above we passed what has to be the best…roadside…marketing…sign…ever.
We figured that any place that claimed to be the center of the Galactic Cluster as far as Cinnamon Buns was concerned we should stop at…so we did. As we were ordering our bun…we decided to have a Bun Off…since there was another place with homemade cinnamon buns farther on at the Toad River Lodge we decided to get one there as well and we’ll sample both of them for breakfast tomorrow…including photos…and post the results later. Stay tuned.
This is the only remaining original suspension bridge on the AlCan…it’s about 1100 feet long and dates from late 1942.
Finally for today…a couple of shots to show you what our rig looks like after just 2 of 60 days on our Alaskan caravan. The first one is of the front bottom…take a gander at all the mud caked on it. The second one is of the side near where our water supply hooks up…the center little brown area is where Neil cleaned it a bit to highlight the dirt level. By the time we get back we’ll be really dirty I guess…and we’ll need plenty of washing to get ourselves clean again.
I’ll have to take one of BAT for ya as well tomorrow.
After our arrival at the campground…we got setup in site 7 then changed clothes and walked over to the Liard Hot Springs Provincial Park where they have…amazingly enough…hot springs. All of our group entered at the warm end of the cooler pool and just soaked in the warm mineral waters until we started to look like prunes. We did briefly dunk ourselves in the cool end of the warmer pool and it was quite toasty…with only a few of us actually being able to go put the rock on the ledge at the hot end of the hot pool. You coulda boiled an egg in there I’m tellin’ ya’.
Ok, on to Day 4. Early morning while Neil was doing outside stuff he got a couple shots of the dirt on BAT…you can see the original color a little bit around the edges in some places but we’re mostly just dirt colored.
After that…Neil went across to Wayne and Debbie’s rig…they’re the tail gunners for our group and one of their duties is to have coffee ready on all travel days at 0630…so he went across and brought two cups back to go along with the Bun Off.
Here are the contenders. In this corner we have the bun from the Cinnamon Bun Center of the Galactic Cluster (actually it was named the Tetsa Lodge) nestled inside it’s styrofoam takeout container.
And here’s the challenger from the Toad River Lodge.
As you can see…both of these are huge…so we split them in half and saved the remaining two halves for tomorrow. We then nuked each half and split them into halves again and gave us each a piece of both. After some chowing down…we came to a conclusion…and the winner is…they’re both outstanding. They are different so it’s really more a matter of what your particular choice in buns is…the Center of the Galactic Cluster one has sweeter gooey stuff, is more gooey and a milder cinnamon taste while the Toad River Lodge one is less sweet but has more cinnamon flavor and the bread part has a little better flavor. You really can’t go wrong with either of them though…so we’re going to give it by a nose to the Galactic Cluster based on their better marketing.
Right before we pulled out of the campground…Neil got this shot right next to the shower facility you can see in the background…this specimen is about 15 feet from the showers and maybe 30 feet from the back of the campground office.
We headed out about 0730 and spotted our first wildlife…a yearling black bear…on the side of the road not 300 yards after pulling out of the campground back onto the AlCan. There wasn’t any place to stop there for a photo and (at least as far as bears were concerned)…this was to be the routine of the day. We spotted 4 bears altogether and 3 of them were in a place where we could have gotten off the road for a photo…but all 3 were running at the time towards the woods as something had startled them before we saw them. The fourth one…which was actually the first one ya see…was posing for an excellent photo opportunity but there was no place to stop.
Other sightings for the day included a fox that again we got no photo of and several groups of bison along the way.
A nice shot of a set of rapids on the Liard River…Liard is actually the French word for Poplar and the river and nearby hot springs were named for the large stands of Poplar trees that bordered them.
And a shot of the Liard River a little farther upstream…here are two different HDR interpretations of the same set of RAW images…the first was done with Lightroom’s somewhat limited HDR rendering and the second with the more capable Photomatix Pro.
Ya’ really can’t go wrong with either of these…although Neil thinks that Photomatix does a better job since you can modify how the tone mapping is done with some sliders within the application and the Lightroom version has no options other than the single rendering that it decides on.
We crossed the border into the Yukon Territory shortly after the Liard River shots were taken…here’s the obligatory “we were here and got the photo’s to prove it” shots. I guess that makes us Yukon Men like that show on TV.
We pulled into Baby Nugget RV just west of Watson Lake YT about 1130 and quickly got set up in site 48. Not much to see or do here around the campground though…so we just lazed around the afternoon until it was time for our planned activity (that’s code for included in the tour price) of the day…a trip to the Signpost Village.
Signpost Village was started back in 1942 by a guy who put up a license plate from where he grew up. Over the years about 80,000 signs have been posted…everything from license plates to pie tins with inscriptions in Sharpie marker to carved wooden signs. All of them were put up by people traveling the AlCan…so naturally our host David had prepared a special sign commemorating the 2015 60 day RV Adventure Treks caravan.
Afterwards we watched the movie about Yukon and AlCan history…then went to the Upper Liard Lodge with Bill and Linda for dinner…we all had various types of schnitzel…and all were really good. Neil also got a shot of our site here at Baby Nugget RV.
With that…we gave up and headed home…after watching Deadliest Catch with Bill and Linda we came home for TV and bedtime. We’re off again at 0730 tomorrow morning for our transit to Teslin Lake YT then again to Whitehorse YT on Saturday…then we get a couple days with no travel…good thing as we need a day off.