After driving south from the wooded north, the prairie country of Alberta is pretty boring. We could not find anything better than relaxing in the RV, so we took a day off. Here are a few pictures.
The largest sundial in the world, or North America, or someting.
Toby and Daisy at a big fenced dog park.
A nice picture of Toby, and he is getting up after sitting, and is not doing what it looks like.
Our RV in the Camp Tamarack Park.
The morning after too much partying, I think.
These two have been stuck in Grande Prairie a little too long.
Our trip was not the typical one, up and down the Alaska Highway. We did drive most of the classic route, but in pieces and in different directions. Still, as the miles (kilometers 🙁 ) counted down, I got depressed, realizing our trip is nearing the end. The traffic increases as the miles count down, and the long lonely stretches of hiway up north are just a memory. We did not look for the north end of the hiway in Delta Junction, and did not slow down for the south end Mile 0 sign in Dawson Creek.
This is a typical look at the 2-lane freeway that is the modern Alaska Highway. Wide clearcuts along the sides for animal safety and snow storage?
Here is a story about one stretch of realignment.
Here is a look at an older, bypassed, stretch of the highway.
It leads to this bridge across the Kiskatinaw River.
The last, and only, curved wooden bridge still open to traffic. This is a 10 mile section of the old hiway that can be driven for fun. We were the only vehicle out there.
I did manage to take a picture of an interesting diner while I gassed up the RV.
Dawson Creek is provides support services for the oil and gas work up the hiway.
Some big grain silos at the train tracks support the farming on the plains south east of town.
I was in traffic and made no effort to get a picture of Mile 0 except through the screen on the side window.
We stayed in another obscure park at the Sikanni River crossing. This park is not very cultured. It has quite a few RV spots that are scattered around a large dirt lot which gets lots of puddles after it rains. It had rained the day we got there, so the mud and puddles were large. They dried while we were there, making it easier to keep the dogs dry during our walks.
The daylight hours get less as you go south, and if it is somewhat clear, sunsets are visible.
The dogs and I get up early, and we saw this sunrise. The puddles in the lot can look nice when they reflect the sky.
This is all that is left of an early bridge across the Sikanni. Burned by arson in 1992, but listed in my 1989 Alcan Hiway book as one of the oldest remaining…
Rather than fishing, I took a hike into the Sikanni Falls.
Here is a closer picture. The trail is 1.8 Km, and I got down easily. Getting back up was slower, but I had less trouble than I anticipated, and no lingering pain, so I am happy.
Here are logs caught in a whirlpool at the bottom of the falls.
This is a big mushroom in the forest.
After driving the falls parking lot, I took another fork in the road for about 10 miles and found this. A hunting camp of 4 “First Nation” guys. They invited me for coffee and we sat around their fire and talked. Very intersting perspective on life when they need to find large mammals to kill and eat through the winter.
These are some of the temporary housing units used by the oil workers in the area.
This place guides hunters as well as other activities, hence the name, I guess. We saw several animals on the way here, and found that not all of the Alaska Highway is a 2-lane freeway. Much of the trip here was narrow and twisty, as a road through the Rocky Mtns has every right to be. We stopped at the Liard River Hot Springs for a quick dip. This area has enough warm water coming up to create a micro climate all its own. There are wild orchids and other tropical plants above the pools, but some endangered water creature spawns up there, so the trail was closed.
I have pictures of some different mushrooms, but here is one of my favorites.
The upper pool is quite hot, and incredibly clear.
The park has added some nice improvements, including the dam wih waterfalls to feed the cooler lower pool.
Along the way, I needed a cup of coffee and went into the Toad River Lodge and found their growing collection of 10,093 hats.
After seeing warnings about bison on the road, we saw this bull walking along the shoulder.
Later we came upon these females and calfs along side the road.
A guy in a sedan passed me, then screeched to a halt to avoid this Stone sheep in the road. It jumped back up the road cut as I pulled up.
This is the first elk we have seen. Lots of caribou, but no elk.
The RV park is built from some old buildings. They re-purposed this one as the generator shed. They still make home made bread and the self-proclaimed “best cinnamon rolls in the galactic cluster.”
We stayed in the most beautiful RV park so far. Haines has a nice view, but this has huge sites, well separated by trees, and carefully allocated so there were empty sites between each one in use.
While getting a rock chip in the RV windshield repaired, I noticed the Hendrick’s Barber shop across the street.
Our site at the RV park/
Maxine in the bathtub-temperature pool.
The hot pool and the bath house behind.
Easily the most beautiful meal of the trip at the cafe. A little light on the Arctic Char, but very tasty.
We rode on the trolley along the waterfront.
Nothing of the original buildings remain, but this is a decoration on the outside of a First Nation building through the window of the trolley.
The longest wooden fish ladder in the Northern Hemisphere is on the Yukon River. This is some public art they did to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ladder.
The ladder itself is all the original wood, but it has been re-inforced in the last 50 years.
This map shows the 1875 miles of the Yukon River, and the trip these fish take to spawn.
Here is another more artful map of the Yukon and its major tributaries.
This is a beaver pond where I caught one tiny rainbow trout.
Next stop – Carmacks, YT.
Asleep at the wheel? This car was in the ditch for a couple of days, don’t know anything else about it.
Five fingers rapids on the Yukon River.
Bridge over the Yukon River, coming in to Carmacks.
Another view from across the road from the RV park.
Cool Swiss vehicle in the RV park.
Original roadhouse built in 1880’s.
Squirrel doing what they do.
Tatchun River where I caught a tiny Grayling.
On to Dawson City and the Klondike Mining District. This was the goal of the ’98 rush through Skagway. There is much evidence of the mining history and the continuing search for gold. I’ll make a post on that soon, but here are some pictures of the route and the town.
A view from the Top Of The World Highway between Chicken and Dawson City.
Caribou crossed the road and joined a larger group, too far away for my camera.
The US side of the border with Canada along the highway.
Lack of a bridge across the Yukon River requires a trip on this free ferry. Tourist paddle wheeler in the background.
View of the Yukon River and Dawson City from Midnight Dome.
A reproduction of Jack London’s cabin, using some of the original logs. Most of the original stuff is in Oakland, CA, where the money to retrieve it came from. (See Jack London Square.)
Some of the old buildings are repaired or restored and in use. Some are left to sink into the permafrost.
Another abandoned building.
Walking through town, it is hard to tell restored historic buildings from current open stores.
Picture from an informational plaque showing how the area looked after mining.
Here is second growth, covering much of the damage.
Maxine panning at a claim open to the public.
We went on to the Chicken Goldcamp RV Park in… Chicken, AK. The town founders could not spell Ptarmigan, so Chicken was born. An interesting place with mining as the main local activity. Gold panning at the park for $10 per 4 hours in their stand-up pans. Or pay for a day at their claim and take your sluice box and anything else you can carry on the trailer behind your ATV. Some interesting artwork marks this park vs. the other 2 in town.
Rolling waves of tundra and taiga on the way from Tok north to Chicken.
The Chicken with milepost and the local dredge hulk in the background.
Chicken of La Manch statue, and the dredge.
A picture of me with the Lloyd’s T-shirt to submit to their Facebook competition.
Up the road, there is access to the 40-Mile River system. Airboats are the preferred means of access to your mining setup.
Outboards fitted with jet-drive conversions are also popular.
This is a raft fitted with some sort of mining equipment, floating on the river.
View of Chicken from the road leading north.
I was really surprised to see hydraulic mining still in operation. These guys are serious about their gold.
I have been interested in the many types of vehicles I have seen along the way and in the RV parks. I was surprised to see none of the modern Landcruisers in Canada, where I thought they would be available. I plan to go to a Toyota dealer in Calgary, and I’ll see what is going on. Here are a bunch of pictures I have taken.
New tires for the Subaru in Santa Cruz. I appreciated these while splashing through some puddles up north.
Crazy guy hauling a.. on Hiway 17 with that top-heavy boat behind him.
Big trucks hauling race cars in BC.
The double-stack trailers.
Interesting “Dura” from Switzerland.
Nice Honda setup.
This one is for Mike P from Haines.
Not a vehicle, but a fish wheel waiting for a unwary salmon.
Typical bumper for a speeder in moose country. Reminded me of Australia.
VW popup trailer.
4Runner with a lift in Anchorage.
The only 40 I have seen so far.
Nice Landcruiser, this guy shipped it from Europe on his round-the-world tour.
Big rigs passing me carrying evil looking stuff.
Liquid Oxygen in the back.
A tank passed me, too.
The boys in front of trucks on the beach in Ninilchik.
Boat launch via tractor in Ninilchik.
Cute little 4×4 truck.
Stretch VW-Mercedes bus.
Old truck in the weeds.
Another old truck.
And yet another truck in the weeds.
Tractor used to build Alcan in the weeds in the sign forest.
Another vintage Alcan piece of equipment.
This guy pulls his trailer in style. But that is hard to park even with the trailer left behind.
This truck is ready to push snow, but in July?
The Subaru on the ferry.
Cute little Suzuki, with H2 badging.
Classic tracked vehicle with trailer.
Snazzy VW pulling a cute teardrop trailer.
After Carol flew back home, we went on to Tok. Tok is a major intersection with all the roads to Alaska passing through. We drove through here on our way north and did laundry and grocery shopping. On the way south, we stopped and stayed for a couple of days. I did some more fishing and caught Grayling and Northern Pike.
Many businesses are for sale along the highways. This one looks like a great opportunity, and only $159,000.
These weird downward curved pipes make me wonder every time I went by. Too much snow on a long-gone roof?
Inland Alaska does not have the snowy peaks of the coastal mountains.
Flowers are every where and clouds creep over the mountains.
I liked this peak, and with the proper camera angle, the road below disappears.
They have done some bank erosion control here on the Little Tok River.
I saw this fish from a 3 foot bank in the clear water. I dropped my fly to it, and picked it right up. A beautiful Grayling.
The next day I hiked out to Mineral Lake, a whole 1/2 mile. Here the Little Tok comes out of the lake.
In that weedy outlet from the lake, a hungry Pike grabbed a lure from my Father’s tackle box. I remember that lure at the top of his box since I was a kid. It is from his days in Wisconsin, before he became a family man in CA. It had not been in the water for at least 60 years.
On the way up the trail, I spotted this bird, a Spruce Grouse, I think.