After leaving Jasper, my overnight stops included Prince George, Dawson Creek, Fort Nelson, Laird Hot Spring and Watson Lake. I am now just inside the Yukon. The drive had a number of interesting stops along the way and an abundance of wildlife.
On the way to Prince George, I stopped at Mount Robson Park and the Ancient Forest Provincial Park.
Mount Robson is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies at 12,972 ft. The view of the peak from the park is supposed to be awesome, so they tell me. Let’s have a contest. Send me a picture of what you think the peak looks like using the below photo as your starting point. The winner gets a case of cold Canadian brew.
The ancient forest is made up of 1,000 plus year old cedar trees. A boardwalk takes you through the forest via a number of inter-connecting loop trails. The boardwalk protects the tree’s roots which are sensitive, prevents trail erosion, and keeps you from walking through an undergrowth call “devil’s club”. Devil’s club is a nasty plant with pointy spines all over its stem.
The forest was logged for a period of time before it was preserved. Some trees have cut-outs which the loggers used to judge the quality of the wood. Really special place and worth spending a couple of hours. Use bug spray for the walk!
I camped at the Walmart in Prince George after a stop at the visitor center. I was tired from the long days in Banff / Jasper and from the drive, so I did not explore the town. I will check it out on the way back as Prince George is driven through regardless of which route you drive back.
Dawson Creek is the start of the Alaskan Highway. It was completed in 1942 and used as an overland supply route from the continental US to Alaska during World War II.
I stayed at the Northern Lights RV park. Nice set up with really clean bathrooms and showers. I took 6 minute showers, viva la loca!
In a small village before Dawson Creek called Chetwynd, they have over a 100 wood craving displayed throughout the town. Once a year they have an international wood carving contest. It was fun to walk through the village and check out the art.
The roads from Prince George to Fort Nelson were busy with travelers and a high volume of truck traffic. The area has logging and gas / oil fields and much of the truck activity is associated with this. In Fort Nelson, I stayed at the Blue Bird RV park and had a meal and beer at Dan’s Pub across the street.
After Fort Nelson the traffic dies down significantly and is mainly travelers. I spent 3 nights camping at Liard Hot Springs. This is a special place. If you do not leave here relaxed,you never will.
The park service did a great job of integrating the changing room / entry platform into the natural hot spring area. I had a great time and met a lot of people from all over the world. My camping neighbor (Stacy) was from the local area and was camping for Canada Day weekend (like the US 4th of July). She had a neat tent set up using the back of her pick up. We had a good time discussing life, sharing a campfire and just chilling. She showed me some of the portrait painting she does as a hobby. Wow, great stuff.
The Hot Springs have a campground and day use parking area as well as overflow parking on the other side of the highway. The springs are accessed via a boardwalk through a marshy area about a 1/2 mile in length. Above the springs is an overlook into what is called the hanging garden area. Plants and wildlife (moose and bear) love the area given the extra warmth provided. Stunning!
The earliest I left the springs each night was around mid-night. With the extended daylight, my body clock is completely whacked out. The locals just go with it. After a long hard winter, they enjoy every minute of the good weather.
Some fellow campers were from Switzerland and driving some military style RVs. They noted that 4 companies in Germany and 1 in Switzerland were making these. I did not ask how much it cost to ship these from one continent to another (they just spent a year doing South America) but I guess if you can afford to buy one you can afford to ship it. There next stop after North America is Mongolia.
Kind of a small world, as I met a couple (Sid and Nancy, yea I know) from Colorado Springs and another couple (Biz and ?) with whom they are traveling. They are pretty much on the same travel path as me. Really great people. They fish in Alaska on a regular basis and provided some great insight.
Another couple (Steve and Judy) from Vancover Island exchanged info and have offered to show me around when I visit the Island on my return from Alaska.
After a final morning soak in the hot springs, I drove to Watson Lake and camped at the Watson Lake Campground. The town is know for the sign post in the center of town. People hang signs (usually noting their home town) on poles provided. Over the years, it has grown into a signpost jungle. It is pretty cool just walking around and checking this out.
Watson Lake puts you into the Yukon:
Watson Lake campground is about 2 miles off the main road. I thought I was in a pretty secluded spot. However, as I was finishing dinner, I hear a knock and “Hey Mark, are you in there?” My van is easy to spot I guess and the beat goes on.
After Fort Nelson, you see a lot of wildlife along the road ways. I have seem pretty much all the big animals, moose, elk, caribou, black bear, grizzly bear, bison, mountain sheep, mountain goats, etc. Nice……………