Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Wildlife in the Wild


The Alaska Highway, also known as the AlCan (Alaska Canada) passes through five rugged mountain ranges and crosses countless rivers and streams. Constructed over eight months in 1942, its purpose was providing a land route to supply Alaska in the event of sea routes being cut off after the attack on Pearl Harbour. 

The vast majority of the highway passes through the Canadian province of British Columbia up to the Yukon Territory (also Canada), and then across to the Alaskan border, about 1900 kilometres, with the total length from Dawson Creek, BC to Fairbanks, Alaska about 2230 kilometres. 

Muncho Lake, seen above, stretches 12 kilometres along the route. It's a popular place for camping in the summertime with a beautiful jade green colour due to copper oxide leached from the bedrock underneath the lake. 

Above the lake is an alluvial fan where gravel, boulders, and sediment form a triangular shaped field washed down by rivers and streams. We spent a few hours one morning walking up the fan, and found it quite challenging because of the stones and gravel. 

To our delight, a small herd of Stone Sheep clattered down the fan across from us. How sure-footed and swift they are with dainty hooves much more agile than our clumsy booted feet.  

Their goal was the highway where they lick salt and minerals from the roadbed. In the winter highways are salted to lower the freezing temperature of the water, making roads safer. Once the licking was completed, the sheep made their way along the rock face beside the highway. How perfectly they blend in to the scenery. 

Not too far up the road from Muncho Lake is Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park. The campground is fenced with an electric fence to keep wildlife at bay. While sitting at our campsite one afternoon a large black bear wandered by on the other side of the fence.
To access the hot springs, one passes through a gate and onto a boardwalk through a marsh. There we saw another black bear, quite small, foraging for berries in the bushes. 

The springs themselves were such fun. They were used by the First Nations peoples for cleansing purposes, and the first written record of the springs dates from 1835 by an agent of the Hudson Bay company. The mosquitoes were terrible in the campground, the worst of the entire trip, but they didn't seem to like the hot springs very much. 

The natural setting and source of the springs has been preserved here with hot water, really hot water flowing in one end of the pool, then cascading down a retaining wall to a cooler pool, but still warm and pleasant. The pool narrows at the other end into a twisting, overgrown creek that we waded until we came to the end where a cold stream tempered the water. 

It was a delightful place and during our couple of days at the campground, we visited the pools three times. 

One evening, around 9 pm, we walked along the boardwalk and saw a cow moose stood in the muskeg with her calf. We watched for a very long time, until the mosquitoes drove me batty. The mother appeared to be weaning the calf, for when the calf tried to nurse, the mother gently pushed it aside and walked away. 

We had heard how terrible the bugs can be in the north, so we came prepared with mosquito head nets. This was the only place we used them, and they made a great difference! Here's Tim cooking pizza on the grill. We ate inside the trailer! 

These were our first wildlife sightings other than a couple of bears along the highway, and we were thrilled to see the Stone Sheep, the moose, and the bears. 

There is so much to tell about our trip, but I will pick and choose what I hope you will find most interesting. 

We're experiencing hot days here now at home, and at 9 pm there is just a tiny fingernail of yellow moon visible as I sit outdoors under the gazebo. The temperature is pleasant, and I look at the dark shapes of the garden beyond the deck, and I am so content to be at home. 

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Home is a Lovely Place


Travel is wonderful, but coming home is so very lovely. We enjoyed dinner with my parents, and spent one last night in the trailer before catching the 8 am ferry on Thursday morning. What joy to pull up to our home and begin the task of settling in once again. 
Our Iranian tenants took good care of the garden (with help from neighbours and our children), and gave us the vase of flowers seen above, as well as some delicious date pastries. 

The garden is calling out cutting back, harvesting, and weeding, and we spent much of yesterday doing just that. I clipped the very first bouquet of sweet peas before leaving home on July 22, and was able to cut another when I returned home. They sit on my windowsill along with ripening peaches. Soon they will be pulled and put on the compost pile.

Yesterday evening we spent with our children and grandchildren, and it was a wonderful time with delicious food - salads, hamburgers, and an apple cake. 

This morning I did a few in-house chores and some grocery shopping, and this afternoon I'm heading out into the garden once again. Thankfully, the weather has cooled off (we missed almost all of the heat this year). I'll be reading a few blogs when I need to have a bit of a break. 

We are filled with gratitude for our trip, and with pockets full of stories to pull out and share. I'll write some of them up for you in the coming weeks. 

Monday, August 15, 2022

from the Road 5


Kluane National Park is stunning!  We camped at Kathleen Lake in a beautiful treed spot with the sound of quaking aspens all around us. We’ve taken short walks and strenuous hikes. 

One day we treated ourselves to a short flight in a very tiny and very bouncy airplane. Behind the beautiful
Peaks seen from the ground, huge glaciers that resemble of ice slowly wind down immense valleys. Canada’s highest mountain, Mt Logan, was mostly wreathed in clouds the day we went up, but other peaks displayed their majesty and the magnificence of God’s creative power. 

We will soon be wending our way out of the Yukon and back into BC for our slow trip home. There are still sights to see along the way. 

I have only been able to post from my phone, with limited access. Someone asked if their comments were coming through and I think they are. I receive all comments in my email account and read them there. I have not loaded the blog successfully on my phone. 

Autumn is beginning to show her face here in the north. Trees are turning colour and the animals are getting ready for winter. I hope that is an encouragement to you who are suffering tremendous heat. 

Friday, August 12, 2022

Post card from the road 4

 We made it to the Arctic Ocean - the northernmost spot one can drive to in Canada. Although it was chilly and windy the day we were there, temperatures were in the mid 20s Celsius the day before. 

The scenery along the Dempster was stunning, even on the rainy day of our return to Dawson City. 

Our adventure continues for a few more weeks - we are headed to Kluane Park next. 

Someone asked if we saw the northern lights during our trip. No, we have not, because there is little darkness at this time of year. 

Friday, August 05, 2022

Post card from the road 3


Today we crossed the Arctic Circle. I’m sitting at a gas station in Fort McPherson in the Northwest Territory. It’s a beautiful, warm sunshine-filled day. We filled up our gas tank and bought a few extra groceries just to have on hand. Services are few and far between here. 

We left our camping trailer in Dawson City because the road, the Dempster Highway, is unpacked with some very rough sections. We are staying in hotels during this portion of the trip. 

Now we are off to Inuvik where we will stay three nights. Thank you for all your comments! 

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Postcard from the Road 2


A quick post this early morning before leaving for Dawson City.  We’ve been in Whitehorse for three days and have seen flowers, a fox, and more of the beautiful surroundings  the sunset photo was taken at 10:15 one evening.  Light lasts long and begins early still, even as autumn is just around the corner.  

Thank you for your comments. Internet has been sparse and I have not visited anyone online.  I will have lots of catching up to do when I return home.

A Bit of This and That

  Off in the distance Mount Baker, in the USA, gleams in the sunlight. My best guess is that it's about 100 km away as the crow flies. T...