Thursday, August 11, 2011

Yukon – Alaska Highway

Haines Junction to Watson Lake  - Saturday 6 Aug – Monday 8 Aug. 
Time to reflect.
My schoolboy recollection of North American history is of pioneer settlers with their wagon train full of belongings heading to new lands. Driving along the Alaska Highway I think North Americans still have the urge to visit new land with their “wagon” full of belongings – RV’s!!! Some of these motorhomes are bigger than a London double decker bus and they are driven by a mature couple whose parents were probably on the first wagon train west! Not only do they have a monstrous mobile home but towed behind is the family car (usually bigger than our Jeep), with a Canoe on the roof,  bikes attached and the two family dogs sticking their heads out of the window. But all credit to their sense of adventure, we have come across some of these monsters in camp sites where I have had to use copious amounts of white knuckles and low range 4 wheel drive. We haven’t actually seen inside one of these travelling condos but they must have at least two kitchen sinks, a basement and jacuzzi! What else would you fit into all that space? The positive about  seeing these mobile homes is that many retired Americans can experience the wonders of this amazing continent in absolute comfort.

The other interesting aside we have noted on our travels, is the number of German tourists in Canada. We have met many German couples, of all ages (and the occasional family). Some like us, travelling with a tent and some in rented apartments on wheels. Many are adventurous, with bikes, kayaks and hiking boots in tow, all indicate an appreciation for this wonderful country. The good news is that despite meeting all these Deutschlanders we haven’t mentioned the war once!
Cheers - on the banks of Teslin Lake.
 As you can guess we have travelled a number of miles over the past few days and one ponders on ones travels as the kilometres roll by. However the concentration is quickly refocused as the next pot hole or frost heave jolts Hanneke into the back seat.
The Teslin Bridge - The longest suspension bridge across the Alaska Highway

Ranchview falls.

The beautiful Boya Lake
Who is doing all the work in this Canoe?
We have actually continued to really enjoy exploring Yukon’s southern border. Stops at Teslin Lake, Boya Lake and Watson Lake have all been different and equally enjoyable. We have been able to take a number of hikes to various interesting sites, including a beaver dam, a waterfall and the edge of some huge expanses of water.

We have also seen Beavers, Bears and cubs and Ptarmigan (a ground dwelling bird like a grouse). 

Mummy bear

Baby bear

A "Ptarmigan" - like a small chicken, but she didn't lay us any eggs.

Now who made this Dam good piece of engineering?

"Not me, I'm just swimming by admiring the view!"

We have also been amazed by the Forest of Signs, over 70, 000, at Watson Lake. These signs were started in 1942 when the Alcan (Alaskan) highway was being built by the American army engineers and local contractors. Since then travellers have continued to place signs reminding them of home.

A sign of the times!
Talking of home, that is where we are now headed – we will be travelling through Northern British Columbia and onto Alberta, supposedly back in Lloydminster in time to start school!!!

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