Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024
Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

A Fish Wheel, A Grizzly Bear, and A Rock Glacier - Wednesday, July 27, 2022

After spending two nights and one day in Haines, Alaska, we returned today to British Columbia and Yukon Territory, Canada. I'll catch up on earlier blogs another day. 

While we were in Haines, it was hard to see how high the mountains were because clouds enveloped them. As we left town, we had a peek-a-boo view of a few peaks.

On our way to the Canadian border crossing, we had to go through heavy road construction. However, it was way better than what we had to go through on the way into town. As we were slowly moving through the dirt/gravel construction area, we drove extremely close to the Chilkat River. 

In the river, were two fish wheels. They look like little paddlewheels. When the wheels move in the current, there are screens that catch the fish and deposit them in a holding tank.

A fish wheel with two workers on it.

When we got to the Canadian border crossing to go into British Columbia, there were about eight vehicles ahead of us. It took forever to go through the crossing this morning. The border patrol agents were searching vehicles. It was an hour before we got to the border. The line of vehicles was LONG behind us. I have no idea how many RVs and cars were back there. But, here's a photo that shows what we could see.

The backup at the Pleasant Camp
border into British Columbia.
There's no other way to go.

In front of us was a pickup with a camper on it. The man who was driving it was disabled and used a cane. They made him go in his camper and get out his eggs (in a carton). The agent spent a few minutes looking over the packaging and checking the date, where the eggs were from, and finally handed them back to the man after okaying them.

We saw other people ahead of us get their RVs searched, too. When the agents went into one of them, the people's dog raced out, apparently thrilled to get out of the confined space.

Our rig did not get searched but they did question us about a few things. Once we got through that roadblock, it was clear sailing. It took some of our group an hour and a half to make it through the border crossing.

We went over two passes and had some beautiful scenery. It was 57 degrees, rained, and there were clouds hanging low. Big animals were on our minds as we searched the roadsides for moose and bear; then later, Dall sheep. 

Haines Highway.
Haines Highway.

Haines Highway.

Haines Highway/YT 3.

Haines Highway/YT 3.

There were quite a few bike riders along the highway today. We had to use great care in passing them on grades with yellow no passing lines. 

We have an Alaska Milepost 2022 book that we use as a reference as we drive along. For miles, our book kept saying, "Caution: Watch for moose and grizzly bears." So we watched. 

In the area of Klukshu Lake, we started seeing a lot of bear scat along the roadways. We watched more intently. And then, there it was: a grizzly bear on the passenger side of the truck, up on a hillside, grazing on grasses. Conveniently, there was a pull-out right there. 

I jumped out of the truck and walked back. As I walked back to where we saw the bear, Bob was pulling the 5th wheel away from me to get it off the road and onto the pullout. The bear was moving in the direction of the truck, but up on the side of the hill. It kept getting out of view in the tall thickets. It also kept looking at me. 

I know that grizzlies can run 35 mph, so I was getting nervous. I finally was able to take a photo of it and I hightailed it back to the 5th wheel. Bob was coming out to try to see it and I told him I was going back to the rig and he should too!! 

This is the back end of the grizzly.

That was our biggest excitement of the day. Although, we did see a small tour bus disabled on the highway in the opposite direction. People were walking away from the bus to a turnout where there were two other buses. There were long skid marks behind the bus and it had a front flat tire. We wondered if they hit something. Never did find out.

A couple of miles down the road, we saw a group of about ten people with backpacks walking along the road. I hope they don't encounter any grizzlies!

Next up, we stopped at a roadside attraction: "Rock Glacier." The turnout is across from Lake Dezadeash. Bob and I stopped here a couple of days ago on our way to Haines. We did the hike then, but I wanted to hike farther up the trail today. We let people in the caravan know about the hike. This was also where Bob and I ate our lunch.

Information about the trail.

Lake Dezadeash info.

Not to belabor the point, but...

The first part of the hike climbs slowly on boardwalks then switches to a trail with lots of roots. We passed a marker about this trail having been built by The Civilian Conservation Corps in 1978. It's a wonderful trail!

We then walked on another boardwalk which took us to rock, and then wooden stairs. That brought us out of the trees onto the rock glacier. This place is amazing, to say the least. Bob and I likened it to being near the end of a lava flow, only the end of this glacier is lots of rocks!

Joe, me, Joan, and Star at
Rock Glacier.

Hiking with friends. Tom, Kevin, Bob, 
Joan, and Pat.

Kevin, Tom, and Pat making their 
way up.

Joan on Rock Glacier with 
with Lake Dezadeash in the back.

Kevin and Tom.

Joan reading the interpretive sign.

This is as high as Bob and I went. The
interpretive sign here says you can go
on for hours. Nah, we're good for now.

Find "You are here" in this photo.
That's where we hiked to.

We didn't see or hear pika today.

Lake Dezadeash.

Bob on the rock steps of the trail.

The edge of the Rock Glacier and
the stairs we'll take down. 

On the stairs looking up at Bob and
the mountains.

I think this is Western monkshood
(Aconitum columbianum).

Western monkshood and fireweed.

For lunch, we had egg salad sandwiches and chips. Sunnie (our cat) also had his lunch, got lovies, and used the kitty box. Then, he went back to sleep in his box on our bed.

We continued on to Haines Junction, Yukon Territory. From Haines Junction, we turned north on Alaska Highway 1. Our destination tonight is Destruction Bay, Yukon Territory, Canada.

The scenery along Alaska Highway 1
north of Haines Junction, YT.

Kluane Lake, the largest lake in the
Yukon Territory. It goes on for many miles!

Kluane Lake.

Part of Kluane Lake is now a meadow.

We stopped at a Visitor Centre just south of Destruction Bay that has exhibits on Dall sheep and the First Nation peoples. By the time we arrived at the Visitor Centre, it was closed. An artist had a workshop set up in a room of the Visitor Centre. He invited us in to see his work. Very friendly chap. We did not see any Dall sheep.

Visitor Centre and a mountain to 
search for Dall sheep. None today.

A marble Dall sheep carving in 
the parking lot at the Visitor Centre.

Kluane Lake with mountains in the

We made it to our campground, which has electric hookups only. This morning, we had to make sure to fill our fresh water tank.

Tomorrow, we will have our worst road of the trip to Tok, Alaska. We are getting into the permafrost and it is melting. That means frost heaves and sinkholes. We have been warned to travel extremely slowly. This area is where people break their axles, bolts, shackles, you name it. Repairs can take weeks if the shops don't have the parts.

In the past few days, we have diligently watched for animals. Tomorrow, we will diligently watch for the extremely rough spots on the road!

TravelBug out.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Our Second Full Day on the Road with Alaska Excursion Caravan - Saturday, July 23, 2022

[Written on August 27, 2022.] 

There's a lot to see and do today. Our destination is Watson Lake, Yukon Territory, Canada. 

At the beginning of the day, we again drove through fields of canola and also hay. 


One of the stops we're excited about is for excellent cinnamon rolls at Tetsa River Outfitters. Major road construction is happening in that area, so we will have to turn off the road and leave the pilot car when we get to Tetsa River Outfitters. 

We will drive through Stone Mountain Provincial Park, Muncho Lake Provincial Park, and Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park as well. During our drive, we're hoping to see Stone Sheep along the road. But we will also watch for moose, bear, and bison!

Our first wildlife sighting was a pair of sandhill cranes. Then, we saw a moose! Bob spotted it on the opposite side of the road. I got my camera out as quick as I could, but the moose was quicker. Bob got a shot of his shoulders and backside. Oh, boy, now we're talking!

A moose disappearing into the brush.

The roads were smooth sailing for a while, but then we hit the road construction. Traffic was guided through by a pilot car. It wasn't our turn to go, so we turned off the engine to save fuel. When it was our turn to go, we turned off relatively quickly into Tetsa River Outfitters to buy our cinnamon rolls. 

The Alcan north of Fort Nelson.

Road construction.

Bob in front of Tetsa River Outfitters.

Barn Babe (Women).

Cowboy Outhouse (Men).

When we arrived to buy our cinnamon rolls, we were told we'd have to wait 1/2 hour. No problem, we're not in a big hurry. The owner said she was inundated with customers this morning and already sold out four trays. Another group came in, heard it was a 1/2-hour wait, got mad at her, and left. Wow! They were pretty nasty about it. The owner wasn't very happy with them. She makes all her cinnamon rolls from scratch and it takes 1/2 hour to cook them and let them cool enough to put frosting on them.

We already had one cinnamon roll. 
It was so good, we waited for one
to take with us for tomorrow!

Signs inside the bakery.

Beautiful sweaters for sale.

Local decor.

A caribou.

With reserve cinnamon rolls in hand, we waited in the driveway for a pilot car to come by in the direction we wanted to go. So many RVs were turning in Tetsa River Outfitters' first driveway, that we could easily pull out into the line from the second driveway.

We are now in northern British Columbia and coming up on the provincial parks mentioned above. The scenery is varied and stunning. I'm including a lot of it so you can enjoy it, too.

View from the bridge above.

A helicopter flew over this 
remote forest.

Entering Stone Mountain
Provincial Park.

Stone Mountain Provincial Park has awesome scenery and today was a gorgeous day to see it. You can see how sunny it is.

We wound through dramatic 
rocky mountain scenery.
We were supposed to look for sheep 
on the rocks, but we didn't see any.

A lot of highways in Canada and
Alaska follow rivers.

A beautiful stand of "trembling" 
aspen, as the Canadians call them.

Look at the vertical geologic
layering in that rock!

Below are two photos of Folded Mountain. Tectonic deformations have folded the limestone here.

Close-up of Folded Mountain.

Folded Mountain.

The Trout River flows into Muncho 

Muncho Lake Provincial Park showcases Muncho Lake which is 7.5 miles long. The mountains to the west of Muncho Lake are the Terminal Range, mountains on the east side are the Sentinel Ranges. 

The lake is known for its jade green water that is caused by copper oxides leaching from underneath the surrounding bedrock. Fish for lake trout, bull trout, Arctic grayling, and whitefish which are native to the area

This is the so-called Serengeti of North America. The area's fauna consists of eight species of ungulates: Stone sheep, mountain goats, bison, moose, elk, caribou, white-tailed and mule deer. Carnivores include wolves, coyotes, foxes, grizzly bears, black bears, lynx, and wolverines.

Muncho Lake.

An alluvial fan left over from a 
long-ago glacier.

Muncho Lake was very windy and
had white caps today.

Muncho Lake.

Another alluvial fan.

What are these?

Muncho Lake.

The bridge below is unique in that many of the materials used to build it in 1943 came from steel salvaged from the famous Tacoma Narrows Bridge. (The Tacoma Narrows Bridge--AKA "Galloping Gertie"--became famous when it collapsed in 1940 due to faulty engineering that fatally intensified the bridge's normal sway.) Using salvaged material for steel structures was common during wartime as a way to overcome shortages and reduce costs.

 Lower Liard River Bridge.

Liard River as seen from the Lower
Liard River Bridge.

Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park is our next point of interest.

One of our black bear sightings

Liard River overlook.

Before we left on our caravan vacation, part of the Alcan Highway washed out in heavy rains. You probably saw it on the news. They thought the Alcan would be closed for months, but they got a bypass open within a few days. Below are the photos of that part of the highway.

Our detour turn-off.

From here, you can see the huge 
gap where the road used to be.

The bypass is dirt with potholes.

The bypass.

Road construction is done. Now we're
in Yukon Territory.

We were supposed to camp at Liard River Hot Springs on the way north; however, the mosquitoes were so bad that we will now be stopping on our way back instead.

The sky was very pretty as we drove into Watson Lake, Yukon Territory. We also saw a mother bear and two tiny cubs. 

Pretty light and streaming sun.

Very unique and dramatic sky.

This could be high-level rain.

Enlarge this photo to see the
mama bear in the bushes and
 two small cubs in the grasses.

The sky was so interesting this 

When we arrived in Watson Lake, we were efficiently shown to our campsites. This is a gravel lot and we were packed in pretty tightly.

Our 5th wheel is on the end. The 
pick-up is parked at the site on the 
other side of us.

THE thing to see in Watson Lake is the Sign Post Forest. People from all over the world bring their own signs to put on posts. If you want, you can make your own sign at the Visitor Information Centre. We were able to walk to the Sign Post Forest from the RV park. Rain sprinkles fell on us as we explored the maze of signs.
The tradition began in 1942 during the Alaska Highway Project. When U.S. soldier Carl Lindley was in Watson Lake recovering from an injury, a commanding officer asked him to repair and erect directional signposts. As he completed the job, he added a sign with a direction and mileage to his hometown of Danville, Illinois. The trend caught on. At last count, there were about 90,000 signs! 

Bob A., Lynn and Bob Z.

Bob and I, and Bob Z.

This is a crazy place!

Bob and I did not walk directly back to the RV park because across the highway from the Sign Post Forest was a big building that said "Northern Lights Centre." That caught our attention so we had to go investigate. 

It was 7 pm on a Saturday night and we didn't think it would be open, but it was. What a find. We learned a whole lot about the northern lights. This information will come in handy later in the trip when we may get to see the Aurora Borealis.

The sign drew us across the street.

This is how many millions of 
miles the sun and planets 
are from earth.

This beautiful mural is on the grounds
of the Northern Lights Centre.

Inside the building is a lot of information on the Aurora borealis. We read all the info on the walls. They had a movie showing the northern lights, but there was a fee for that in addition to the admission. We decided not to do the movie.

Banners hanging in the vestibule.

Bob with his photo taken
by northern lights display.

Let's learn about the Aurora borealis.

When we finished reading the posters about the Northern Lights, it was still light outside. Bob really wanted to see the historic airport in Watson Lake, so we took a drive a few miles to see it. It was located right next to Watson Lake. 

The historic hangar.

We drove around the grounds, looked at the terminal and control tower, and then drove out to look at the lake. 

The terminal and control tower.

Watson Lake, Yukon Territory, Canada.

Old mechanical things, or art?

Another view of Watson Lake.

When we returned to the RV park, we walked across the street to see First Wye Lake Park. Bob wanted to show me where he had ridden his bicycle earlier today. There's a boardwalk that goes into a park. He rode to and then through the park. He did not make it all the way around the lake.

We couldn't see the lake from the
boardwalk because of too many tall 

Animals we saw today: sandhill cranes, one moose, two black bear and two tiny bear cubs (not in the same place), 40 bison, one ptarmigan, and two grizzly bears!

Finally, the end of this day and this blog. Good night, all.