Towards Whitehorse, the Yukon Day 15

Mileage 6008.5

When I was originally planning our journey to visit my Uncle in Chilliwack, British Columbia, both my husband and I, having never been to the Rockies decided we would drive through them first. Of course this was the opposite direction, and since we were driving quite a ways north, I felt we might as well go all the way to the Yukon.

We were all packed up and ready to hit the road by 8:51 a.m., but first we had something very important to do – make a phone call to our daughter who was turning 29. Luckily cell reception was quite good in Watson Lake, and we were able to phone Genevieve and sing Happy Birthday to her!

Still reeking of rotten eggs from Liard Hot Springs, (hot showers were not available for us at the hot springs, and Watson Lake did not offer such facilities), we started back on the road again. There were two different highways to Whitehorse, we could either stay on the Alaskan Highway, or at Jakes Corner take Tagish Road (highway 8), then go North on Highway 2 at Carcross, which would take us back to the Alaskan Highway into Whitehorse. We chose to take the Carcross route as recommended to us by one of the tourist information officers we spoke with when we first arrived in the Yukon.

Yukon Visitor Information Centre
Yukon Visitor Information Centre
Another highway, another moose
Another highway, another moose.

One of the things I couldn’t get over was the amount of sand in the Yukon. The drive takes you through the Carcoss Desert, and according to Wikipedia, “it is often considered the smallest desert in the world.” On the drive you will also see damage caused from forest fires, but also fireweed, the first flower to grow and bloom after a fire.

Fireweed
Fireweed.

The first thing we did when we arrived in Whitehorse, was to look for a hotel to spend the night in, what we didn’t realize though, is most of them were booked solid with tourists. Luckily we were able to find in room at the Westmark Hotel, where we quickly took showers! No longer reeking of rotten eggs, we went out to explore the city, and find a place to have dinner.

For dinner we decided to go to the World Famous Klondike Rib and Salmon. For my menu choice, I selected the Wild Elk Stroganoff – wild elk, potatoes, pearl onions, mushrooms, and gravy served in a cast iron pan. It was the most delicious meal! Matt had the George Chuvalo spread, comprising of fettuccine, chorizo sausage, and vegetables.

Both exhausted from another long day of travel, off to bed we went, first closing the blackout curtains. I woke at 2 a.m, noticing the sunlight creeping in beside the edges of the curtains. The sun had yet to go down, and it still looked like the middle of the afternoon. I don’t think I could get used to the number of hours of sunlight for half the year, and the lack of sunlight for the other half. Being from southern Ontario, it was truly weird to experience the hours of daylight in the north.

Matt with replica of a lifesize moose
Matt being cheeky.
Totem Pole in Whitehorse
Totem Pole in Whitehorse
Yukon River
Yukon River.
Boardwalk along the Yukon river in Whitehorse
Boardwalk along the Yukon river in Whitehorse. It was a very cloudy day, and as you can tell by my hair quite windy.
Mother Bear and her cub
As we were leaving Whitehorse, we were graced with a sighting of a mother bear and her cub.

Towards Alberta, more prairies, then the badlands Day 8

After foraging for Saskatoon berries to add to my morning porridge, we packed everything up again, and started our travels towards Alberta at 8:47 a.m. – destination Dinosaur Provincial Park, mileage 2510 kilometres. 

Before driving off to Alberta, we stopped at the Tourist Information in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.Welcome to Moose Jaw signn

The World’s Tallest Moose at the tourism office in Moose Jaw.

Moose Jaw Moose with Matt
World’s Tallest Moose

While in the tourist information centre, Matt met a couple who were carrying their pet parrot in a cat carrier case, they wanted to know the temperature for the day. They were concerned it would be too hot for the parrot. We thought this a bit odd since they were travelling in a trailer which most likely had a working air conditioner. The excitement for the morning.

Driving towards Alberta, the landscape of the prairies started to change. Instead of the beautiful canola, large white deposits were seen covering the ground – Potash.

Potash along side of highway
Potash covering the ground.

As we got closer to Dinosaur Provincial Park, the landscape changed drastically. We had entered what is known as “the badlands“. You can read more about the Canadian Badlands on National Geographic. We reached Dinosaur Provincial Park at 3 p.m. on July 8th, kilometres driven 3403. We had an electrical site, site #75 with an unbelievable view, but not one tree for us. We were pretty exhausted after our day of sightseeing, driving, setting up the tent, cooking dinner, but we naturally found the energy for a walk before bedtime.

Our campsite #75
Our campsite, #75, Matt tried to attach our two umbrellas to the roof of the SUV for some shade. By mid-afternoon the shade from the tree across the road, had a

Waking up in Dinosaur Provincial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site is like stepping back in time. Our alarm clock in the morning were the sounds of howling coyotes. The morning was spent walking as many of the trails possible before the heat really set in.

I don’t even know how to describe the landscape, it was just so different from anything I seen in Canada, having travelled much of the east coast, Ontario, and Manitoba. As we puttered around our campsite, and walked the trails we were warned to be on the look out for rattlesnakes, black window spiders, sinkholes, and oh scorpions! Sadly the only wildlife we did see were plenty of birds, and one deer.

Landscape Dinosaur PP
Dinosaur Provincial Park
Can you spot me?
One of the trails in Dinosaur PP
One of the many trails, where in certain spots there are wooden bridges to walk on.
Matt in Dinosaur Provincial Park
Matt hiked this trail early evening, it was a long trail to reach the top, and I decided to stay at camp knowing it would have been too long of a hike for myself. He sent me a text when he reached the top so I could snap this photo.
Another view of the landscape
Another view of the landscape. We had hiked down to the river, but we were unable to go for a swim in it, due to cow patties, apparently there were cows grazing upstream polluting the water. We were very, very tempted though considering the heat.
A cottonwood tree
The Cottonwood tree quickly became a favourite of mine with such distinctive bark.
Dinosaur bones
Dinosaur bones in the museum.
Doe in Dinosaur PP
One stunning doe!
A picture of a magpie
Our first Magpie. They were all over our site, and others, they seemed to enjoy picking out the dead insects in the grill of vehicles.
Magpie in flight.
Magpie in flight.
The Badlands Alberta
The Badlands.

On the day we were to leave for Calgary, Matt drove up to the camp office to purchase some ice for our cooler, only to have some old guy say to him “you know there is a shovel on your roof?” Matt’s reply “Again!”

Onward to Manitoba Day 5

Our destination for day five was West Hawk Lake Campground in Whiteshell Provincial Park, Manitoba. The fascinating thing about West Hawk Lake is it was created from a meteor impact. This was of course, a lake, my husband definitely had to go for swim in!

After leaving Quetico Provincial Park we continued on highway 11, where we saw our first brown bear crossing the road just outside of Fort Frances, plus a moose sauntering across, and then a bald eagle.

For lunch we decided to stop at Nestor Falls, and what a treat that was! Pelicans everywhere in the water!Pelicans Nestor Falls Nestor FallsBack on the road again, we reached our destination in no time at all. The campground was not what we were accustomed too, everywhere we looked there were large trucks, RV’s, and little to no trees. Thankfully at the very back of the campground there was a small forest for us to set up the tent. We were amazed that there was a deer. West Hawk Lake campground Deer at West Hawk Lake
Tomorrow Winnipeg, Manitoba.