Day 18, Meziadin Lake Provincial Park to Beaumont Provincial Park, British Columbia

Mileage 7493.7 km

On the morning of day 18, we awoke to a message from our son to call him. Now our son is never one to call unless it is important, so mom’s worrying was on high. There was no cell service at the park, but I had paid for a wifi connection the day before, so we had to use Facebook Messenger to try and contact our son. This was not an optimal connection, but enough to find out what had happened.

Before leaving for our trip, we had put together a number of bags of clothing that the son was supposed to drop off at the donation centre, in the meantime they were left on our front porch. Sometime during the night, a couple of teenage/young adult males had went through all the clothing, laying some of it on the railing. They tore down our Canadian Flag pole with the flag still attached, and took it with them when they left. One of them, dropped a cigarette on some newspaper flyers which had been thrown on our steps. This cigarette butt thus set the paper on fire, which set the steps on fire. How the entire house did not go up in flames, can only be attributed to the fact it had rained a lot and everything was pretty wet, either way, four out of our five porch steps were destroyed.

Now we have neighbours from hell, who are also not that smart. She and her husband had smelled smoke during the night, but decided we were having an illegal bonfire in our yard, and did not call the fire department, (weeks later when my husband and I returned home, I had quite the argument with her, as to why on earth she didn’t check where the smoke was coming from, especially since in the over fifteen years we have lived beside each other, we have never once had a bonfire in our yard! I was beyond upset, because the outcome could have been so much worse, if our house had gone up in flames with our son and his friend sleeping in the back upstairs bedrooms).

When our son woke up at 6:40 am to go to work, he immediately noticed the burnt porch steps. He phoned the police, who in turn called the fire department to assist in determining whether or not this was a case of arson. Sadly the culprits were never found.

It was around 9:30 am when we finally started travelling again. One thing we noticed in the interior of British Columbia was the lack of signage, so after driving for 2.5 kilometres, we were unsure if we were travelling south, so we turned around and went back a few kilometres, then turned around again, going back another few kilometres before we finally saw a sign – we had been driving the right way the first time. Oh what a morning we were having!

It was late in the day when we made it to Beaumont Provincial Park site #24. There was another Bear warning for the area, but he/she was more interested in the abundant supply of Saskatoon berries. Instead we could be concerned about the Western Thatch Ant, if you disturbed their nest which can be five to six feet wide or more, and as tall or taller than I (5’6”). The ant will bite you, if it feels threatened. Thankfully we somehow picked the only campsite that did not have a Western Thatch Ant nest, but did have plenty of Saskatoon berries! I filled as many Tupperware containers as I could of the berry which I found to be delicious.

Beaumont Provincial Park campsite
Beaumont Provincial Park, campsite #24.
Western Thatch Ant nest
Western Thatch Ant nest.
Western Thatch Ant newsletter
Western Thatch Ant warning.
Western Thatch Ant nest
Western Thatch Ant nest.
The lake at Beaumont Provincial Park.
The lake at Beaumont Provincial Park.
Another view of the lake at Beaumont Provincial Park.
Another view of the lake at Beaumont Provincial Park.

Day 14 Liard Hot Springs & off to the Yukon

Our starting mileage for the day was 5601 kilometres. Officially we had spent two weeks on the road. We had a couple destinations in mind, Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park, then Watson Lake Campground in the Yukon.

When we woke in the morning the temperature was only 7 Celsius, which is not what we were used to for the middle of July, but then again, we were in Northern British Columbia. As we headed back out to the highway to start our drive, the sun was shining bright, and by 10:20 a.m. the temperature had risen to 17 Celsius. On our drive, we saw quite a bit of wildlife, our bear count rose to eight, six black bears, and two brown bears.

Bighorn Sheep
Bighorn sheep Lamb
Reindeer
We happened upon a Reindeer taking a tinkle.
Two reindeers
Black Bear
Brown Bear

We arrived at Liard River Hot Springs around lunchtime, and our first thought, was we wished we had booked a campsite there! Sadly the campground was full, but we were still able to visit the hot spring. This hot spring was completely different from Miette Hot Springs, in that it is a natural spring. First you take a walk along a boardwalk through a boreal spruce forest before arriving at the spring which is also surrounded by the boreal forest. The water temperature ranges from 42 to 52 Celsius!

As you meander through the river, the leaves in the trees are rustling, there are birds fluttering around, singing to each other, and if you are lucky enough you may see a marmot sunning him/herself on the boardwalk, which we did!

Enjoying the hot spring at Liard River Hot Spring Provincial Park.
Enjoying the hot spring at Liard River Hot Spring Provincial Park. I was unable to enter the top of the hot spring, it was just far to hot for me.
The much cooler end of the hot spring.
The much cooler end of the hot spring.
A marmot
A marmot.

After swimming around in the hot spring, we were exhausted from the heat of the water, and smelled horribly of rotten eggs! The water does not have the most pleasant odor, but the heat makes up for it. We felt totally relaxed afterwards, and actually dreaded getting back in the car again, when we both just really needed a nap.

The drive to Watson Lake Territorial Campground, took us up through British Columbia, into the Yukon, back into British Columbia, then up to the Yukon again. Two different time zones along a very curvy stretch of highway.

Sign post forest Watson Lake, Yukon

We camped at site #29 at Watson Lake, the campsite was fabulous, but at the same time it felt like I was in the Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds with the extremely watchful ravens and grey jays encircling us. The ravens observed every move we made, until they were satisfied we were not a threat to them. It was weird.

As I walked around the camp, I met a couple from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a talented woodcarver from Whitehorse.

Campsite at Watson Lake Territorial Campground
Campsite at Watson Lake Territorial Campground

Next destination – Whitehorse, Yukon.

Going north and back over to Alberta Day 12

We left our campsite at Kerkeslin and headed north, crossing back over into Alberta, mileage 4327 kilometres. Our goal was Miette Hot Springs and Saskatoon Island Provincial Park just outside of Grande Prairie.

First stop was Athabasca Falls, and we were not disappointed.

  • Top of the Athabasca Falls
  • Athabasca Falls
  • View of the roadway crossing the Athabasca Falls
  • Athabasca river churning through the rocks
  • View of walkways over the Athabasca Falls
  • Stairs beside the Athabasca Falls
  • On the stairs Athabasca Falls
  • The Athabasca River before descending the falls
  • The Athabasca River at the bottom of the falls.
  • The rapidly moving Athabasca River below the falls

Back on the highway we saw a coyote, two mountain goats, and a Bighorn sheep that appeared to be entertaining us.

  • Bighorn sheep
  • Bighorn sheep
  • Bighorn sheep
  • Bighorn sheep
  • Bighorn sheep
  • Bighorn sheep
  • Bighorn sheep

Still on the Icefields Parkway, we stopped along the road with other tourists to take a dip in the Athabasca River, I did not go in very far because oh my was it ever cold!

Matt wading into Athabasca River
Matt wading into Athabasca River, I did tempt to go in a bit, but the water was ice cold!
Icefields Parkway towards Jasper
Icefields Parkway towards Jasper

Next stop was Miette Hot Springs, the water was absolutely wonderful, this I did spend some time in, with a view of the Fiddle River Valley.

Miette Hot Springs
Miette Hot Springs

Before reaching Saskatoon Island Provincial Park, we made a quick stop at the Toyota dealer to buy some radiator fluid, we needed a top up because of all the driving we had been doing. We reached the park before dinnertime, to see snowshoe hares everywhere. Maybe due to the abundance of Saskatoon berries, a quick favourite of mine. I picked a large Tupperware container full, and they lasted a couple of weeks for me, a delicious addition to my morning porridge.

We were at site #93, and after quickly setting up our tent, having a bite to eat, we asked about the beach. We were told not to swim in the water you would get the “itch”. Apparently no one has been able to go in the lake for years due to blue-green algae and an abundance of leeches.

Campsite at Saskatoon Island Provincial park, site 93
Saskatoon Island Provincial park, campsite 93