Off to Boya Lake Provincial Park, British Columbia, Day 16

Mileage 6500 km. Having spent our first night in a hotel, after camping for fifteen days, neither Matt nor I slept well. At home we sleep on a waterbed, and when camping we are on an air mattress, which is similar, so sleeping on a actual mattress is quite different. We found the bed far to hard, with both of us tossing and turning, plus I think we missed the fresh air, and the nighttime sounds.

Sandy cliffs in the Yukon.
Sandy cliffs in the Yukon.

Travelling back down through the Yukon, we chose to stay on highway 1 towards Upper Liard, where we then took highway 37 south, back into British Columbia. Cell service was choppy, then non-existent in the interior. I had told our adult children we would be out of contact for a few days, to stop them from worrying. Middle child is the worry-wort of the three, and we enjoyed listening to the messages she would leave on our phones, always starting with “Parents are you still alive?”

We saw three more bears on this drive, evidence of previous forest fires, and repaving of the road. At times the road was not paved, but just stone, making for a somewhat bumpy ride in some areas. The scenery was beautiful. At times, it was just a road which had been plowed through the middle of a forest.

We arrived at Boya Lake Provincial Park around dinnertime, site #37 with a gorgeous view of the lake. We nestled our tent within the trees, finding it easier to sink the tent pegs in dirt rather force them into stone. Once are tarps and tent were assembled, we decided to go for a walk (with our Bear spray in hand seeing that it was noted, when we entered the park, that a bear was roaming the area).

Driving into the interior of British Columbia
Driving into the interior of British Columbia.
The interior of Northern British Columbia
Just a road through the forest of Northern British Columbia.
Our tent nestled in the trees.
Our tent nestled in the trees.
View of our campsite at Boya Lake Provincial Park.
View of our campsite at Boya Lake Provincial Park.
View of the lake from our campsite.
View of the lake from our campsite.
The toilet at Boya Lake Provincial Park.
The toilet at Boya Lake Provincial Park.
Boya Lake.

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, β€œit 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.

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.