Monday, January 11, 2016

Alaska Highway - Watson Lake, Yukon

Travelling the Alaska Highway to Watson Lake, Yukon

Roadside Bison

One of the expectations of our travels north was the wildlife we would see.  So far, we had seen none so when we came upon the herd of bison on the side of the road, we were ready with the camera to get some photos.  There were two of them lying on the shoulder of the road and more resting or grazing in the grass.  

Relaxing herd of bison

I find it interesting that there technically is a difference between bison and buffalo, even though I have often read they are the same.  The two main buffalo species live only in Asia and Africa so we have bison in North America.  Both terms are used and buffalo is likely the most common.  These were very healthy looking female bison.  We later saw the male many miles down the road waiting for his invitation to mingle.

Liard River

The Liard River is a major river that runs through Yukon, BC and Northwest Territories.  It is 1115 km (693 mi) long and has this one 30 km (19 mi) stretch of rapids called the Grand Canyon of the Liard, which I believe we are seeing here.  We were stopped at this viewpoint when a senior couple from Florida stopped with their motorcycle on their way home from Anchorage….. and we thought we were adventuresome!

Black bear

We saw our first bear on our summer travels.  With the vastness of the country, it seems they don’t have the need to use the highways for their travels so we saw very few of them.

BC Yukon border

We were to see mileposts that were using miles while in the Yukon and Alaska and kilometer posts while on the Canadian portion of the Alaska Highway.  This monument marks the border between BC and the Yukon with the Historic Mile 585 post. 

Welcome to Yukon

This portion of the Alaska Highway will follow the border for a distance but we cross back and forth a couple of times before we are in Yukon to stay so we saw a few of these signs.  The forest fires were still a major force and we drove through a lot of smoke on these days, shown in this photo.

Sign Post Forest

Watson Lake, Yukon, also known as the Gateway to the Yukon is a small town of about 1500 people and has the notoriety of being the home of the Sign Post Forest.  We hadn’t heard of this before so we did not come prepared to put up a sign to mark our visit but there sure have been a lot of others who have.

Thousands of signs

There are several rows of posts with signs of all kinds.  There are license plates from every state and province I am sure, signs of different languages from other countries, family names with dates of their visit and even business signs.   

Baby Nugget RV Park

We stopped at Nugget City to stay in the Baby Nugget RV Park at Mile 650 (Km 1003) on this summer night.  We had warm temps and late daylight hours in this rustic park with power and water to enjoy the comforts of our RV.  ‘City’ may be misleading as it is not that, but it has a gift shop and other services as well as a restaurant called the “Wolf it Down” where we enjoyed a great dinner and visit with the owners.

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