British Columbia. You are now entering the world famous Alaska Highway! Yes indeed, we have crossed out of Alberta (which was unbelievable), and entered northern British Columbia (BC) just south of Dawson Creek.
Now keep in mind that while I title this post British Columbia, that is inherently unfair to British Columbia because we have barely tasted its beauty. We have so little knowledge of BC, yet all we have seen so far has been gorgeous. Editorial note: New, imaginative and descriptive superlatives left me about a thousand miles ago.
We crossed a minor segment of this province by following Route 43/2/97 from Dawson Creek (BC) to Watson Lake in the Yukon, most of which was paved.
While I don’t have pictures to demonstrate, the energy and forestry industries have a huge economic impact on the areas near and around Dawson City as well as many areas in Alberta. You see enormous trucks carrying various petroleum products, there are pipelines for gas and oil (all of which need to be maintained and serviced), and of course there are thousands (probably millions) of acres devoted to logging and the wood product industries. This is big business here. And because of the cyclic nature of energy and logging, you will find portable “hotels” for those workers.
We spent a night in Grand Prairie, AB (thank you Wal-Mart!) before leaving and very quickly entering British Columbia, first notable location being Dawson Creek, where the Alaska Highway begins.
Now the “bible” for travelers taking the Alaska Highway is The Milepost, which is an interesting name for a book that describes a journey through metric-centric Canada. I guess The Kilometerpost was hard to say. Did I mention, there are no “mile posts” along the way to indicate your position? If you do not reset your trip odometer at the beginning of the Alaska Highway you are forever misguided or lost. Well, not lost. Remember, there is after all, only one road. But you may still be misguided. Can’t help you there. Sorry.
So why call them mileposts? Well, I won’t insult your intelligence with a poor excuse of a history lesson, but in the 1940’s the US Army Corps of Engineers erected mileposts at their camps while building this road. Presumably this was in case the workers went into town and got snookered up they could give Uber a destination home.
The Alaska Highway is a two-lane road (yes, it is paved) with very little traffic, less even so after you make it north of the energy trucking traffic. But all of it is beautiful and interesting. And remote. If you don’t have an oversized fuel tank, get one.
But really, the main story here (hard for you to tell so far?) is the beauty here! Let me tell you, if we stopped to ogle and take pictures at every beautiful sight, we would never get to Alaska.
And the wildlife. We have probably seen more wildlife in the last few days than we have seen in our lives to date.
While we are staying in a private campground tonight, the previous night we spent at a trailhead (Teetering Rock Trail) parking lot. We were the only ones there – had the place to ourselves. Nice!!
And the sights. We drove by Muncho Lake where we would love to go back and do a little paddling (it was a bit cool and rainy).
And you can’t make this stuff up: buffaloes (technically Wood Bison) along the side of the road.
Our last encounter was this afternoon. Up ahead we could see a bicyclist stopped and off to the right side of the road, while on the left side of the road was this aggressive looking black bear. Now, these bears are intimidating and for good reason. The bicyclist was stopped so as to not appear to be running and provoke the bear to chase him. As we approached, we put the truck and trailer between the bear and the bicyclist so the bicyclist could get by safely. He was extremely appreciative, and I suspect he may have ridden down the road a bit and changed his shorts. I would have had to. Anyway, this was the bear.
We will see what tomorrow brings, but we have just entered the Yukon!