Dawson Creek to brilliant Haines Alaska

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Flag of United States  , Alaska
Friday, July 13, 2012

From Dawson Creek we traveled on the famous Alcan Highway  over Summit Pass in the Northern Rockies, at 4250 feet, it is the highest point.   The Alaska Highway was constructed during World War II to connect the  U.S. to Alaska through Canada. It begins in Dawson Creek, British Columbia and runs to Delta Junction, Alaska.  It was completed in 1942 at a length of approximately 2,700 kilometres (1,700 mi) but is shorter now, due to constant reconstruction of the highway, which has rerouted and straightened out numerous sections.  The roads are not too bad, considering the continual  maintenance required, due to the winter ice and snow that creates havoc with them.   

We stayed overnight in a truckstop 50 kms out of Fort Watson & a few other RV's & trucks 
were 'free parking' as well.Driving through British Columbia was so beautiful with snow capped mountains, lakes & the sides of the road mowed to perfection, which made it easier to see the wildlife. We saw a dramatic change when we drove over the border to Yukon Territory, as the verges were left untamed, but there were a lot of colored wild flowers either side of the road. Muncho lake, looked spectacular, the jade green color is attributed to the presence of copper oxide leached from the bedrock underneath. It's deepest part is 223 meters (732 ft).  

The Sign Post Forest, in Watson Lake was started in 1942 by a homesick U.S. Army G.I. working on the Alaska Highway, who put up a sign with the name of his home town and the distance. The tradition continues today & there are more than 76,000 signs of various types, depicting locations across the world.   We added one, with Boofie & Dummar & all our little grandchildren's names.   

We stayed overnight at a national park in Watson Lake, $12/night, Mike got a fire going while I prepared a meal, we sat by the fire, surrounded by trees, someone in the next site playing his guitar.  Very nice. It doesn't get completely dark here, even at midnight it is still twilight.  We went out around 10:30pm to the lake & the sun was still shining. We are constantly amazed
at the amount of daylight hours.  During July, Alaska has an average of 20 hours of sunlight.  

Whitehorse is quite a good size town & we stayed here for 3 days.  Across from us were 3
couples about our age, traveling on 3 wheel motor bikes, with little trailers  & tents, which would be fun, if it didn't rain!   A bear trap was set up near the park.  After taking photos, we were stopped by the ranger to ask if we had been tampering with it. Apparently a black bear had been making a nuisance of himself, & they wanted to catch him so had a dead beaver hanging up in the trap & empty tins of salmon etc. (the trap was still empty in the morning) 

Due to roadworks, the van became absolutely covered in dust & bugs, while the poor
little car had dust all through it as well. We gave the car a quick clean & wiped all the surfaces inside, but decided to wait till we got to Haines to give them both a decent wash.  

We enjoyed lunch in the Village Bakery at Haines Junction.  Mike had a bison hotdog!! (they also sold Elk hotdogs!) This was the furtherest point north on our trip, from here we headed south to Haines & came to more roadworks.  Mike wanted to see if the car became filled with dust again,  SO......He came up with a great idea!!  I had to go back, get in the car, coffee in hand, & for the next 10 kms on a dirt road , I sat in there, talking to him on the walkie talkie. 
Quite funny!  I just had to lay low each time someone came past, as it may have looked a bit strange seeing someone sitting in a tow car!!  A little bit of dust came in, but not too much. (I think Mike may have not shut the back door properly before, and that is why the car had become so dirty!!)  Eventually I was allowed to get back in the RV, which was so nice of him!!!  I was a bit worried he may have enjoyed the quietness in the van, and left me in the car!!   

We came to the border, between Canada & USA, and were asked the usual questions..... We then had to go inside to have passports stamped, thumb & finger prints were taken, once again they were very friendly.  So we have now come back into the US.

We finally arrived in Haines, having driven 1512 kms (1000 miles) since Dawson Creek.  The
first thing we did was to go to the RV cleaning booth & spent about over an  hour & $25 cleaning both van & car which were FILTHY!  We got soaked, but they looked sooo much better once we had finished. The van is particularly difficult, being so high, so Mike scrubbed with the broom, while I sprayed the water.   
 
We have had a fantastic week seeing grizzly bears.  One was in the river quite near some people fishing.  It kept watching them, as one of the people had a fish, it then started to head towards them, so they all walked calmly & quickly out of the water & stood with us.  Perhaps they could sense that Mike was an accomplished Bear wrestler with special tactical skills that were finely tuned to deal with any Grizzly attacks...... (I am sure that is what he thinks!!) We
then saw 2 bears about 2 years old, eating grass by the river.  Apparently they were triplets but the other one had been shot.  The mother has kicked them out already to be on their own now. 
The next afternoon they were on the side of the road & walked right in front of our car.  We were like two little kids, SOOO excited!  UNREAL!  Just loved it. They look so nice, but could rip us to pieces if we got close.  The amazing thing is, that it would be so easy just to accidentally come across one as when they lay down in the long grass, you can't even see them, till suddenly up pops a head!  We also had one walk across the bridge coming straight towards us.  We jumped into the car, Mike was filming, the window was down & the keys in his  pocket!!  Funny! Another young bear ran down the road in front of the car, then dived into the bushes on the side of the road, to get away.  

To date, we have seen a lot of wildlife, including  Moose, Bison, a lynx, Caribou, Stone sheep,
elk, deer, wolf, fox, Black & Grizzly bears, a porcupine & an otter swimming in the river


We visited the Hammer museum with over 1500 hammers on display. (sounds exciting, hey!)  The oldest one, a rock, apparently used on the pyramids in Giza, Egypt.  There are only 2 of these museums in the world, and it actually was very interesting.

July 4th was Independence Day, so there was a parade in Haines, also a cruise ship had docked, so it was rather busy.  We watched the mud volley ball, then wandered down to the park where children's activities were happening, & bbq's, food  & craft stalls.  At night we went out at 11pm, to watch a small firework display, which was difficult to get excited about, considering it wasn't real dark.

Mike enjoyed meeting some of the camera men who film 'Deadliest Catch' & 'Man vs Wild, starring Bear Grylls',  also the manager of Deadliest Catch.  These are documentary shows shown on the Discovery Channel.  

We met a nice couple & Mike who loves to embellish things, told them I was a concert pianist!!! 
Ha! ....They came round to the van, & asked  if I would like to play a grand piano,  I was embarrassed & before I could say anything, Mike replied....'She would love to'!............ Their daughter, Shannon, had the key to the Presbyterian church,  so it was all arranged, for us to go to the Church and play the piano. 

Naomi, 11 years old, their granddaughter also came  & she is amazing & plays the piano so
well!!!     I had a wonderful time playing Yanni, march of the dwarfs, & hymns, including The Holy City & other pieces.

The museum in Haines is fascinating, having many different animals that are found in Alaska. There are a number of birds, including a bald eagle, owl, & raptor that have been injured & can no longer fly.  The bird handlers, including an 11 year old girl who had the owl on her arm, were very knowledgeable  & discussed with us the way these birds survive & interact with those looking after them.   

Anyway, I think that's enough from me, Bye for now, thanks for reading the blog, and we LOVE reading your comments ...keep safe and well,  God bless....Miss you all. 

Next blog, Adventures on the 'Marine Highway' - taking the RV on a series of
ferries, down the fiords to Juneau, Petersburg, Ketchikan & Prince Rupert.
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Comments

Mum on

I had a slideshow and they were so lovely and interesting loved the HEATHER sign the background scenery was so glorious in the photos it was great.

Kerri Jones on

I can relate to your excitement about seeing a bear. When we saw one through a SCOPE in Yellowstone, I was just like a little kid so I am so jealous that you got to see one so close. Loving your trip, we were getting ready to go a year ago so the memories are flooding back.

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