Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Long Day’s Journey into the Wild

Our rest day at the Walmart parking lot in Dawson Creek was cold, wet and windy, a perfect day to stay inside and get some things done. I went through my fridge and cooked up some meals for us to eat as we travel. There's something quite satisfying about pulling in to a lovely lunch spot and having a warm, homemade meal.

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Our selfie at Mile Zero in Dawson Creek.            Sunset after the rain. Even Walmart looked pretty!

Our next planned stop was Fort Nelson about 280 miles from Dawson Creek. Before we got on the road, we needed to fill up with diesel, empty holding tanks, take on fresh water and find a place to hook up Toadie. We had made a reconnaissance trip the day before to make sure we knew the ins and outs of the places we needed to go. We like to make sure Scoopy will easily fit and also determine when and where to hook up.

While we were taking care of those tasks, Bill and Kelly stopped by the visitors centre to check out the movie about the building of the Alaska Highway. Once they realized it was an hour long, they decided to stop in on their return to the US in the fall. So by 9:15 a.m. we were on our way.

It was a few miles beyond Fort St. John where just days ago a raging fire had shut down the Alaska Highway. Once it was reopened, pilot cars led travelers through thick smoke. What a difference a day of heavy rain makes! As we passed unaccompanied through the affected areas, the fire was reduced to a few smoldering piles. There was lots of blackened forests and a couple of structures that had burned, but we did not have to deal with flames or smoke. There was not a fire or emergency services truck in sight.

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Smoke was still smoldering as we passed the wildfire area.

With the exception of a couple of rough patches and construction areas, the highway to Fort Nelson was one of the best we had traveled. Nonetheless, 280 miles in a big rig on a two-lane highway that can best be described as "undulating", up and down, around the curve, over the mountain, over the river, around the bend, up and down...still takes time. We arrived in Fort Nelson just before 4:00 p.m. And by the way, in all of those 280 miles, despite multiple signs warning us to beware of wildlife on the road, we didn't see so much as a flippin' squirrel.

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Highway construction was light along the way.               We thought the moose on the sign was the all we’d see!

We pulled into the Visitors Centre hoping we could park there for the night, but we found several signs stating "No Overnight Parking". It's always such a bummer to see those signs! We went inside to talk to the folks hoping they would take pity on us since it's so early in the season, but we had no such luck. In the end, we decide to continue on to Muncho Lake Provincial Park, 120 miles down the road.

We assumed that 120 miles would just be more of the same, but it most assuredly was not. Just a few miles outside of Fort Nelson the road turned narrow, the vistas loomed larger and finally, the wildlife became more abundant. With multiple stops for photographs, it took us nearly four hours to reach Muncho Lake Provincial Park, making this our longest travel day yet. Along the way we saw five black bears, two moose, three porcupine, and one caribou. So, worth it!

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Our first sighting of a bear and a moose on the way to Muncho Lake!

We pulled into the MacDonald campground on the north side of Muncho Lake and couldn't believe our choice of sites! There are only 15 here, and all of them are right on the lake. We chose sites that provide an open sky for our solar panels, and with the least vegetation between our rigs and the lake. We drove Scoopy nose-in, while Bill & Kelly backed Queenie into her spot for the best view out their large back window. (Yes, I have named their rig Queenie. I couldn't help myself. She's a beautiful rig and she needed a name. :)

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MacDonald Campground at Muncho Lake. This is one of our all-time favorite places!

Today is our second day here and we're enjoying glorious sunshine. Our wildlife count has gone up sigificantly, but I'll let the photos do the talking. We are here for four days. Our only Internet connection is from the Northern Rockies Lodge less than a mile from us. Unfortunately, the Wifi is only for paying guests, so we had an expensive lunch in order to acquire the code. After this entry, I'll not be posting again until we get to Watson Lake on Friday, but I might have more than one post by then!

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The area is teeming with wildlife. Steven was lucky enough to see these cubs and a moose!

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Caribou are abundant around the campground.              A momma bison with her baby.

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Sunset and sunrise are equally beautiful on Lake Muncho.

See you from the Yukon!

15 comments:

  1. beautiful views and great animal photos!!! 'free wifi' from the lodge?..hope the lunch was tasty!!!

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    1. We finally found another place where we could get two cups of coffee and a cinnamon roll the size of your head for $8.50. Along with that came blazing WIFI. :)

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  2. Replies
    1. It is one of the pretties places we've been so far!

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  3. Awesome wildlife pictures! We are in Dawson Creek today for a day maybe two then to Fort Nelson then to Muncho where we are going to stay for a few days to do some fishing and kayaking.

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    1. The fisher folk at the campground we stayed in chose sites all the way at the end. They had their poles set up on the shore and basically sat in their lawn chairs all day. :)

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  4. Glad you're enjoying your time in Canada. It's a beautiful teip up there!

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    1. Yes, it is beautiful. Our stay at Muncho Lake Provincial Park was relaxing and very low-key.

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  5. A great spot for dinner in Whitehorse is the Klondike Rib and Salmon in downtown Whitehorse. The Halibut Fish and Chips is to die for. The McBride Museum is worth a visit also.

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    1. Today I indulged in that fine Canadian delicacy known as poutine. I love that stuff. :) Thanks for the tips!

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  6. That is a helluva long day of driving! Glad some of it rewarded you with great wildlife spottings! It also looks like you've had much of the trip with the road to yourselves. What an amazing camping site - those views are stunning. And I think Queenie is a delightful name :-))))

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    1. The further north you go, the less traffic. So far, the roads are fine. And isn't Queenie a cute name? The truck that pulls her is Copper. :) I know you'll get the reference!

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  7. You guys are certainly seeing way more wildlife than we did. We passed that area in July so maybe that's why. Awesome photos!

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    1. Would you believe we've stopped keeping count? At least a dozen black bears so far, a ton of caribou (might have been the same four just running back and forth...:) and a few moose. Stone sheep, yada, yada, yada. It's a great year for wildlife sightings!

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