This is a continuation of our family trek from Fort Mill, South Carolina to Fairbanks, Alaska. For other parts in the series, click on the links below:
Day One (Part One) – South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee
Day One (Part Two) – Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri
Day Two – Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota
Day Three & Four – South Dakota (Mount Rushmore)
Day Five – South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana
Day Six & Seven – Montana, Alberta Canada
Day Eight – BRITISH COLUMBIA
We woke up early and ditched Dawson Creek, setting out for the first time on the famous Alaska Highway. Mileposts line the entire distance of the road from Dawson Creek to Delta Junction, Alaska, letting you know how far along you are. I had purchased a book earlier in the summer called, conveniently, “The Milepost”. This book literally tells you everything there is to see, everything to watch out for, and everything you might encounter along the highway. Me and Kristina took turns driving on this day as well and whenever I wasn’t driving, I had my face buried in that book. “Oh look, in two miles there will be a creek to our left … again!’
The first three hours or so of our journey were washed out by rain but by time we hit a little town called Fort Nelson, we were mostly in the clear. The Milepost warned us that the Alaska Highway would be rather uneventful for that first stretch but that beyond Fort Nelson, for the next 200 or so miles, we would be traversing the Rocky Mountains. We weren’t certain what to expect by that point. What a surprise we were in for.
I have said it a million times in these blogs but never have I meant it more than right here and right now: pictures and words do no justice to what we saw. I’m not being hyperbolic here. No exaggerations. The scope and density of the mountains that we passed through is simply indescribable. Pictures do not give you the context of the land around it or even your smallness. We did the best we could to capture all the sights but, honestly, we were so busy being in awe of it all that we didn’t want to spend the whole time with our faces behind cameras. See the video below for a nice compilation of the great Rocky Mountains.
Those were the bluest river waters I had ever seen (and if it weren’t for our trip to Half Moon Cay in the Caribbean, I would’ve suggested they were the bluest waters on Earth). Between the mountains, the valleys, and the stone sheep (Kristina was in love), we were visually exhausted. One can only take in so much splendor in a single day.
After four hours of winding mountain roads, we stopped at Liard River. There, we took a dip in a natural hot spring that smelled absolutely awful, mostly like rotted eggs. Despite the smell, it was pretty nice. It was mainly our family and dozens of geriatrics, but I guess if we are the loud ones then it is a pretty tranquil place. We had hoped to camp there for the evening, but the campgrounds were completely booked. So, what did we do? We ate some low-grade food at an establishment that I will not badmouth and then barreled forward until I got too tired to carry on. The sun wasn’t going to set until nearly midnight, anyway, by this latitude. All the time in the world!
Driving along I didn’t half expect to see anything but in the distance, there appeared a great object at the side of the road. As we approached, I finally recognized it for what it was: a bison! We were so stoked to finally see an animal other than a squirrel. Stopping to take a dozen pictures of the animal, we carried on, thinking the thrill was over. How wrong we were. Several bends later and we came upon an entire bison herd in the middle of the road! I couldn’t believe my eyes. Bison are slow and unstartled creatures, moving about at their own pace and seemingly undeterred by large vehicles. Below is a quick slideshow of these awesome creatures (or furry cows, however you see them).
Day Eight – YUKON TERRITORY
We crossed into the Yukon territory and made our way to Watson Lake, a small town where the hotel prices are highly inflated, knowing that tourists need a place to stay. I went to one particular hotel that appeared to be ran by a Russian guy who offered me a hotel room with hot tub for almost $200. I told him I would think about it and never came back, instead filling up on gas and driving onward into what would typically be ‘the night’ but really was an extremely prolonged sunset. The time was 10 PM but you would have thought it was no later than six.
I finally hit a brick wall of sleepiness and pulled over at a Canadian potty corral or whatever the heck they call it. It would be another night of sleeping in the car but we would have almost the entire next day all to ourselves.
Coming up: We stay overnight in a city called White Horse, eat sushi, and make plans to get back into the United States!