Northern Rockies Lodge to Whitehorse
It’s Day 10. We were promised moose. And yet, there is still no moose. We Want The Moose!
This was basically a repeat of the previous day, but with better weather and consistently good scenery. We set out from the Lodge in a loose pack and drove about 40 minutes to the Liard Hot Springs. On the way, we passed some roadside bison, but they sucked at hide and seek, so we knew they were inferior to the Yellowstone specimens of the week prior. We stopped to take a picture and Paul wisely decided to get off his bike and walk closer to the buffalo, you know…for science. He got off a pic or two before the bison seemed to notice that he was nearly close enough to nibble on, right about the same time that Paul noticed the same thing. Next thing I know Paul’s sprinting back to his bike like it’s an event in the Geriatric Olympics and we’re back on the road.
Next stop, Liard. It’s a public “provincial” park run by the British Columbia government. Entry is $5, and there’s a nice campground on-site, too. There’s a boardwalk that runs through a moose-infested swamp for about a 10 minute walk to the springs. (Nary a moose to be found. They are known to be masters of disguise, however, so it’s entirely possible that we passed right by an entire herd without noticing.)
At the spring there’s a lovely changing facility and a well-developed semi-natural pool around the spring. I gamely stepped in on the “hot” end of the pool and instantly regretted my decision as my feet began to glow lobster red. I bravely retreated and opted to start at the middle entrance. Heaven. This place set a very high bar for hot springs, and it was a public operation! After about an hour, the group of us hiked back out (still no moose) and hit the road. We then leapfrogged each other all the way to Whitehorse, checking in at gas stops along the way.
There’s a Signpost Forest at a small village called Watson Lake. Let’s just say that it was far larger than I’d imagined. Row after row of posts filled with signs. Street signs, city limits signs, handmade signs. On and on and on. I found a few relevant to me, but no Ukiah or Redlands, unfortunately. That was the last we saw of Top Gun/Hun, as they stayed in an overpriced Days Inn in Whitehorse, then split off to go to his new posting in Anchorage. Kim went to a campsite in town, and Paul and I went off to dinner at a place called Ribs and Salmon. It served…ribs and salmon. Both were tasty, but the townies seemed to think it was the best thing they’d ever eaten. It made me suspect that the choices in Whitehorse were both limited and basic. There were no moose spotted on the way to Whitehorse, and none were seen inside the restaurant.
Over dinner we found a local B&B-type place for cheap, possibly because it was about 15 miles back the way we’d come. Meh, what’s 15 more miles after nearly 4,000? Of course, the wi-fi was terrible and there was no cell service to speak of, so it was a relatively early night.
The temperature on the ride was consistently in the mid-to-high 60’s (after the morning mist burned off). The road was smooth and flowed through the landscape, meandering back and forth across the BC/Yukon territory border. In spite of the fact that we passed 3 or 4 legitimate “Yukon Territory” signs, somehow we stopped for some counterfeit, private “Welcome” sign. After that we refused to stop for a legit sign because, as Paul noted, we already had a picture with the best of the lot.
Starting Odometer: 35716
Daily Total: 495
Running Total: 3,658