Day 12 – Dawson City to the Arctic Circle

I had some maintenance to do on the truck and Carl did some laundry in the morning.  I managed to get a bike ride in up to an old dredge, so that felt good and was about 18 miles.  We talked to some fellow travelers and then checked out of the hotel “without internet” and headed into town.  We found a nice grocery store, a bakery, some tourist shops and of course a Library. 

After several hours in town looking at the old buildings and interesting things, we headed off to the Dempster Highway.  This is a long, 600 mile road with few stops at takes us to Tuktoyatuk at the Arctic Ocean.  It will take us two days to get there.

We stopped at the Tombstone park visitor’s center on the way and they have some great visuals and extremely helpful staff.  The road was extremely nice for a dirt road and we made it to the Arctic Circle around 10 PM.  Still bright as day. However, winters is not done here and it was spitting rain and sleet. We grabbed our pictures and found a site hidden from the mythical Grizzly bears.  The tent provide a good shelter and was fairly warm.  It was COLD and froze overnight.

Day 11 – Morlin Lake to Dawson City

We woke to rain today and packed up in less than 15 minutes.  We had a shorter day of driving today since we were stopping in Dawson City and staying at a hotel.  Hopefully we will get better Internet at the hotel.  (Actually not at all).  Oh well.

We headed into Dawson City to see what was happening on a Monday night.  There were folks around and we managed to get a local map of where to go in the evenings. We made it to about 4 of the places before heading back to get some sleep.  We decided to take a look at the town in the morning. Did not get any significant pictures and upload is not working well. Will update galleries when we find a good internet connection.

Day 10, Prophet River to Morlin Lake.

It was a long day of driving.  We did close to 600 miles today from the camp at the Prophet River Airfield to just south of Teslin.  We packed up and refilled our water at a great little spring next to the camp.  Then he headed about an hour north to Fort Nelson where we stopped at the Visitor’s center to get some wifi, restrooms, coffee, and information.  Hanna and Bev were really helpful and told us that we had to stop up the road at a place to get smoked meats and the best cinnamon buns on the Alaska Highway.  They were not kidding.  We shared this HUGE tasty cinnamon bun and we would definitely recommend.

Hannah and Bev also told us to stop at the Liard Hot springs.  It was only $5 each and the springs were hot, warm, and amazing.  It’s been since last Sunday since we had a shower, so this fit the bill.  We soaked in the pools for about an hour and then had a quick lunch.  It’s not like we should recommend this place, but if you drive for 3 hours from Watson Lake and don’t stop, your loss.

We continued North intending to get as many miles in as possible.  We stopped at Watson Lake, which is where the Sing Post Forest is located.  We looked around, then headed to the visitor’s center for some more maps and info.  I took the Arizona MTNNOMAD license plate off the front of the truck and put a Mountain Nomad Enterprises sticker over the side and Carl’s Sevier Conditions on the back and then screwed it into a signpost.  I think they have more than 28,000 signs in the forest at this point.  

We quickly made some bag dinners and them continued on down the road a couple more hours before stopping at Morley Lake in a remote campground.  In 5 minutes Carl and I had our tents up and we were out of the mosquitos and headed to bed.  It’s 11:30 PM now and still as bight as it is at 8PM in Mesa.

Today we saw caribou, mountain goats (check out the cute babies), porcupines, more black bears, Moose, and many porcupines.   

This land up here is vast.  I cannot even begin to describe the distances between things, with nothing but beautiful forests and ranges to look at.  There are people on the road and a few in some settlements, but by and large, you will go 100-200 miles without seeing any homes or towns.  There are so many trees here it is impossible to imagine.  

I would put more pictures up, but Verizon in Canada, and most of the internet connections we get here, leaves a lot to be desired and so far all WiFi spots are sketchy at best. We’ll be in Alaska soon and hopefully I can catch up.

Day 9, Part 2 – Prophet River Airstrip

We finished up in Dawson Creek with the updates to the websites and maps and decided to stop in to a bar across the road from a Tim Hortons.  We met Shelby there.  She was a lot of fun and told us the place to go for fun in the evening was the Spike.  She warned us about a certain individual that frequents that place, but other than that it was fun.  We wanted to head a bit farther since it was only about 4 PM, so we stopped by a liquor store to stock on beer, and we met Lolanna, who recommended some nice rum.  I decided to purchase a bottle since I didn’t want to finish off our good Bourbon.

We continued another 2.5 hours farther along on the Alaskan Highway until we found a campground.  We looked at the site, but the office was closed and the site was really not worth $20 for the night.  We felt good and decided to head as far as we could get.  At about 10 PM we stopped at a remote wilderness site at Prophet Creek Airfield.  As we were pulling in, I said, “is that a bear?”… sure enough a black bear was eating grass and roots along the east Side of the road.  He didn’t care in the least for us so we took our picots and videos and headed to the airstrip.

This site was amazing.  It has multiple camping sites on a flat ground with fire rings.  We set up at the end and took a walk.  We could see two other bears farther down the airstrip.  

And LoLanna, your suggestion for the rum was amazing.  So smooth and so rich with a nice vanilla flavor. 

It was a clear night so I put back the rain fly and looked up at the sky, which is not dark even at midnight.   So cool and wild up here.  Woke up about 4AM and it was still light. The air is cool but not as cold as the past several nights in Alberta.

Day 9, Jasper to North of Dawson Creek somewhere.

It rained all night last night. We headed to bed about 8 and both slept until 6. Must have been the peaceful rain. We fixed coffee and were off on the trail by 7 am. Lots of signs today for caribou in the road, deer in the road, and more. We didn’t see any caribou but did see one moose, who scooted into the forest faster than we could record her, and multitudes of deer. One deer even decided to play chicken with us. A Canadian told us it is a sport for them up here.

We are doing a long marathon day with a couple of stops in Grand Prairie for gas at Costco and Walmart in Dawson Creek. We have enough food for about 10 days now so we will be ready for the trip north. We are planning on getting to Watson lake tonight and then to Dawson City tomorrow. We are making good time. Remember to check out to see our recorded positions along the way.

Day 8, Castle Mountain to Camp north of Jasper

We did a medium day of driving today from Castle Mountain in the Banff National park over several passes to Jasper National Park. It was cloudy on the first part of the trip but as the morning warmed (or we ascended above the clouds) the views were spectacular. Glacier National Park is good but this place is MASSIVE and has range after range.

Along the way, as the clouds cleared, we stopped to take some pictures. I noticed some fresh scat on the ground and asked Carl what it might be… about 10 seconds later he said Bear… as there were two black bears eating the grass about 50 feet from us. So I have gone from not seeing bears to having seen 5 so far. Pretty cool.

We stopped at Athabasca Glacier at the pass to look around. The visitor’s center was not impressive, but rather a large kiosk to get you on tours. So we decided to do a short hike. It was only about 30 minutes and unless we buy an ice climbing tour with cramp-ons, we got to look from about a quarter mile away. We figured we will get some other options for glaciers on our trip. The Athabasca glacier is only one of many at the edge of a huge ice field. It was impressive.

We stopped in Jasper to get some fuel and taste some local favorites; like the Jasper Brewery. The red ale was really good as was the special Dunkel. We decided to head across the street to a local place that had everything from biscuits and gravy to Greek Kabobs. Interesting.

We finished the night with a bit of 4×4 on some forest roads and found a campsite at an abandoned horse property. It was complete with an out-house that we decided not to try. If I can get the apple phone to play with me and get the photos uploaded to the cloud, I might be able to attach them.

Notice the Ice Cap on the top.

Day 7, Glacier NP to Castle Mountain

We crossed the border into canada and after the border agents unloading the whole truck and us having to reload it… just kidding. We crossed, had our passports stamped, and headed toward Banff NP. Turns out there was no one at the Banff gate, nor at the next state park gate so we just continued on. Its summer in the lower 48 states but still on the cusp of Spring here. It snowed about 4-6 inches at the Castle Mountain campground the night before we got there.

We had a little incident with the campground in that the site we were pointed to said reserved for June 6, and it being June 7, we paid for the spot. Turns out the form uses number of nights instead of real dates and we camped on a spot some Germans had already paid for. After some negotiating and some beers we moved the FJ to a side spot so they could get their RV in the camp and we all went to bed. Carl and I were up at 6 and gone by 7 on or way south.

Here are some pictures for the day.

Day 6, S Montana to Glacier NP

It was a driving day from the camp on the banks of the Yellowstone to Glacier National Park. The drive took us about 9 hours with stops. It is forecast to rain up here for the next couple of days so we will not spend much time in the park. Much of the road through the park is still closed anyway.

I have gone through what I am carrying and I am packaging up a few things and sending it back home. My cooking gear is pretty extensive and we are not cooking extravagantly so a frying pan, small pot, and Dutch oven will suffice.

We will be crossing over into Canada today. Google maps show we have another 2500 miles to Tuktoyatuk from this point. We have already traveled about 1500 miles with the detour through Salt Lake City.

Day 5. South Yellowstone to Montana

Today was dedicated to checking out Yellowstone. We headed north and of course stopped at Old Faithful. My favorite is the Lodge that is built from local logs. We hiked around the geysers for an hour of so before getting back on the road.

Buffalo chillin in the sun.

Along the way we managed to see quite a large number of bison, elk, some deer, and one bear. The bear was at quite a distance, but its easy to find them… A group of rangers are nearby to ensure no one does something that will get someone hurt. Along the way we found three sets of bear-rangers in the park.

There’s a bear in there
Nice bear track

We exited on the northwest corner in Montana and about 30 minutes up the road we are free-camping at Carbella Recreation Site. Fajitas for dinner and some huckleberry scones for desert (Cooked in the dutch oven).

Elk cow and calf

Day 4, Jackson to almost Yellowstone

Day 4

We started the day in Jackson, Wy and entered into the Grand Tetons National Park.  It is such an amazing and beautiful place.  We decided to do a hike to Hidden Falls at Jenny lake since I have not been able able hike that the past two times that I have been here. It was an easy 2.5 mile hike and the falls were raging from the run-off.  We continued north after the hike to a road Called grass hill road (Correction) because in the last time Kristina and I were here., we took that road to Idaho and I knew there was some free camping sites there.  Unfortunately the road was closed, and after looking at gong back to Grand Tetons and caping free in the National forest or moving on to Yellowstone, we decided to bite the bullet and pay for a campsite at (location). 

As we were waiting in line, we met a cool British guy named Neil that was biking across America.  Carl asked if he wanted to share a site and we agreed and so it all begins.  Neil is a ship builder…and when I mean ship, I mean luxury yacht.  It was an amazing night and we have not laughed so hard in a long time.  I am also grateful that Carl reached out and asked to share the $40 campsite because without that we would not have me Neil.

And I biked about 10 mile back into the wilderness.  My bike is so much a part of me and I enjoy riding… it was incredible getting back on the bike..  It is crammed in the back o the truck and I want a better storage solution, but in the end, it is with me, and I rode it in Wyoming today.  While in the ride  I saw an elk cow, a raccoon, an eagle, and a bunch of prairie dogs.  No bears or moose yet.

I am amazed with the amazing men I have come in contact with recently. Carl hiked the Appalachian Trail last year; never before camping or hiking and completed the 2400 mile trail in 5 months…. It is not something to take lightly.  And Neil here is on his second “Across America” bike tour.  It is so interesting to hear of other culture’s perceptions and interpretations.  Neil is well traveled and well connected and it floors me when I meet and travel with people like Carl and Neil.  Such a fun and enlightening evening.  

river pool at Grand Tetons NP