© 2011 jemma

Last week of the RV adventure

Day 17 – Muncho Lake
Animal Count – Numerous Bison – plus baby bison, a Caribou and two black bears (big ones)

We had elected to stay one more night in Muncho Lake (means big lake) before heading off as it was just so beautiful. Jess spent the morning getting stared at by the workers in the lodge while working and I spent my time typing in the sunshine and walking on the shore. I think it was a bit lonely for both of us, but the place was essentially a rip off and wouldn’t have afforded the cost of actually paying for wireless outside.

After work, Jess and I drove the 40km to the Liard River hot springs. On the way we saw lots of woodland bison which like to eat and sleep on the road and the roadside. Let me just reiterate just how freaking huge these animals are. Jess and I were wondering about whether we would be more scared of meeting a bison bull or a bear in the forest. I voted for nether.

We also saw a couple of bears – one of which was 200m behind a car that had broken down. They said they weren’t worried…I would be! – and the other was at a rest stop, needless to say no resting done there.

The caribou was really cool. We had been worried we would never see one but there it was, one of Santa’s reindeer here in the Northern Rockies! We even turned the car round to get photos, so it promptly crossed the road – thanks Rudolf!

Now you sometimes see hot springs advertised and they look like your back yard swimming pool. These ones are actually real. All they have done is put in a deck and stairs that allows you to get into the pool and the river, and there is forest all around you.

We had read that there were two pools, the alpha and the beta pool however when we got there the highly praised beta pool was closed. Apparently someone got eaten by a bear up there…I’ll just let you think about that.

After this news the alpha pool was all we needed to get our heat on and we prepared to step into…the wrong pool. The pool we were going to go into was the hot hot hot pool where the spring actually comes out of the ground. No wonder my foot felt like it was burning off! So we took others advice and checked out the river section. This pool was a nice temp and although the whole thing smelt like rotten egg it was still relaxing.

We met people from Edmonton and Alaska and they gave us some helpful hints at things to do while we were there. The lady also warned me that my silver necklace would turn a funny colour. I shrugged this off as nonsense (actually it was more laziness as I was already in the pool) and yes my necklace went brown. It was easily fixed though by leaving it in coke and then washing it, all better now! That’s an old Girl Guide trick. 😉

From the pools we then went on a hike to the mineral licks near Muncho. I was expecting to see many a sheep dining out on the old minerals, except we saw nothing. The mineral licks were really cool though and made for great photos in the diming light – the sun actually sets after 10:30pm, it gets confusing. And the hike was a good one.

We got schnitzels that night for dinner; drank beer (1 each was all we could afford) and watched the Canucks make it to the next round of Stanley cup playoffs! What a night!

Day 18 – Muncho Lake to Nugget City (Watson Lake YT)
Animal Count – 4 Black bears, 1 lonesome baby bear, 4 large bison, lots of Stone Sheep, a caribou and a Robin eating a worm.

Today was pretty much a driving day. Except that today was the day that we would get to the Yukon Territory!!!!! Whooo Hooooo!!!!

We passed many an animal on the way up to the Yukon, and even passed over the Yukon/BC boarder 6 times, but the official crossing is Watson Lake. The best thing was that we finally go to see SHEEP!!! I hadn’t seen my sheep friends in a while and there they were, in the middle of the road licking off the salt. We also hadn’t seen stone sheep before, so that was cool.

We got to see a few places along the way including contact creek – where the US soldiers building the road from the north, met the US soldiers building the road from the south – a giant whirlpool, well couple of whirlpools in whirlpool canyon and then we passed into the Yukon.

Jess wanted a picture with the Yukon sign however the first one we got to wasn’t that good. I was thinking, really is this it? A crappy sign? Thankfully though there was a better one a few hours later. Also as soon as we crossed the border the bison seemed to get bigger!

We got to Watson Lake in the late afternoon and stopped at the signpost forest, a park filled with signs from all over the world. It was pretty cool, but we needed to get onto Nugget City, a large dusty RV park with a total of two RV’s in it – including ours.

Day 19 – Nugget City to Whitehorse!!!!
Animal Count – 2 Black bears, a proper awesome looking caribou and a red fox.
Final Km count – 5171km!

A decision was made the day before that we would drive the 6 remaining hours and get to Whitehorse a day early. Jess was incredibly excited about this prospect.

Anyway the drive from Nugget city to Whitehorse was a good one but a long one.

The first stop we made was at Ranchero falls. They were not long or large falls, just a lot of water falling over some rocks but there were two of them and they were both pretty nice. We met an elderly couple at the falls, which had a cute dog – a Portuguese water dog – which took up most of my attention. Jess thinks their faces are too much like people faces.

We saw many mountain ranges and snow capped mountains, beautiful valleys, reflective lakes, rivers and marshlands. It is a beautiful drive, considering I had no idea what the Yukon would look like and thought it would be some dry desolate place.

One of the places we stopped at along the way was a lookout over Swan Lake. It is a large pretty lake, but the best thing is that there is a pyramid mountain in the background which was once at the bottom of a volcano. It was really cool to see and the stop was made even better by seeing our second proper chipmunk which fat cheeks.

We reached the town of Teslin in the late afternoon which meant we were getting closer to our destination – only 200 or so km to go. Teslin was pretty, with a nice bridge over the river and the lake.

The roads today were ok, with only a few surprise road bumps. However just after Teslin we encountered a nice 8km stretch of dirt road which really made the toilet seat, pots and pans and glasses rattle. It is the worst thing going on a dirt road in a camper, like trying to drive your house on a bumpy unstable surface…i.e. not cool.

We reached Whitehorse in the early evening – which looks like lunchtime by the sunshine – and went for a drive through town and a visit to the canyon before heading to the RV park. So many people were hanging out at the canyon and we talked to some ladies canoeing down the Yukon River.

Then it was off to the RV Park where Jess worked till midnight and I fell asleep. 🙂

Day 20/21 – Chilling in Whitehorse

Today was our first full day in Whitehorse. Although Whitehorse is the capital of the Yukon it is pretty small. Even though it is pretty small, it is very pretty sitting next the Yukon River, surrounded by mountains and lots of paths, hikes and old buildings.

We spent our first day washing our RV – so satisfying getting all the dead bugs off- and then headed to Walmart and Canadian Tyre. So exciting I know! We then went to see the longest wooden fish ladder in the world and climbed a big sand hill to see a fantastic view of the dam.

The best part about all this was the climb back down the hill which consisted of almost dying and then the feeling of relief at reaching the bottom. If you hadn’t guessed we took a different route down.

That night we went for a jog and I made the last meal in the camper, a stir fry.

The next day we were up bright and early to take the camper back. We had officially done 5171 km – 771km over our limit – and we now didn’t have a car so we had to walk the hour back down into the city (of 27000 people, almost the whole population of the Yukon).

To celebrate we got Starbucks Iced Chocolates and planned our day of wandering around Whitehorse checking out the sights ranging from the visitor information centre which was quite good, to the SS Klondike a massive paddle steamer parked on the side of the river. We also saw these houses called log skyscrapers which were built to house the growing population of Whitehorse during the building of the railway and the gold rush.

The best part of the day though was riding on the trolley (an old tram) to the brewery. We were going to take a free tour of the brewery, so we walked the 15min from the last trolley stop to the brewery in the heat only to find that they do tours “daily” but that they only happen Monday to Friday. They also don’t sell food or beer on tap, so essentially we walked to a bottle shop that just happened to make its own beer.

Jess and I were pretty angry, hungry and HOT! So we walked back to the trolley and ate lunch at Earls and yes got Yukon beers to drink with lunch. It was good beer but they need to fix up their customer service at the brewery!

After that we wandered through the main street, looked in the shops – they sell mammoth tusk jewellery here cheap – and then found where our bus was leaving from the next day at 6am. It would be an early night in Whitehorse for us!
Thank god for the thick curtains!!