Day 5 on the Alaska Highway for us was also our seventh driving day since we entered Canada two weeks ago. It has already been an amazing trip and we were headed for another well-known place, Watson Lake, home of the World Famous Signpost Forest.
Road Name (s): B.C. Highway 97 to Yukon Highway 1
Road Type: 2-lane
Road Conditions: Excellent
Miles Today: 135
Miles driven from Canadian border: 1341
Miles on the Alaska Highway: 613
Driving Time: 2:45
This continues to be a very scenic area of the highway. The Liard River flows alongside the road for a long ways, at times visible, others hidden behind forest. There are also views of wetland areas and tributaries of the river. The forest and the mountains complete the views.
The road shifted to the west and crossed the border to the Yukon Territory, then straddled the border between the Yukon Territory and British Columbia for a while, crossing back and forth. At times we glimpsed the Rockies in the distance.
This one cute fellow had is face buried in the dandelions and was stuffing himself.
Tip of the day: We knew that the long days in the north would require us to darken our windows, but were surprised at how soon in the trip we had to do it. Pretty much once we crossed back into Pacific time, the sun was rising so early, we had to take care of darkening the windows. In our case, we used a cut up tarp – material we already had, but there are many more elegant solutions to this – purchase your material ahead of reaching the highway.
The highway continues for miles of absolute untouched wilderness, and then every once in a while, seems like 50 to 70 miles apart, a roadhouse appears. These roadhouses first opened to provide services to the workers here, and today roadhouses continue to provide services to all of the travelers on the road.
The usual set up is a combination of hotel, gas station with ancient pumps, and restaurant, and sometimes a campground thus providing the basic necessities for travelers. We are most thankful for them.
Other than the highway itself, these roadhouses are the only manmade structures we saw on today’s drive. We also passed historic milepost 588, Contact Creek, the site where soldiers from the 35th Regiment from the South and the 340th Regiment from the North met and completed the Southern sector of the Alaska Highway.
Finally, we crossed fully over into the Yukon Territory, leaving beautiful British Columbia behind. This is the first Canadian Territory that we visit, after having visited six Canadian provinces. Next we arrived at Watson Lake.
The Watson Lake Visitor Center staff are some of the best we have encountered, they are extremely knowledgeable and they provide great resources and information on the Yukon Territory. We highly recommend taking time to speak with the staff there.
We loaded up with information and headed for the Downtown Campground, basically a gravel parking lot. But it has a laundry, WiFi and hookups, all of which we took advantage of, so it was a worthwhile stop for the night. We then stopped in at the medium sized grocery store for a few staples and called it a night. It was very important to get a good night’s sleep and gather energy to create our sign for the signpost forest in the morning.