Day 5 on the Alaska Highway

Road to Watson008Day 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 to Watson031

Road to Watson034Day 5 driving recap:

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

Road to Watson001This 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.Road to Watson020

Road to Watson002The 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.

Road to Watson043Road to Watson046And this was another great day for wildlife. We saw lots and lots of wood bison. There were a couple of really massive ones. And a couple rolling around and taking vigorous “dirt baths”.Road to Watson048

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Road to Watson045Because of their dark color they are very hard to see at night.  Earning them the nickname “Yukon speedbumps”.Road to Watson019

Road to Watson041Road to Watson012Road to Watson015We saw our first cinnamon colored black bear on the highway – he was quite massive and beautiful.

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And we saw a couple of other black bears. The bears are especially cute amongst all of the dandelions by the side of the road, which they seem to love to eat.Road to Watson024

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This one cute fellow had is face buried in the dandelions and was stuffing himself.

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Road to Watson036Road to Watson037Hector caught a glimpse of a porcupine, but it quickly disappeared.

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.Road to Watson035Road to Watson016

Road to Watson042The 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.Road to Watson021

Road to Watson039Road to Watson023The 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.

I’ll never look at a restaurant named “roadhouse” the same way again.  Now we get it.Road to Watson040

Road to Watson055Other 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.Road to Watson057

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.Road to Watson056

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.Road to Watson058

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.

~ BrendaRoad to Watson030

12 thoughts on “Day 5 on the Alaska Highway

  1. You are following our footsteps,or should I say tire marks, by 2 weeks. Love the bear pics. We read the grizzlies especially like the Yukon dandelions but we haven’t seen any yet. Hope you do.

    • We may be catching up soon, we are in Whitehorse now and a couple of days behind on the blog! No grizzlies for us yet either – we heard that later in the season the bears go higher in search of berries. Hope we both get to see them.

  2. It was at Watson Lake that I had my first ever coin operated shower! and in Canadian too, that is if you are parking near the Sign post forest.
    I hope you came prepared and brought your own sign and find a spot.
    Wow and wow with the wildlife, those bears are really posing for you and the Bison as well.
    The Yukon T is another untouched beauty and wilderness.
    Im having a great time riding with you, it feel like our second time around but much better.

    • The bears were SO beautiful! I know what you mean, I love to read about the places we have been in other people’s blogs, it brings back such great memories. Are you going to be out West this winter?

  3. We were the second rv in at MacDonald campground when you were there. Dirty brown Allegro Bus and matching dirty jeep liberty. Never saw tou outside to say hi. In Skagway now, back to White Horse Wednesday. See you on the road.

    • Oh,hi! We drove by you several times! Wasn’t that just a great spot, we loved it. We’re in Whitehorse tonight, at the Walmart, and will be in Whitehorse at least one more night. Maybe we will catch you around here.
      Safe travels,
      Brenda

  4. Yukon Speedbumps — yikes!!!! Loved the dirt bath pictures and the one of the bear with the dandelion stem hanging out of his mouth, in particular! Rock on with Godspeed. xo

  5. Love those bison action shots and that cinnamon black bear. I hadn’t thought about the need to darken your windows. I will make note of that or I won’t be sleeping at all when we head to Alaska

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