It stopped raining by the morning, but there are some heavy clouds. We made a quick coffee and tea and hit the road. We stopped for a short walk at Rancheria Falls. It was nice, along a boardwalk, but we’ve been jaded with the beautiful waterfalls of Colorado.
We stopped at Watson Lake and it’s famous “Sign Post Forest“. In 1942, a US soldier working on the Alaskan Highway was recovering from an injury in Watson Lake. He was given the duty to repair a sign post listing the distances to a few local places, including New York, Chicago and Tokyo. After he repaired the signs, he added a sign to his own hometown, Danville, IL. This started a trend and as of 2004, they have over 54,000 signs put up by individuals from all over the world.
We finally saw some wildlife. We were warned about free range herds of animals along this particular stretch of road. We hadn’t seen anything for hundreds of miles and we came over a hill near Fireside, BC and saw a herd of maybe 50 buffalo on the side of the road, just grazing.
We took a short hike at a mineral overlook. This area overlooks an portion of a river milky with mineral rich glacial flour. As glaciers flow slowly along, the rocks in the valley are ground to a fine powder. As the ice melts, this powder, or glacial flour, is suspended in rivers and streams, giving it an odd milky appearance. The animals need the calcium, magnesium and other minerals. They gather along these mineral rich streams and lick the deposits off the rocks. Although it was a nice walk, we didn’t see any animals here. We talked with some folks on the trail from Ontario, who said they had seen lots of animals, most further south than where we were.
We gassed up at the next spot, paying $1.39 per liter, or $5.02 per gallon. Ouch! We drove further and saw our first caribou. It crossed the road and just looked at us. We shot several photos and moved on. Soon, we rounded a corner and nearly hit about a dozen Stone sheep. in the road. We stopped and took photos, turned around, went back and took some more photos. They just stood there, 10 feet off the road, posing. They finally moved on and so did we.
We saw another caribou and a deer on the side of the road. We finally saw some wildlife!! Now, if we can only see a moose and a bear (from a safe distance, of course!). The Milepost told us of a closed campground. We stopped there and found 2 other vehicles there. We picked a spot away from them and cooked dinner. We didn’t want to camp here, so we kept driving for about another hour. We found another camp spot up the road (there are LOTS of them out here!).
We’ve been without cell service for several days now. Andrew just quipped, “Thank God there are places free from cell phones”. And then he said, “We have to find a phone tomorrow”. We have been in contact with his mother every few days, for safety’s sake. We have no cell service in Canada (without buying a Canadian phone with service), so we have a phone card we’ve used to check in by payphone. We will le traveling thru Canada for a total of six or more days before we hit Montana. We plan to stop at Jasper, Banff and Lake Louise National Parks before we reach Montana and Glacier National Park.
The rain and the isolation are getting to us both. The scenery is beautiful, but every view is exquisite rolling hills, covered in spruce, pine and aspens with a lovely lake at the bottom of the valley. Beautiful, but after several days, even exquisite beauty gets old.