As we continued up the Alaska Highway, things got more and more isolated – we saw less people and more wildlife.
Liard Hotsprings was our next planned stop, and we covered some major kilometers to get there. The hotsprings is just South of the border between British Columbia and Yukon Territory which was beautiful country.
On the road we came across caribou and bison (still no moose…), which were very cool. The caribou had pretty coats, and the bison were HUGE! Meridian kept thinking every single bison was a rock, usually it was actually a bison.
As we pulled into Liard Hotsprings, we were pretty stoked to see clear skies and a nearly empty park. We stayed there for three days relaxing, and enjoying some time off the road and in the soaking pools. To get to the springs you walk down some wooden board walks that alternate between frozen and thawed where the springs bubble up below it. This was supposedly a guaranteed moose sighting, but no. No moose. (It has turned into a running joke at this point that moose aren’t real, but simply a tourism ploy.) Anyway, the hotsprings were amazing and we met some interesting people while we were there. It was pretty darn cold at this point, so we enjoyed having big fires at night (and sometimes in the afternoon) to keep warm. We walked around the park area, soaked multiple times a day, made temporary friends, and watched out for the Northern Lights. After checking for the Northern Lights every hour after dark (we actually set alarms to get up and check throughout the night), we finally got a show! It was about 5am, and Paul noticed some crazy looking “clouds” in the sky – turns out it was the Northern Lights! We watched the show for a while in the cold until we were sure it was over. It was a beautiful and surreal display of natures beauty!
When the time came to leave the hotsprings, we were both excited to be heading to the Yukon. After Cici’s illness, we weren’t sure if we would make it this far North. The drive was amazing!
At this point, everything was frozen. We drove through lots of big open country and enjoyed sleeping in the silent wilderness.
After crossing over the Yukon border we stopped in the small town of Watson Lake, known for its “Sign Forest” with over 77,000 signs. It was a bit odd, but pretty cool at the same time.
Our next stop was Whitehorse. We ended up getting a hotel room to warm up, wash clothes, and check out the city of Whitehorse that holds a majority of the Yukon’s population and is the only city in the Yukon Territory. We checked out the Yukon Brewery, “Beer worth freezin’ for!” and other cutesy little things in the city.
At this point we had a big decision to make. To the North? Or not to the North? We went with no on that one, we had decided it was getting a little too cold at night (15 F) for Cici to keep us warm, and we were spending all our time scraping ice off the inside of the rig each morning. Although our stay in the Yukon was brief, we quite enjoyed the experience. We headed West toward Haines Junction with plans to head South from there to SE Alaska.
Haines Junction was a cute little town, so little that everything was closed on the Saturday before Halloween because everyone was tired and hungover – at least according to the woman at the gas station. We stayed a little ways out of town that night in a super cool spot. Although when we first parked, we discovered a bison head near by… We moved to a cooler spot (with no dead bison) after walking and exploring the area a little more.
Haines Junction has a highway leading into Haines, Alaska and is popular with bicycle riders in the summer. We were both blown away by the beauty of this highway. It rivaled the Icefields Parkway in terms of beauty (I imagine that the clear sunny day helped a little) and we hardly saw anyone on the highway. We stumbled upon a sweet little warming hut at the base of a glacier that was all set up to be an adventure home base.
After marveling at the beauty of the Haines Highway, we crossed the border back into the United States and into beautiful Haines, Alaska. The adventures continued and we made it to Alaska despite the many obstacles presented to us.