Almost to the end of the Alcan Hwy, had to stop to become Walmart travellers.
Fort St John, British Columbia
We awoke this morning in our campground, it was an amazing place. You were parked near a raging torrent of water no guard rails or fences. We had a walk around and looked at the river that we could so easily have driven into. Said goodbye to the rabbits that were around finished taking our photos, we packed up and headed off to Liard Hot Springs www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/liard.html. Now on this short drive to the springs there were Bison on the road having a relaxing time looking disdainfully at the passing traffic.
The hot springs are just off the highway with their own campground next door, we arrived at around 6:30 and there were people already there. Grabbing our so far unused swimming gear we headed off to the springs. The walk to the springs is on a raised wooden platform that lets you look at the heated swamps that surround the springs.
At the springs there are two pools open for use and we got changed and got into one of the pools. Here again Canadian signage came to the fore, or Australian ability to interpret Canadian signs! One of the pools was to be hot and the other warm. We having examined the signs got into the one that we thought was the warm pool.
There we were in and wandering around the pool the temperature fluctuated quite a lot from spot to spot as water moved in the pool. The local frogs have not quite got the deal with the pools and I noticed a couple that had slowly boiled to death. After a while Shoeleh was over heating so decided that it was time to go, I tried the other pool and found that this pool was the less warm of the two pools. Such is life, but having splashed around enough I exited as well. After changing we went up to look at the closed pool and the cascade of hot springs. The closed pool is really closed, the path was blocked so don't know what it was like.
Now by this time I was a little peckish and so we drove out of the park and across the highway to the Liard Lodge www.liardhotspringslodge.com/ here we had coffee and hash browns for breakfast. Now we were back in the car and driving to the beginnings of the Alcan Highway.
The drive was again filled with wildlife spotting and soon we found a small herd of goats that had decided that the highway was a good place to hang around. So after taking some photos and waiting for them to move on we were on our way again. Our next stop was the Mineral Lick, a short hike that led to an overlook of the Trout River, where supposedly there would be wildlife in abundance. The short walk and views from the overlooks did not yield any such thing but was incredibly scenic.
From here we drove to Muncho Lake, which had a series of viewpoints all quite spectacular, the fall colours were starting to show, but not the animals. The drive then follows the lakes edge as you drive on parts of the road that have been blasted from the cliffs beside you into the lake to form the road. Then almost out of the blue (rocky gravel) there were deer.
We continued driving getting a little hungrier all the time looking for a place to stop. We passed the folded Mountains, with the interpretive sign describing how they were formed. We then got to see more of these as we drove along. Then again animals to the for this time we got Elk and Moose. Yes that's right we got to see some moose! I was feeling a little happier now. Eventually we found a great little pullout on the side of the highway to have our lunch.
We thought of stopping at Toad River for coffee, but the place while interesting did not look good so we continued on up the road and found a pullout with a view and I made our own. Which was probably better than that on offer in the lodge.
The drive up through the mountains delivered more wildlife, we got to see eagles flying around more elk and then as we hugged the cliff side climbing out stone sheep. Now driving in the daylight it is relatively possible to see these animals but with so many on the road I expect car crunches would hurt more than the animals as these are generally not small animals.
Another moose crossed our path as we headed toward Fort Nelson. Then it was across metal grated bridges, my only assumption as to why metal grated is to deal with the possibility of snow, but they are interesting to drive in the dry and daylight could be a whole different experience in winter.
Then it was we were into Fort Nelson, we pulled into the visitors centre for a water bottle refill, maps for the next part of the journey and scenic views to lookout for on the drive. We then got fuel for us and for Clancy and we were on the road again heading toward Fort St. John.
As we were leaving Fort Nelson there was a lot of road works underway so it took quite a bit of time. We decided to cook dinner early so that when we got to our yet to be determined campground we would have eaten. So we pulled into a closed campground and service centre and proceeded to make our dinner. The meal finished we packed up and drove on.
We passed many a landmark on the way with photos for the Autumn colours and vain hopes of the Moose that frequented the area showing themselves. All this was to no avail the moose were not interested in providing us a viewing. As we continued on darkness happened a little quicker than what it was just a few days ago and many 1000kms west of here.
Without anywhere else to stop into we decided to make it to Fort St John, having made that decision we found that it was a little further and a lot darker than we thought. Without a town map or internet we were not sure where to go. So we found a Safeway and pulled in, did a little late night shopping and then headed to Walmart for the nights rest. All in all it was a long days drive with the early rise and late finish I was asleep in no time.
So here we were at the Fort St John Walmart http://www.walmart.ca/store?StoreID=3661, although there did appeared to be some semipermanent Walmart residents. With all that it was sleep time to be ready to rise the next morning and off to the beginning of the Alcan Highway at Dawson Creek.
Animals Spotted: ravens, rabbits, goats, elk, deer, Moose, stone sheep, bison, eaglesDay Fifty-three