The following refers to day four of our journey: Tuesday, June 23rd.
As I mentioned before, we arose early this morning. Hunter was anxious to get an earlier start, so we packed up camp and hit the road around 8:40 am. We drove for several hours while I studied our Alaska Milepost book and watched for bears. So far, we’ve seen a fox and some stone sheep…that’s it. The stone sheep are pretty cute:
Caribou, moose, bear and buffalo are frequently sighted along this stretch of highway, but we haven’t seen a one of them.
Okay, I take that back…we did end up seeing another bear, finally! We also saw a bunch of buffalo, man are those guys huge! We spotted a few here and there, usually by themselves…and then we came upon a little herd of them. There were a bunch of adults in the group, and some babies as well! It was a very cool sight. We stopped at a beautiful lake and stretched our legs:
The forest is endless…we’ve been driving for days and it’s all we’ve seen. It’s mind-boggling how much undeveloped land there is here. There are tons of side roads and paths that stretch off into the vast unknown, and it is positively killing Hunter that he can’t explore them. If we lived in this area, he’d be out here every waking moment following a new road, discovering where it leads and what it has to offer. As it is, these unknowns are merely taunting him…poor guy! It’s for the best though; I shudder to think of the wildlife he could encounter out there in the untamed forest.
After a long day of driving, we reached what we thought was supposed to be a decent-sized city: Watson Lake. Other than the famous Sign Post Forest
where we found some fellow Utahns:
this place did not have much to offer. We wanted to grab some dinner somewhere, and had a heck of a time finding a place that was actually open. When we did manage to locate something, it’s very small dining room was full. We finally found a little fast food café which turned out to be pretty decent. The fries were homemade and delicious! We like coming to new places and checking out the local joints…usually they are far better than the fast food chains. Of course, sometimes you have to deal with the drawbacks, like a 60 minute wait for your entrée (Bridal Veil Falls). So you never know what you’re getting yourself into, lol.
After dinner we hit the road for our final stretch of the day. We were amazed at how empty the road was…this is the peak of the travel season for the Alcan Highway, so we expected quite a bit more traffic. And yet there were times when we would go several hours without encountering another car in our northbound lane. The majority of the traffic we did encounter seemed to be the local truckers, rather than tourists like us. It’s nice to have a break from the traffic, but it seems that a lot of roadside businesses who once depended on the tourist industry are no longer operating, and that is unfortunate.
We finally reached our destination around 8:00 pm. I had been concerned that the hotel wouldn’t have any vacancies by the time we arrived, but that certainly wasn’t the case. When we checked in, we were the first customers of the evening. I was thrilled to finally experience a nice hot shower, and we were also able to do our laundry. It’s funny how desperate one can get for something that is usually taken for granted in everyday life. I feel like a million bucks now that I’m showered and my clothes are clean! The hotel also offered free internet, which was nice because our phones are on roam and since they are both work-issued this means we can’t use them. It’s great to “un-plug”, especially from work responsibilities, but there is also a certain relief that comes from knowing there are no “end-of-the-world” issues that need my attention. I was able to get some work done and also post a few blog entries, so I won’t be quite as behind the next time I’m able to access the internet.
Hunter and I were completely shredded. After messing around with laundry and work and everything else we had to do while we had the chance, we finally fell into bed exhausted around midnight. And it was bright as day outside! Even though I was exhausted, it felt weird going to bed with so much light…I felt like I was a kid again, and my parents were trying to convince me it was past my bedtime when it was really only 7:00 pm and they were tired of dealing with me, lol! I usually love a dark room while sleeping, but this phenomenon is so strange to me that I can’t help but find it intriguing. What an interesting, unusual place this is proving to be!