Sunday, July 17, 2011

Watson Lake

He wouldn't live there. It was a sketchy little town, but it was where we decided to spend a night.

However it was home to the signpost forest. I would have wanted to go there if we hadn't just spent the night.

Bits from my travel journal of insanity.

The following is all one day's entry-- in order.

Just odd.

Muncho Lake

As promised, I am going to post about Muncho Lake today. Mel posted some photographs last post if you want to get a look at it. They're good photos but I don't think they do the place justice.

Upon leaving Stone Mountain Provincial Park, we made our way Northwest through even more mountains and wilderness. As we approached, the GPS showed a large looking body of water ahead. Wanting to get a chance to at least catch a glimpse, we slowed down looked at the scenery ahead. What we saw was a large lake completely walled off by mountains, glimmering in the sun. Wanting to enjoy it for a little while, I found a large stony shore or lot between the lake and the road and stepped out of the car.

The water rushed the shore like the waves of the ocean, the sun was unobstructed and made the water shimmer. It was warm, but not too warm. At the shore, I got a closer look at the water itself. I have never seen a lake as clear as this--the bottom was lined with blue-gray pebbles that could be seen clearly even dozens of feet out. The water was cold but I wished I had kept my bathing suit in my overnight bag rather than packing it deep within the confines of the car.

Despite being right next to the Alaska highway and lined with at least one campground, the place was silent and still save for two cyclists moving up the road. Even then, the sheer size of the mountains, and the waves of the lake on the shore made the idea of human traffic irrelevant.

Mel joked, "Can we take it with us?"
"I wish we could."

She took off her socks and put her feet into the water. In the distance, we could see a boat pulling out from the shore of the campground. I wished we had brought some boat, even a raft, just so I could get into the middle of the lake, let me see mountains on all sides, surround myself in its clear water.

Of course, we still had at least 1500 miles to go.

Muncho Lake is several miles long and the Alaska highway follows right along its Eastern shore, so even after pulling away, we got to see the lake a bit longer. I was tempted to pull over again, Mel would have been all for it as well, but I knew if I kept stalling we wouldn't make any progress that day.

Later on, I filled up at a small rest-stop. The man who ran it had moved up from Calgary and that he preferred where he was to anywhere. I told him that we were headed to Alaska and spoke a little about the trip. I mentioned Muncho Lake.
"Beautiful place. The best spot of the whole trip in my opinion."

It's hard for me to mark one place as "the best" on this trip. Regardless, there is something about Northeastern British Columbia, and Muncho Lake in particular that enthralled me. If I'm lucky enough, it won't be the only time I'll have the chance to experience it.

Mel's Muncho Lake Post

I'm sure you've realized by now that Muncho Lake was our favorite part.

It looks so clear and cold and I was thirsty-- I couldn't help but try a sip and it was very tasty. I wished I'd brought my bottle of water to fill it up with fresh cold water. My bottled water didn't taste so good after I tried Lake Muncho.

I took off my socks and soaked my feet. It was cold.

One more note

We WILL be back later with more stories, photos and even some doodles.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mel writes about birds and posts a few pics.

Eric is also writing a post at this moment. I'm just annoyed at IP providers and should be sewing. I recently got a commission for 10-20 plush daggers-- they have to be there by the 8th. I just got a sewing machine. I accidentally named it The Raven.

Speaking of ravens. I didn't take any photos of them (this is Eric pic), but they are all over the place. On the Alaska Highway norther BC or southern Yukon we saw two of them on the side of the road and after hitting a bird in North Dakota we were a little nervous of the birds there. It looked like one of them was fumbling with trash. When they flew away we saw that it had a plastic bag in its bill-- filled with crackers. "humans, get the loot let's get out of here."

(above)This is my first sighting of a magpie. They are related to crows, but I think they are adorable.

Oh, on the Alaska Highway in Yukon I saw a bald eagle. I know, though Alaska has the most bald eagles in the States. It's too bad though that the Chickadees in Alaska are having problems now. (probably a contaminant.)

(above) Cleveland has some neat things.

(above)Gary- chief export-- pollution.

(above) Chicago line.

(above) Min's Bud plant. I thought Merrimack's was the ugliest.

(above)Kluane Lake-- Yukon's largest

(above) LONDON DRUGS?! I have a comic about that. Will post later.

Seems Eric finished first.

The Wild Mountains of British Columbia

If the earlier parts of the trip were characterized by endless flat landscapes, the remaining trip from Grande Prairie and onward proved to compensate for the lack of features. An hour or so into western Alberta, the land began to dip and rise through wooded river valleys and tall hills. As we crossed into British Columbia, these hills gave way to more jutting mountains beyond. Somewhere along the way, we were surrounded by huge stone mountains on all sides. We stopped at a few overlooks and stream-beds to get some pictures and take the scenery in.

Despite our delays, we made pretty good time. In early afternoon we were driving through Stone Mountain Provincial Park. Early on a sign warned us about "WARNING: Goats on the Road." It was less of a typical "Wildlife Crossing" signs you can find in any wild area and more of a certainty. Sure enough, as we headed around the cliff road we were greeted by a large herd of mountain goats grazing on the cliff-side.

The rams weren't the only wildlife we'd encounter. A few miles down the road, bison grazed and rested in the grass. We stopped to take a few shots of them.

We also managed to get a picture of this fellow:

This was bear four of five we spotted. The first three were black bears that just happened to pop up in a spot before Mel could get her camera out. The last one was a brown bear (grizzly?) that I mistook at first glance for yet another bison. By the time we passed I knew it most certainly wasn't a bison but it was too late to turn around.

It really is impossible to document just how many creatures we saw—they ranged from the common squirrels and brown rabbits, the less familiar ravens (I never knew how large they were until I saw them up close. For the uninitiated, a raven can be as big as two-feet tall!) and the more regionally exotic as shown above.

There is a lot more to cover on just this leg of the trip. I'll have some pictures and musings about our stop at Muncho Lake--perhaps one of the most amazing places I have ever been. For now, I hope you've enjoyed the creature show.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

In Fairbanks sans Internet

Hello, just a quick update to let you all know we're alive. We're in Fairbanks now but we have no internet access at the place. I'll post tales of our journey and some more pictures once we have our own internet (or at least find wireless that works on my netbook.)