Continued from the previous entry.
We didn't stop at this popular
tourist destination at KM 1463 on our way to Alaska in early June
because we were focused on getting to Alaska. We passed the park on June
12, our first day back on the road after being "stuck" in Watson Lake
for five days due to the unprecedented washouts on the Alaska Hwy.
between Watson Lake and Whitehorse. We didn't want any more delays.
There was plenty of room in the campground today if we'd wanted to
stay overnight. Ironically, now we're "tripped out" sufficiently to try
to get back to the Lower 48 rather quickly.
Along the Liard River before we
reached the hot springs going eastbound
I did suggest staying here tonight instead of driving farther to Fort
Nelson. After reading about the popularity of the place I wanted to at
least see the hot springs.
Jim wasn't interested in getting in the water or even walking back to
the springs, which are about half a mile from the entrance parking area
and campground. He was willing to let me go on a short hike, though, so we
stopped for about 45 minutes while I walked through part of the
campground and back to the springs.
He parked the camper in a large pullout across the highway from the
park entrance and took a nap while I was gone:
I didn't see any signs about not parking there overnight so that's an
option for boondockers.
After talking to the woman at the entrance station and letting her
know my plan she pointed me to the campground. I walked through the
front loop and was pleased to see that most of those sites are large
enough for our camper:
Then I found the trailhead to the springs. I marked my route in
yellow on the map above.
Note that dogs are allowed in the campground but not on the trail to
the springs (see sign below) so I knew to leave Cody in the truck with Jim.
Did you also notice the bear warning??
LIKE A TROPICAL JUNGLE (IN THE SUMMER, AT LEAST)
Itís a 10-minute walk on boardwalks over wetlands and
through boreal forest to the springs. There are several interpretive
panels about the fish and other creatures that live in the warm-water marsh and
the types of plants that live in the forest.
Here's one that explains the geology of this unusual ecosystem:
Most of the flowers and thick vegetation from the summer are gone now as
plants prepare for winter:
Because of the warm, moist air near the springs plants
like cow parsnip grow to be so lush and tall in the summer that in the
1940s this area was known as the "Liard Tropical Valley."
The remaining photos are from the hot springs, where crews are doing a major
construction job on the deck and change room this fall.
Part of the springs was roped off but 15-20 people were enjoying them anyway:
It was very noisy today with all the construction work.
The folks in the water didn't seem to notice, however. They looked pretty
relaxed! The park waited to do this project until most of the visitors
were gone but they have to work even on Sundays to get the project
completed before winter.
I walked to the other
end of the springs and stood on the boardwalk shown below to take more
photos. I don't know how far the trail goes beyond this:
You can read more about the hot springs and the
provincial park at the official
website or do an online search.
Every RVer's blog I read prior to our Alaska trip
mentioned this place. It's probably packed when the majority of tourists
from the U.S. and other areas of Canada are heading to and from Alaska.
I think we were ahead of most folks in the spring (went by here on June
7) and behind them in the fall (September 9).
Add this to the long list of things I want to do the next time
we're up here . . .
Next entry: bison and caribou and stone sheep, oh
my! This was a banner day for wildlife along the Alaska Highway.
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
and Cody the ultra Lab
© 2012 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil