2012  HIKING, CYCLING,

& RV TRAVEL ADVENTURES

 

   
 
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   A BANNER DAY FOR WILDLIFE
ON THE ALASKA HIGHWAY

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9

 
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while,  
you could miss it." 
 
~ Ferris Bueller in the movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off
 
 

Continued from the last entry.

One of the many things that made today's journey along the Alaska Highway from Watson Lake eastbound to Fort Nelson was the abundance of wildlife.

We didn't see as many species as we saw in Denali National Park on some of our bus rides but we saw a larger number of big critters along the road today than weíve seen any other day on this adventure to and from Alaska.

There are several warning signs for caribou, bears, and bison along this stretch of roadway, as well as in the provincial parks and campgrounds. This one was at the Liard River Hot Springs:

Unfortunately, we didn't see any grizzlies anywhere today but we saw enough other large animals to keep us more than happy.

Here's today's count and photos for most of the individuals and groups of animals we spotted (I took more photos than I'm including here):

1. A group of four free-range horses right by the road east of Watson Lake. Here are two of them:

2) One bison a few feet off the right shoulder soon after the horses. My later pics of bison are better than the one I took of this one.

3) A black animal scurried across the road carrying a squirrel or something. It was the size of a fox but the wrong color. Panther?? Too large for a cat, wrong color for a lynx, and it wasnít a dog. I didnít get a picture of it.

4) A second bison above the Liard River after Allenís Lookout.

Wood bison -- a threatened species in Canada -- are very common on this section of the highway. The next two photos are from an interpretive sign at the hot springs:

 

We were in that orange section of the road when we saw all the bison today.

5) A group of about 100 bison on both sides of the road just west of the Smith River Falls, then three more bison closer to the falls.

Wow. It reminded us of the herds we've seen at Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and Custer State Park in South Dakota.

We stopped behind two other vehicles and took lots of pictures, including these:

 

 

 

 

 

 

6) Two stone sheep (ewe and lamb) on, then right by the side of the road approaching the Trout River Valley:

 

 

 

 


Curious ewe!

7) Seven more stone sheep (three ewes + four lambs) along Muncho Lake right by the road again. I can't imagine what they all found to eat right there in the gravel -- ??

 

 

Four of the lambs and ewes ran across the road and up a cliff on Jim's side of the truck. He was driving but stopped about a minute to be sure he didn't run over any sheep.

I got the best shots of the two ewes and one lamb that stayed on my side of the road next to the lake:

 


Note the tracking collar and tag on this one.

8) Two caribou (male, female) by the road east of Muncho Lake along the Toad River.

We had to stop for these characters because they were as indecisive as squirrels! Note in the following sequence that they finally ended up in the same place where we first saw them:


Once again, we wondered what the heck these critters were eating in the gravel??


"Ah, more tourists.  We have an audience!"


This buck shows no fear of our large vehicle. (We were stopped.)

 

 

 

Is that comical, or what??  We began to wonder how long we'd have to sit there waiting for them to decide where they were going. We didn't want to hit or frighten them.

9) Seven caribou (five females, two calves) farther east along the Toad River near the alluvial fan. They scattered before I could get a good picture of them.

After we saw all those caribou, we saw this warning sign for them:

We knew from reading The Milepost book to watch for them, however.

10) The last big critters we saw were two mule deer after Steamboat Mountain Pass, on our way down to Fort Nelson.

We also saw a lot of birds today. What a great day!

Next entryDay 5 on our journey south -- Fort Nelson, BC to Hythe, AB

Happy trails,

Sue
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, and Cody the ultra Lab

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© 2012 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil

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