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
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:
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
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
We stopped behind two other vehicles and took lots of pictures, including
6) Two stone sheep (ewe and lamb) on, then right by the
side of the road approaching the Trout River Valley:
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
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
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
We also saw a lot of
birds today. What a great day!
Next entry: Day 5 on our journey south
-- Fort Nelson, BC to Hythe, AB
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
and Cody the ultra Lab
© 2012 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil