Some sunshine helps, too!!
In case you haven't noticed, Jim and I get a
little depressed after several days of cold rain.
Thank goodness we finally woke up to some sunshine this morning! It
lasted almost all day.
in Muncho Lake Provincial Park
Colorful mountain and trees west of Stone Mountain
Now aren't those scenes more interesting than all the rain, fog, and overcast
photos from the last few days??
We ran into some rain approaching our destination at the
Ross H. Mclean Rotary RV Park at Charlie Lake but it cleared up by 7:30
PM. It was interesting to watch from the camper as the hard line of gray
clouds moved out and blue sky filled in behind it.
Temperatures ranged from 57-74 F. during the day and the sun felt quite
warm. We are grateful for that.
We had another long
day on the road, driving a total of 391 miles on the Alaska Highway
through British Columbia.
Even though we drove about 40 fewer miles today it took us more than an
hour longer than yesterday. We left our boondocking site at the north
end of Munch Lake, BC at 8 AM and had at least a dozen stops before
reaching Charlie Lake about 6:15 PM. Charlie Lake is a few miles west of
the small city of Fort St. John.
We started a few miles left of the upper
map at the
NW end of Muncho Lake.
There were the usual potty-rest break stops, lunch/feed dogs, and get
fuel. In addition to those stops an alarm went off re: the truck
tire pressure. Jim checked each truck and camper tire and all
the pressures were OK.
had four road construction stops and slow-downs. One long one was
through mud and dust. Others were where new "chips" (gravel) have been
laid so we had to cross our fingers that we didn't get a chipped
windshield from oncoming traffic.
You can imagine how dirty our nice white camper got
as we followed the
pilot truck through this muddy mess several miles
-- and how slow we had to drive.
We were slowed by road construction -- stops and following pilot
trucks slowly -- at least an hour. We hit some bad bumps that
weren't expected in other places, but Jim was still able to drive 60-62
MPH quite a bit.
Traffic was minimal from Muncho Lake to a few miles north of Fort
Minimal traffic, interesting low wispy clouds in
the Toad River area
Above and below: This pretty mountain is in
or near Stone Mountain Provincial Park
More mountain views through the Rockies
We saw very few RVs all day because most probably stopped last
night at either Watson Lake (behind us) or Fort Nelson (ahead of us). I
think many of the campers going north yesterday, Friday, were heading to weekend
spots and were off the road today.
Between Fort Nelson and Charlie Lake-Fort St. John there are a lot of
gas/energy production facilities -- and lots of trucks of all
sizes. We saw a lot of big trucks of every description today. Don't they
take the weekend off??
New pavement! That was nice, even though it slowed
us down again.
We loved driving slowly along Muncho Lake first thing this morning,
hunting for stone sheep where we've seen them before. We haven't seen
any this trip, though.
Here are some views
of Muncho Lake early this morning. The deep blue-green color is the
result of glacial silt that has washed down into the lake:
We did have a good wildlife day, though, especially in Muncho Lake
and Stone Mountain Provincial Parks -- a total of eight caribou
in three places (two moms, two calves, four bulls) and two moose (mama
We saw the moose just
before the little 'burg of Toad River, grazing right along the other
side of the road:
The mama caribou and calf
in the next four photos, also grazing along the Toad River, amused us for
several minutes as we sat waiting for them to decide where they were going.
They were about as indecisive as squirrels, going back and forth across the
road at least four times while we watched them. It was comical.
No other vehicles came toward us or behind us
during the five or six minutes we were stopped in the southbound lane
Those are just a few of the pictures I took of that pair.
I saw lots of caribou on my bus rides at Denali National Park in July
but these were the first ones Jim has seen this summer.
Here is a male caribou we saw later this morning:
We were very happy to see so many large animals today. During this whole
trip to Alaska/Canada we haven't seen as much large wildlife as we did
three summers ago.
TERRAIN & FLORA
The scenery is so beautiful from Muncho Lake to Fort Nelson! We rode
high quite a bit, up to 4,100+ feet at Summit Pass in Stone Mountain
That's the highest point on the Alaska Hwy. We hit the lowest point at
about 1,000 feet when we crossed the Muskwa River just south of Fort Nelson.
The truck windows were so dirty I didn't expect very many decent scenery
photos today but I was able to salvage some:
Above and below: The Toad River is one of the prettiest that flows
along the Alaska Hwy.
There's the Toad River, above, and the little
community of Toad River, where the farm below is located.
There was lots of pretty fall leaf color above 3,000 feet but virtually none
below that, where everything was still mostly summer green:
A few fireweeds were still blooming in Fort Nelson but most were in
their lighter "fluff" stage. A lot of cotton grass was blooming in the
provincial parks. We passed a large burn area south of Fort Nelson that
wasn't there when we came up here in June; no new green
grass/weeds have emerged yet.
After we passed
through the Rockies the terrain was more undulating to flat. To me, it's
not nearly as interesting as the mountains:
Large field of hay bales, so much different than
what we've been seeing most of the summer
Lower elevation and farther south = all green grass
We got diesel at the station next to the Bluebell Inn in Fort Nelson for
$1.289/liter CA. That's higher than Watson Lake or Whitehorse;
I guess fuel taxes are higher in British Columbia than the Yukon. We
know Alberta is cheaper, so we'll wait until we get to Grande Prairie tomorrow to
MCLEAN ROTARY RV PARK
We didn't have a reservation at the Rotary CG at Charlie Lake. Although
it's more full than it was when we stayed here in June, we got the same
spot for $30.45 CA.
I took this photo the next morning (there's that blue sky again!!!) when
the light was better:
We have 30-amps power so we can run one or both electric space heaters
tonight instead of the moisture-producing gas space heater. We got fresh
water on the way in and we'll dump the tanks when we leave. We have a
weak WiFi signal, but enough to check on e-mail, news, weather, etc.
After we got set up, ate supper, and it stopped raining I took Cody for a
walk through the adjacent wetlands and along large Charlie Lake:
Cody is still wobbly but is walking better now. His attitude is great --
still playful, even tried to run a little bit when I was walking him. I
took Casey for about 3/4 mile by the lake and through the campground.
We need a break from all this driving so we plan to call the Rotary RV
park in Grande Prairie in the morning to see if we can get a spot
tomorrow. It's just a two- or three-hour drive from Charlie Lake. Both
places are partly sunny tomorrow and windy, but less windy in Grande
Prairie and we both like the bike path there.
Dots in the water are ducks.
We'll decide tomorrow whether to aim to reach Malmstrom AFB on Tuesday or
Wednesday. We will stay farther north a little longer to avoid the
current heat and smoke in Great Falls and Calgary.
Next entry: Charlie Lake, BC to Grande Prairie, AB
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup
© 2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil