2015  HIKING, CYCLING,

& RV TRAVEL ADVENTURES

Denali AKA Mt. McKinley

 

   
 
Runtrails' Web Journal
 
Previous       2015 Journal Topics       Home       Next
 

   DAY 4 ON THE JOURNEY SOUTH: 
MUNCHO LAKE TO CHARLIE LAKE, BC

SATURDAY, AUGUST 29

 
"Happiness depends upon ourselves. "
~ Aristotle
 
 

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.


Pretty view in Muncho Lake Provincial Park


Colorful mountain and trees west of Stone Mountain Provincial Park

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.

TODAY'S ROUTE

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.

We also 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 Nelson.


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.

CRITTER COUNT

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 and calf).

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 Provincial Park:

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 and trees

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 refuel.

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

Happy trails,

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

Previous       Next

2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil

-