Denali AKA Mt. McKinley


Runtrails' Web Journal
Previous       2015 Journal Topics       Home       Next

   NORTH TO ALASKA, DAY 5, p. 2:


Continued from the previous page.


We can finally begin this list today!  There were no Stone sheep or caribou but we saw enough other critters to be exciting.

1) One moose right along the road at Muncho Pass:


2) One black bear a few miles north of Fort Nelson; another one a few miles beyond that (no good pictures of either one).

3) Eleven bison in four places (from one to six at a time). A couple electronic signs warned of bison near Muncho Lake but we saw them farther north than that.

4)One beautiful red fox right outside our camper at Tags RV Park in Watson Lake


This is a very popular provincial park past Muncho Lake in far northern British Columbia. Visitors to Alaska often stop here overnight to camp and to soak in the hot springs.

I lobbied unsuccessfully to stay here overnight since the weather was so nice today. Last time on our way up to Alaska it was raining and not at all enticing like it was today.

We parked in the shade in the large parking area across the road to the entrance to the provincial park. Jim was tired from driving so he and the dogs took a nap while I spent about 45 minutes checking out the campground and springs.

This was my favorite available site at the hot springs.

I walked through the campground to see if there were any available sites that were large enough for us, then hiked about half a mile on the boardwalk over some wetlands and through pretty woods to the hot springs:


Moose-viewing platform on the way out to the hot springs

The wooden decking around the springs was under construction the fall of 2012 when I first saw the springs. It looks great now.

Several folks were enjoying the warm, bubbling water:


I walked back to the truck and reported that there were some campsites available that we could fit in but Jim simply wasn't interested in staying overnight. We need to kill some time somewhere but he wants to do it at or beyond Whitehorse to be sure we get to Haines by June 10.

We continued on to Watson Lake. Maybe I can talk him into staying at the springs in the fall if we don't go south via the Cassiar Highway . . .


Oh, boy, have we got vivid memories of this place!

It's where we were stuck for five days in June, 2012 when the Alaska Highway was closed from here to Kluane Lake because of multiple washouts and mudslides.

There are dozens of colorful banners in Watson Lake.

We were lucky we got "stuck" in such a nice spot, though.

We had a campsite with water and electricity, WiFi, and good places to ride and hike while we cooled our heels. Many travelers and people who lived or worked up the road in Whitehorse or Alaska were seriously inconvenienced or had to turn around.

Watson Lake visitor center and Sign Post Forest

Tags is a handy place to camp. We stopped here again on the way back from Alaska in 2012, too. This is our third time to camp here.

Tags is part of the Tempo fuel station and convenience store, which has been completely rebuilt after burning down in 2013. It is right across a side street from the visitor center and famous "Sign Post Forest."

Tags is also cost-effective. For $27 CA we got "our" same back-in site with 30-amps electricity and water. We can dump in one of the pull-thru, full-hookup sites when we leave. The laundry room is about 100 feet from our site so we did a load of wash tonight.

This time we weren't able to access the "free WiFi," even in the main building, so Jim took his laptop to the visitor center to get online free. He checked e-mail and weather for Whitehorse, Haines Jct., and Haines.

Diesel cost $1.149/liter = $3.47/gallon CA (cheaper in U.S. dollars). We didn't buy any groceries -- 4 liters of milk = a whopping $8.29 CA!!! That was too high even at lower U.S. prices.

Only one other 5th-wheel and two small RVs were in our campground so we had plenty of room and privacy: 

Our campground was virtually empty tonight (above). Sure beats how crowded -- and more
expensive -- the only other campground in town was (part of it is shown below).

We talked to the two couples from Alberta and Northwest Territories in the fiver. They were very friendly and had lots of questions about full-timing. They're retired and on a six-week tour of British Columbia and the Yukon, but probably not Alaska.

Jim took Casey on his bike with the Walky Dog attachment while I walked Cody around the Sign Post Forest and checked out the literature in the visitor center (open till 8 PM in the summer).

The sprawling Sign Post "Forest" really does resemble a forest. By now there are
almost 100,000 signs and license plates on display from visitors from all over the world.

It's fun to walk up and down the dozens of rows full of signs and see where all the people
came from. How many from states where I've lived? What foreign countries are represented?

Hungary, Canada, and Australia are represented by these signs.

This is the fanciest, most expensive large sign I saw in the forest today.

After Jim brought Casey back he went for a longer ride around town, solo. It was a great way for him to unwind after hauling the Cameo through the Rockies for several hours.

I walked Casey 3+ miles from the campground to Wye Lake and around on the nice trail. I remembered it well from walking Cody there so many times in 2012. There are lots of lupines, wild roses, and other wildflowers in bloom.




Casey loved chasing sticks in the water.

I love lupines!

Gazebo in pretty Wye Lake Park

The exercise was good because we're both tired from sitting so much the last four days in the truck. Our drive tomorrow to Whitehorse is a little shorter and less mountainous, and then we'll stay in one place for a few days.

We got a good night's sleep at Watson Lake. Sunset was about 10:30 PM. It's hard to keep to my schedule of going to bed about 10 PM when it's still light outside! I know from our last trip to Alaska that it'll be even more challenging as we go farther north and get close to the summer solstice.

Next entryWatson Lake to Whitehorse, YT

Happy trails,

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

Previous       Next

2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil