(Wild) Life on the Road

After spending 4 1/2 months in Alaska, it was time to return to the lower 48. I spent weeks reviewing our route. We had already driven the Alcan, so I wanted to travel other roads. It was a horrible year for wildfires in British Columbia, so I changed our route several times. BC has a great website I used to make sure the roads I wanted to take were open. Eventually, I settled for returning on the Alcan. It just seemed safest.

We had seen some pretty cool wildlife while we were in Alaska, but we always want to see more. Not long after we crossed into the Yukon, we got our first chance…

Wildlife-9842

These wild horses were contently munching on the grasses along the highway. I felt pretty lucky to see them, apparently there have been efforts over the years to capture the remaining wild horses. I don’t know how many are left, but it can’t be many.

When we crossed into BC, the first thing we saw was a highway sign warning us of bison in the road near Muncho Lake. Herds of wood bison move pretty quickly and we spotted them long before the lake. At first we saw lone males hanging out by the road…

Wildlife-9873

Or in the road…

Wildlife-9845

It’s always a good thing to remember, these are wild animals and to always keep your distance.ย  Steve did that by taking his pictures out the window…

Wildlife-9861-Edit

A short while later, we came across a herd of wood bison. We stopped and watched as a calf nursed…

Wildlife-9881

After a while, we had so many pictures of bison, we didn’t pull over to watch the next few herds we saw.

What there weren’t any warning signs for was the herds of mountain goats. Early one morning, as we were driving along, we had to stop because they just wouldn’t get out of the road…

Wildlife-9927

I took this picture looking through the windshield…

Wildlife-9943

Mooned by a mountain goat! Finally, they moved off the road. One stopped to look back at us as if to say, “NOW you may go”…

Wildlife-9945

I liked seeing them on the upper slopes better than in the road…

Wildlife-9967

We had seen a couple bears along the way, but they were always heading into the woods. By the time I got the camera, they were gone. Until this guy came along…

Bear-9972Bear-9974

We saw more wild animals in 4 days in Canada than we did in 4 1/2 months in Alaska. And that’s the wild side of being on the road!

Up next, the wonders of Yellowstone.

Have you ever had to stop because an animal wouldn’t get off the road?

Hanging Out the Window

Time was getting short and we still had almost 3000 miles to go. We were due to arrive at our job in Moose Pass as close to May 1st as possible. Here it was the last week of April and we were only half way there. Of course, we had taken the really long way. From here on out, it would be one night stops, often not even unhooking the Jeep. Our planned travel route would take us through about 13 miles of Idaho. What could possibly happen in 13 miles? Just before we crossed the state line, I saw a sign stating all boats MUST stop and be checked for invasive species. My first (and only) thought was “Gee, glad they are taking it so seriously.” What I never gave a thought to was our 2 kayaks strapped to the roof of the Jeep. I mean they hadn’t been in the water since we left Florida. We were half way though our 13 miles when Steve pulled over to give the car with the red flashing lights pass by. Much to our surprise, they pulled right in behind us. What had he done? He wasn’t speeding or driving erratically. Nope – kayaks are boats and we hadn’t stopped. The sheriff was very pleasant about it, but we had to turn around and go back to the state line. The kayaks were inspected and we got a little sheet of paper stating so. I threw it on the dash as we began our 13 mile drive though Idaho again. We breezed through Oregon and Washington state before I ever thought about that little scrap of paper again. Several times I remarked to Steve that the landscape wasn’t what I had pictured. There were no tree covered mountains or lush forests. Only more of what we’d been seeing all along, giant rocky mountains with little or no vegetation. We finally got to the border crossing, produced our passports and were welcomed into British Columbia, Canada. For the first hour or so of the drive, we passed grove after grove of fruit trees. Every kind you could imagine. Apples, peaches, plums, pears. All in bloom, waiting for pollinators to do their jobs. I didn’t get any pictures because there just never seemed to be a good spot to pull over. We knew our biggest problem would be finding campgrounds that were open in April, most of them don’t open until May. I had picked out a few possibilities and figured we’d just stop in rest areas or truck stops if they didn’t work out.

We got to see our first wildlife in BC. Large herds of wood bison hanging our on the side of the road…

BC-Yukon-6805

BC-Yukon-6808

As the scenery began to resemble more what I had expected, I spent a lot of time trying to capture it…

BC-Yukon-6787

BC-Yukon-6791

BC-Yukon-6800

Our best stop in BC was at Liard River Hotsprings. The provincial park wasn’t open yet for camping, but they had a large parking lot we were told we could dry camp in. In the morning, we headed over to check out the springs…

img_5272

img_5274
The boardwalk to the springs

img_5273

img_5279
Taking a nice soak

In a word – it was awesome! We were so tempted to spend another night, but we really did have to move on. We got to see a little more wildlife…

img_5263

img_5265

We didn’t see near as much wildlife as I thought we would. Maybe it was too early in the season.

We crossed into the Yukon and stopped for the obligatory picture…

img_5330

I spent much of the next few days hanging out Waldo’s window. Every time I thought the scenery couldn’t get any better, it did!

img_5320
Yes, that’s me with my camera out the window

When we got to Watson Lake, we stopped at the Sign Post Forest. It’s hard to describe and the pictures don’t really do it justice…

BC-Yukon-6826

img_5297

I don’t know how many signs there are, but I can tell you, it is A LOT! It took my quite a while to go through all of the pictures and here are some of my favorites from the Yukon…

BC-Yukon-6842

BC-Yukon-6859

BC-Yukon-6867

BC-Yukon-6880

BC-Yukon-6890

BC-Yukon-6897

BC-Yukon-6922

BC-Yukon-6950

BC-Yukon-6992

BC-Yukon-7009

BC-Yukon-7016

BC-Yukon-7084

And finally, we were heading back into the USA – Welcome to Alaska…

img_5331

Well, we made it to Alaska! Up next…Oh Waldo, you’re so……..