Monday, August 17, 2009

Sat, Aug 15: On the ALCAN to Laird Hot Springs Provincal Park, British Columbia, Canada

It is another cool, sunny morning. We get breakfast and get things set up for a night of dry camping about 75 miles up the road at Laird Hot Springs. This is probably one of the prettiest sections of the highway and one of the roughest drives so far!We first drive along the Toad River.We pull off to take some pictures and visit with some men who are going to float across the river and go Stone Sheep hunting up in the mountains.A bit later we encounter a young Caribou lunching along side the road.We follow Muncho Lake, a beautiful turquoise blue lake filling the whole valley. Stopping at Strawberry Flats Provincial Park on the edge of the lake, we walk along the shore.There are only two rigs in the whole park, it is a beautiful settingand we probably should just stop for the nightand skip the Hot Springs.

From here, we drop down into Trout River Valley

see the Stone Sheep the hunters are after,and then pick up the Laid River, which is a much bigger river than we have seen so far. The hot springs are in a Provincial Park not far from the Laird River crossing.The park is very wooded and nicely maintained, but when we arrive the bugs are swarming and it is a bit of a let down after the beauty of the Muncho Lake Park. The whole stop gets off on a bad foot when Dick finds a dinner plate sized oil puddle under the car when we unhook it. He can’t find where the leak is. We drive the car around and can not find any more leaking....we will hope for the best at this point.

Carolyn fixes some lunch. Dick takes a nap and Carolyn works on the blog for a while. Hopefully we will be somewhere where there is Internet and more importantly cell phone service tomorrow or Monday at the latest.

About 6PM we decide to brave the mosquitoes and walk to the Hot Springs about 1KM away. They have made a boardwalk through the marsh to the springs.There are two pools, Alpha and Beta. Alpha is first and is the cooler of the two, about 110+F degrees. We use the changing rooms and walk in. It is HOT especially close to the bubbling springs, but 30 or 40 feet away it is hot but bearable. Lots of people are enjoying the pool. It is good sized and, of course, the farther from the springs the cooler the water is. We get to talking to a couple who drove up today from Dawson Creek to enjoy the springs. They are tent camping right across from us. They tell us that Beta pool is closed due to a bear problem. We had noticed three of the campsites closed off with a huge baited bear trap in the middle one.I am not real sure I would want to be in a soft sided set up close to the trap. We are about four sites from the trap!

Refreshed and relaxed we hike back and begin supper; New Mexico eggs. I can tell it is going to be another early night, but that is alright as tomorrow we hope to get to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory, over 400 miles away.

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