Alaska 2014

NOTE:  When Sharon adds comments, they will be in {curly brackets}.  Comments added AFTER coming back to San Jose are in [square brackets].

 

Report 19. Day 19. Fri, May 23. Jasper, Alberta to Prince George. Sheep, Waterfalls, Glaciers, Scenery, No Lyin' and Bears Oh My!

We are hitting the road today, hoping for animals. From Jasper, we will go to Fort Dawson by way of Prince George [During the day I figure out that it's a two-day trek to Fort Dawson, so we'll likely spend it in Prince George].

We take a short walk, and come upon an interesting slightly wrinkly mirror that is the full back window of a trailer. Notice the slightly altered appearance of the two strangers in the selfie.Then it's back to our rig in one of our favorite RV parks so far - Whistler camp in the Jasper National Park. Now don't make too much of this, but we're in the G spot of Loop 54.

Back at the site, we watch Sharon's new pet Raven attack a peanut. {After giving him some peanuts yesterday, today he was waiting for me and sat on a branch until I put out some more treats. It amazes me how smart these ravens are that he figured out in one feeding who the soft touch was. He ate some of the peanuts and I saw him bury others. For a late afternoon snack, I guess.}

But first, as they say, I have Sharon proofread a trip report.

I like the way the screen lights up Sharon's face.

We load up, and so I don't forget, I take a closeup shot of some elk poo. Then magically, just as we're driving through the check-in station, we see the very elk that maybe did it. Pro'ly..

We head back into Jasper to fill up. We're getting about 9-10 mpg, with which I am tickled. On the way, we encounter a service truck with CANA written on the driver's door. Sharon says what I'm thinking, namely, "Wouldn't it be funny if it said DA on the other side door?"

There is a train stopped and we can see that there are approximately an infinity of identical black railroad cars, each one with the middle about six inches lower that the two ends. We think it's a liquid carrier, like oil, of some kind.

As we leave, about ten till seven, I get a couple of shots of the tram house, which Sharon mentioned in the last report. Sharon says she heard the O Canada bird again, the White-throated Sparrow.

We head back out, and wonder about the stopped train. I say maybe they've stopped for a family of ducks crossing the track. Sharon says maybe a baby elk. I object to her idea because it makes sense. Ha.

As we cross the Miette River, Sharon sees a Stellar's Jay.

We come across several elk, and get some great photos and video. {I wonder how the "velvet" feels, it looks so soft. Guess I'll never know.}

 

A little after 7:30, we cross into BC, and as expected a sign tells us to set our watches back one hour. We are now in the Pacific Time Zone. We see the Mt. Robson sign too.

About 15 minutes later, we come across a traffic jam, with everybody driving into the left lane, around a number of police cars. We see to the right an 18 wheeler in the ditch on our right, so he went clear across the road to get into that ditch.

I see perhaps a Pakistani driver standing by the truck looking a little morose, so we know that he's the driver. As we drive by I do an idiot thing - I give him the Vee sign with two fingers. He just looks at us as we drive by. About two hundred yards further on, there is a rolled over car, again on the right side of the road, in the ditch. Sharon is doing video from the passenger seat as we drive by, and a fireman yells at Sharon, "Put it away," to which Sharon says the well-considered words "Thank you." {I panicked. I can see that it is rude and intrusive to be taking pictures but I had just been filming the event and kept filming when we got to the overturned car. And the "thank you" just popped out as I didn't know what to say then. I hope no one was injured badly but it doesn't look good.} Here is those sequence of shots:

We like the angled signs on four foot tall posts that point to mountain tops. The name of the peak is printed on the sign. Like we just went past Mt. Mowat.

It's been raining on and off since we hit the road, and the farther we go the more rain there is. The road is totally wet. We are looking for MOOOOOOOSE. And in one of those wonderful things that happen in life, we cross the Moose River. A Canada Goose takes flight as we pass.When I charged the cameras' batteries last night, I looked at my Sony and it looked like it still had 80-90 percent. But after all we've done this morning, it's down to only about 15%. I hope I remember that I put our inverter in one of the boxes of useful stuff under the back seat.

Soon, we get to a place to pull over, and WooHoo, I did. So I set the inverter up by plugging it into a 12V port in the back seat. Then I plug the Sony camera adapter into it, and WahLah (English for Voila), the camera battery is charging. I set the camera on top of Sharon's knitting bag in the middle of the floor in the back seat, so Sharon can grab it, and disconnect it if she needs.

Sharon sees a single cloud, and as she's shooting it with her iPhone, we pass a female deer. I watch it follow Sharon's face as we drive by. Who wouldn't, I say. {Ah, how sweet.}

About 9 am, Sharon says she sees something black in the greenery on the other side of the road. I pull over, she hands me the camera (unplugs the camera from the inverter), and I don't hurry enough, I just get what turns out to be a mother and baby walk under the barbed wire, deeper into the woods. Carp. This is all we get.

Dang Dang Dang.

We move into ranch territory. I picture bears attacking the horses in the middle of the night, with screams, and people running out the house with Winchesters in their hand.

We pass a field with low green grass, and see a beautiful deer bounce-running, with its white tail sticking straight up. We presume he is warning us that we are coming. We have definitely moved from wildlife country to farm and ranch and horse and tractor and cow country. Oooh, what's that dark animal? It turns out to be a horse bear. Or you may know it as a horse.

The weather changes over to raining weather. We are looking for a place to pull over and have breakfast, and it seems like we're going to be looking for a pullover for breakfast till lunchtime.

We crest a hill and see three vehicles parked on the right side of the road. As we come closer, we see a dark shape on the other side of the road, and as we get even closer we OH MY GOSH see that it's a mama Grizzly and her not-exactly-cub-but-still-little one with her. So here's several things we observe in the next ten minutes.

The cub is playing with a cardboard cup, picking it up, throwing it in the air, sticking it in his mouth, and Sharon says, "It's a Starbuck cup!" Which it indeed is. Sharon points out how much darker the baby is than the mother. {I had heard on our last trip to Alaska that the blond color comes from sun exposure. I remember as a young girl rinsing my hair in lemon juice and then sitting in the sun to lighten my hair. Wonder where she gets the lemon juice out here?}The baby starts across the street towards a car which we notice sports a camouflaged telephoto lens sticking out the window. The fellow honks the horn, and the baby returns to the other side. Now, did he honk because he was afraid of damage to his car, or as I believe, if the cub got too close, he couldn't have focussed. Mama digs something out of the earth, and behaves just like our cat when we give it an object filled with catnip. {She rolled and rubbed her face in it. I wonder if this is like dogs who will roll in dead animal carcusses or is it some root she had dug up that helps her with the mousquitos.} The cub imitated her behavior after she finished. At various times, cars and trucks zoom by and one or both of them zoom back up where they came from, but soon return. We get amazing video and stills, to which you may attest.

And my favorite:

I doubt very seriously whether we are going to get any photos or video that top this. Spectacular.

We finish up, and it's noon Alberta time. 11:00 BC time. We're about two hours from Prince George.

Later, a vehicle coming towards us flashes its lights. I hate that. It means either something's wrong with our rig, the guy's messing with us, or maybe there is another animal ahead of us. I guess it could also mean there's an accident and he's warning us that we're going to have to slow down.

I pull over, and check our lights and give the front end a visual once over. Nothing. Back into the truck. We then notice a car up ahead do a U turn and head back our way {I think at first that it is that photographer again and he is going to tell us about another sighting.}. He pulls along side the truck. We both roll our windows down, and he's a Mountie. "You folks need any help?" he asks. No we say, and tell him about the flashing light guy. He says, "Yes, when we're operatin' out here, people will do that as a warnin'." We say thanks and he splits.

Sharon gets a nice Broad-winged Hawk flying across the road, perching in a tree. I say when an airplane comes in, we say it has landed. When a bird perches in a tree, do we say it landed? Should we say it treed? Hmmm.

We come into the Prince George area.We follow directions and about 1:15 Pacific time, we pull into the Bee Lazee RV Park.

There are O Canada birds everywhere. Lots of flies, but no mosquitoes. 9002 miles on the odometer.

My throat is killing me.

We bird a little bit on the RV Park's nature walk. I play the song of the White-throated Sparrow (O Canada) a few times, and suddenly this dart flies right at us, like he's going to drill us, then at the last possible moment, the White-Throated Sparrow darts to his right and lands in a tree nearby. We get fabulous views, and a vivid brain excitement recording of what just happened.

There are dandelions everywhere. Bears love dandelions. Hmmm. Let's go back to the trailer.

Sharon does our laundry. Thank you Sharon. We both use the showers.

A great, great day. I'll be seeing those bears for years to come.

Sleep well all you kings and princesses of -- no wait, that's from some movie -all you guys.

Bob and Sharon


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