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 51. Day 51. Tue, June 24. Whitehorse to Watson Lake.

 

Having enjoyed two nights rest in Whitehorse, I feel lots better, though the terrible cough is still with me. We have planned to wake up at 4 am, be on the road as soon as we can, and look for wild animals. We love to do this.

We're on the road at 4:22. We beat the sunrise, a tough feat in Alaska, but easier here in Canada, and on the downside of the summer solstice. The days are getting shorter.

 

Sharon points out all the little coffee huts, designed for winter driveup for patrons who don't have to get out of the car. Get your coffee and move on.

Just after 4:30, we pass over a light blue bridge, with a big lake on the left and right. Sharon has just seen a beaver or otter. Her best guess is beaver since it wasn't snaking back and forth, like an otter.

5:15 and I get a wonderful porcupine on the left side, but he scurries down before I can get stopped and get a camera on him. Sharon fires up the video camera, but it is of no use. Dangit, he was a looker too. Or she.

Sharon makes fun of a sign pointing to the right. It's the something or other "matol." She says "m-o-t-e-l, not matol". Come on.

A little further on, and Sharon spots something swimming in the big lake to our left. By the time I get stopped, the road has bent to the right, and I have to stop, grab the camera, and hurry back to where I can see the lake through thick brush. While, I'm peering through the brush, I hear a huge ker-plop, like something has dropped into the water from a great height. Then another. Then I see the beaver. It was his danger slap. Ker-plunk. Very cool. I get a video, and it is clear that its a beaver, but you have to look between the brush stems to see.

Sharon gets a rabbit on the road, on the right. I miss it, as it hops off the road a little before six.

A few minutes later, we cross the Teslin River, at Johnson's Crossing. Over a big bridge, of course.

About a quarter after six, I start slowing down as Sharon sees what I see - a small round black ball in the road ahead, and on the left side. It's definitely a black bear. I slow down to a stop so as not to scare it, but it lengthens out, and walks off the road, into some brush. We wait a few minutes, and I walk over with the video camera, hoping to shoot up the ditch to where the bear is, but it's a disappearing bear. Dangit. No photos or video.

I call out "boot" and Sharon says What? I say "boot" - I just saw a boot standing on the side of the road.

I love the bridge crossings, and here comes another one.

A little before seven and there is a bunny rabbit on the road. I slow down, but not fast enough and it zips off to the right. Sharon says next time, stop.

We stop for bathroom and breakfast a few minutes before eight. We eat and have a 30 minute nap, then its back on the road.

A little before 9 am and we cross into British Columbia. This is the area, where the road crosses back and forth a few times between the Yukon and BC.

To illustrate, at a quarter till ten, we drift back into the Yukon, then it's the Continental Divide a few minutes later.

Ten thirty and I slow down because I see a big dark bird on the left side of the road. I figure a raven. But then I notice two little balls rolling along the road in front of the bird. What? We make it out to be a Ptarmigan of some kind with her babies. There are three kinds of ptarmigan, and we eliminate two of them based on geography and some specific coloring. We make it to be a Willow Ptarmigan. We get a couple of fabulous videos, and this single shot of mama and a tiny black (actually clearly yellow, in the video) ball of a chick.

12:30 and we pull into the Petro Canada in Watson Lake. The same refueling station we used on the way up, Sharon recalls, but I don't. Not until I go inside, then I remember.

At four minutes past one, we are in place at the "lovely" Downtown RV Park. We have chosen it in spite of the fact that we believe it will be a parking lot situation, side by side with a rig on either side, about six feet away each, but it has cable TV, which we are craving right now, especially because we want to watch America's Got Talent tonight. 13985 on the odometer. {Once again, we decided to wash the rig (Bob gets some Loonies as it costs 2 Loonies for 5 minutes) but we still don't have the energy and tell ourselves."We'll probably just get dirty again anyway"}

 

That's it for tonight,
Bob and Sharon


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