... And a Porcupine
Fort Nelson to Watson Lake
June 1, 2017
Miles Driven: 317
Sunrise (Fort Nelson): 4:11am / Sunset (Watson Lake): 10:44pm
Latitude: 58.81N to 60.06N
National Parks Visited: 0
Wacky Roadside Attractions: 4
Bears, moose, caribou, stone sheep, wood bison… and a porcupine (which was rather annoyed with us when we tried to photograph it). I did not get a picture; but Nicole did, I believe. We also saw a ruffed grouse. The wildlife was on such full display as we crested the Northern Rockies that after a while our oohing and awing was reduced to short verbal queues from break-stomping, head-turning, wild gestures. Except for the bears. We still braked for bears at the end of the day.
Our drive today took us over the Rockies through a spectacular bombardment of mountain scenery. Turquoise lakes, crystal clear streams, glorious greens, snow covered peaks, and tumbled rocks. The landscape was quite different from yesterday’s low rolling forests and river valleys. There were fewer towns, more campgrounds. But the farther we travel, the feeling remains that we are getting further away from civilization into a place where life is rawer and much, much nearer.
Tetsa River Lodge. Nevertheless, what would a road trip be like without a few kitschy fun stops. Today, even in the remote Rockies, we found a couple. Our first stop out of Fort Nelson was to try the world-famous Tetsa cinnamon buns. They were humongous and delicious. Half of mine is still in the car. This is a great place to stop and watch the world pass, roll in hand and a coffee on the side, relaxing in a chair on the porch.
Toad River Lodge. Hats. Hats. And more hats. If you are passing by. Bring your old hats. Tack them to the ceiling.
Sign Post Forest. The ads do not do it justice. It winds on in a breathtaking maze of displayed vandalism. There are street signs from around the world, all neatly tacked up on poles easily covering an acre. Not all are clearly ‘borrowed’ from afar; many are homemade mementos of road trips past. The tradition started back in 1942 when a homesick soldier decided to affix a bit of home help him cope. Just like bringing an old hat for the Toad River Lodge, bring a sign to add here.
In The Gateway to the Yukon we capped our day viewing two shows in the planetarium at the Northern Lights Center (conveniently across from the Sign Post Forest). One, of course, was about the aurora borealis. The other, oddly enough on today of all days, was on climate change. I’ll pass on one tidbit, something I learned tonight: Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system. Not Mercury. Why? Carbon dioxide. Think about that. Mercury is closer, but Venus is warmer. The only reason we aren’t baked by an oppressive atmosphere like Venus is life. That bear, that moose, that caribou, bison, sheep, grouse… and that porcupine. And a billion, billion plankton, which by the way are dying as our oceans warm.
Until tomorrow from Whitehorse, Yukon…