Still Diving North. Still Daily Snow with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

Yesterday’s snow and icy roads, the worst of the trip has ended.  We arrived at Haines Junction, in the Canadian Yukon.

Haines Junction, Yukon. Love the sign

And yes, you can drive to the Alaskan port city of Haines from here.   But we did not.   We are trying to get to Fairbanks or North Pole, Alaska to hire a new realtor.   Our motel in Haines Junction was very comfortable and had a good bar and restaurant nearby.

Alcan Motel in Haines Junction, Yukon Territory, Canada

So we were all happy.   We ordered our dinner and ate in our rooms.   We were exhausted.    Refreshed after a good night’s sleep, driving north, we met a new friend.

Canadian grizzly bear

This Canadian grizzly bear was too busy grazing to pay much attention to us, but we sure admired him.   That bump on his back is typical of grizzly bears, or so says our guidebook.  They can be ferious, but he looks so sweet and hugable.   This partially frozen lake caught our attention.

A winter wonderland

We love to see the winter landscape.   We just don’t love the cold.   Driving past Canadian customs, we have arrived in Alaska, USA.   There are several monuments and signs here.   The Welcome to Alaska.   Looking the other direction, the Welcome to the Yukon, and this friendship bench.

Friendship bench

Canada and the United States have been friends for years, so this bench is a nice place to pause and enjoy the view.   The International Boundary Post shows the actual border, marked by the suveyors.  Before the Alaska Highway, the borders were not so clearly marked.  We quicky cleared US customs and we continued north toward Delta Junction.

Delta Junction, Alaska. Official end of he Alaska Highway

This milepost in Delta Junction marks the official end of the Alaska Highway.  From here there is a main road heading south to Anchorage and Valdez.  Valdez is the end of the Alaska Pipeline, which carries oil from the fields of Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean to Port Valdez on the east side of Prince William Sound.   Here ships wait to carry crude oil into the Pacific Ocean and to various world ports.   Also at Delta Junction, you can drive on the Richardson Highway and go north to Fairbanks.   That is the route we drove.   We were in Delta Junction the first week of May and the Visitor’s Center was not yet open.   Many businesses along our route are only open during the warmer months.   At the Delta Junction Visitor’s Center they have lots of information signs outside.   And this statue of a giant mosquito.   Alaska does have giant mosquitos.   But since the center is not yet open, this mosquito is not yet in its best form.   This photo from last year shows what the mosquito will look like soon.

Mosquitos.

Well, we are only hours away from our next hotel in Fairbanks.

Heading north to Fairbanks, Alaska

Heading down the road, we will reach our Fairbanks destination tonight.

Colorado Traveling Ducks in Canada’s Yukon Territory

Continuing northbound, we are enthralled with the winter scenery.

Frozen River

This frozen river is so beautful.   It is definitely winter weather, some snow each day, and frozen water everywhere, but the days are much longer this far north.   The sun rises before 5:00 a.m. each morning and doesn’t set until after 10:00 p.m.   A few more minutes of daylight is added every day.   And this fellow is always a treat to view.

Black bear

He is one of the first bears we saw.   Actually, the earlier bears appeared and walked into the woods before mom got her camera out.   No matter how many bears we see, we stop to admire each one.   We stop at another rest area.

Picnic area. Statue dedicated to surveyors

This one has a nice picnic area, for later in the summer, and a marker remembering the surveyors that made this road possible.   We enjoy another view of a frozen river.   Imagine this picnic area in the summer, watching the river flow.   So beautiful and peaceful.  Next we see the wild buffalo along the side of the Alaska Highway.

Baby buffalo in the spring

The precipation does not seem to bother mom and baby.   But, as usual, the rain and snow start and stop.

Buffalo along the road

There are several young buffalo with moms here.   A little distance from mom and baby, the dads remain watchful.    Further north we leave British Columbia and enter Canada’s Yukon territory.

Welcome to the Yukon

Chloe, Soapy’s mom and three Colorado Traveling Ducks are happy to see this sign, marking progress on our northern travel.   You may remember that we drove this route last year.   That trip was one way, heading south.   We bought this blue Jeep from the estate of mom’s brother.   Both this year and last year we spent the night in Watson Lake, Yukon.  This time, there is snow on the ground and it is rather cold.

Snow around church in Watson Lake

We liked the Liard Evangical Free Church in Watson Lake.   Originally built in 1942 near the airport, the building was moved here in 1963.  This church is open to all.  Leaving Watson Lake in the morning, we soon encountered snow and icy roads.

Spring time in the Yukon

Driving was trecherous.   But there is beauty with the snow also.

Snow makes trees beautiful

These trees are beautiful.   We pulled into a rest area after the snow stopped.   Our Chloe likes to get out of the car and have some exercie.   Really, we all enjoy the stops.

Snowy mountains from rest area

The mountains blurred by snow are breathtaking to us.   But it is May now and we are ready for some spring warmth and sunshine.   Soon, we think.

Driving North to Alaska with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

That’s right.   We, the Colorado Traveling Ducks, two humans and one dog drove back to North Pole, Alaska.   We were gone for over a month and had a great time.   We needed to interview and choose a new realtor in North Pole, Alaska.   We have mom’s brother’s house that needs to be sold, so we drove directly to North Pole.   That is a town near Fairbanks, Alaska.   Not much stopping on the way north, but we do have a few things to show you along the way.   First photo stop was in Dawson Creek, Alaska.

Beginning of the Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek, B.C. Canada

This is the official  beginning of the Alaska Highway, or the Alcan (Alaska Canadian highway.)   Here we are at the official beginning.   Nearby is an older sign post, covered with stickers from earlier travelers.

Sign with stickers from previous travelers

And we don’t want to forget the statue of the surveyor.

Honoring the surveyors

Surveyors were very important during the building of this highway.   Soapy Smith Duck’s mom and Soapy’s dog, Chloe, are wandering around near the Visitor’s Center in Dawson Creek.

Dawson Creek

But we are a little concerned.   Chloe, our traveling dog, is part pit bull, and Dawson Creek and other Canadian cities have restriction for pit bulls.   We are not sure if part pit bull will be a problem, but we won’t stay long in towns with these restrictions.   Chloe is in the blue Jeep and ready to go.

Chloe is ready to leave Dawson Creek

As we drove north, with the exception of the day we left Denver, we had snow every day.   Some days just a little, and a couple days quite a snow storm took place.   We spent one night here at Northern Rockies Lodge.

Welcome to Northern Rockies Lodge

This is a beautiful log building on the scenic Muncho Lake.

Northern Rockies Lodge

The dining room looks through the trees and onto Muncho Lake.

Dining room with windows and a beautiful view

Today, May 2, the lake is frozen.

Muncho Lake is frozen

We will return here in 2 1/2 weeks and we were amazed at the difference.   But more about that later.  On this road trip there are three of the Colorado Traveling Ducks.  We are me, Zeb the Duck, Soapy Smith Duck and Eider Duck.   Eider Duck lived most of his life in Alaska, so he was very eager to return for a visit.    Closer to the lodge, Chloe and Soapy’s mom arrived up the path from the Muncho Lake.   We didn’t drive very far today.   We spent most of the morning and early afternoon enjoying walking around the lake and soaking in the wintery scenery.   We love Northern Rockies Lodge.

Colorado Traveling Ducks Reach Dawson Creek

This morning we checked out of our hotel, Fort Nelson Hotel in Fort Nelson, British Columbia.

Inside Fort Nelson Hotel. View from our room

This was the view from our room window.    We saw the indoor pool.   Look at the carving on the balcony to our right.   This morning was different.   Our moms said we needed to hurry, we had a long drive today.   What?  We have never known how far we would get any day.   We just drove and stopped to look and explore where ever we wanted.   Something is different today.   We have traveled a little over 1,000 miles in more than one week.   Not traveling very fast or very far each day.   Now, the moms tell us we have to drive about 2,000 miles in three days. OK, we can do this, but why??  Soapy and his mom have flights to visit a friend in Tampa, Florida.   OK, let’s get going.   We are still driving through and admiring the gorgeous scenery, of course.   First stop is in Dawson Creek, British Columbia.    This is the official beginning (or for us, the end) of the Alaska Highway.

Official beginning of Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek

We enjoyed our trip, but why was the Alaska Highway built, and why did it need to be completed so fast?   The tourist information says this:   The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 forced the America and Canadian governments to re-evaluate the security of North America.  They needed a secure supply route to haul military goods and materials from the lower states to Alaska and it had to be completed in less than one year.   The story of the men, the equipment, and their triumphs over nature to open the northern passage is as legendary as the men who risked their lives to build the highway.  Next to the official beginning of the Alaska Highway is another sign explaining things, but it is covered with bumper stickers now.   But you can see it is mile 0 here.

Milepost 0. Lots of bumper stickers here.

This is an exciting drive for many motorists.   Across the street, we saw the Surveyor Statue.

Surveyor Statue

This statue is a tribute to the tens of thousands of men who arrived in Dawson Creek in the spring of 1942 to build the Alaska Highway.  The Iron Surveyor statue stands as a reminder of the amazing feat and of those who lost their lives in the effort.  Standing above the traffic circle that leads you onto the famous highway, the surveyor points northwest along the path that became first a mud track and finally the paved highway we have today.   Created by local sculptor, Karl Mattson, whose family has ranched in the region for generations, the statue is welded from scrap metal from local farms.   The clothing and surveyor’s transit are true to the style of the 1940’s.  If you go to Dawson Creek, spend some time here to visit museums and walk around the town.   There is so much history and so many interesting things to see here.  But we have to keep driving for the next there days.   Our next stop was for a beaver.

World’s Largest Beaver in Beaverlodge, Alberta, Canada

Here we are in Beaverlodge, Alberta, Canada.   In 2004 this giant statue of a beaver was built here, next to the Visitor’s Center.   Each town along the Alaska Highway and roads leading to Dawson Creek, try to have a reason for travelers and tourists to stop.   Beaverlodge has, according to Roadside America, the world’s largest beaver.   This beaver is 15 feet tall, 18 feet long and sits on a log that is 20 feet long.   And, weighs 3,000 pounds.   The beaver was built to commemorate the town’s 75th anniversary.   This was our last photo stop.   We drove to Edmonton, Canada tonight.   The next day we drove south through Calgary, Canada and into Great Falls, Montana, USA.   Another long drive and we arrived home, west of Denver, Colorado.   This was a great trip, but of course, we did not see everything.   Some day we would like to drive leisurely, through the USA and Canada to Dawson Creek.   There is so much more to see, but maybe???  So many place to see, so little time to travel and explore.  We hope you drive all or part of the way to Fairbanks, Alaska.   It was beautiful and fun.

British Columbia’s Alaska Highway with Colorado Traveling Ducks

We may be in a different Canadian province, but the scenery is every bit as beautiful.   Perhaps more trees and vegetation.   And this.

Bison near forest

A small herd of bison.   Road signs said to watch for bison, and here they are.   And that forest is beautiful also.   This mom bison wanted to move a little further on the grass, but baby said no.

Baby is hungry

And they did not go until baby said it was time to move.   Really no difference in behavior between human babies and bison babies.   Babies, so small, but seem to be in charge of many things.  Continuing we come to this magnificent bridge.

Lower Liard River Bridge

This is Lower Liard River Bridge.   It is 24.65 meters (94 ft) tall and 307 meters (1143 feet) long.   Built in 1943 this is the only suspension bridge on the Alaska Highway.  Soon we see sheep.

Stone Sheep

Milepost, the Alaska Travel Planner, says we are probably seeing Stone Sheep.  This group is busy licking the ground for necessary minerals.   But this one is watching us.

He sees us!

Maybe he likes to watch traveling ducks as much as we like to watch Stone Sheep.  Here is Northern Rockies Lodge.

Northern Rockies Lodge

This lodge is located on the shores of beautiful Muncho Lake.

Lodge on beautiful Muncho Lake

If we are ever back here, we all want to stay at this lodge.   And for a couple days.   Look at this.

Float plane on Muncho Lake

The float planes can take us out for a one day fishing trip.   Or a sightseeing flight over this area.   There are smaller boats here also.   We saw some tourists on jet skis.   Aren’t these cabins wonderful?

Cabins at lodge

We would love to stay in one.   But we didn’t know about this lodge and we didn’t know when we would be here.   Maybe another time?  Here is our bear for today.

Our last bear

When we saw him, we didn’t know that this would be our last bear sighting on this trip.  Maybe he did.   He seems to be walking away from us.   One last scenic view for this post.

View of Sawthooth Mountains

This is a view of the Sawtooth Mountains.  Being from Colorado, we have beautiful mountains and gorgeous scenery.   The difference here is a lack of humans.   We can stop and watch whatever we want, and there are no other tourists here.   There is very little traffic on the Alaska Highway now.   Perhaps later in the summer it will be more traveled, but now it is just perfect for us.   We hope you take the time to discover this beautiful, uncrowded part of our world.

Watson Lake. Colorado Traveling Ducks Visit Sign Post City

We are in Watson Lake.   This will be our last community in the Yukon Territory.   But what a community!  Driving into the community of Watson Lake, we see something unusual.

Are those sign posts?

Are these sign posts?   Oh yes.   Not just a few signs, but so many.

Sign Post Forest, Watson Lake

This is Watson Lake’s most famous attraction.

Sign Post Forest of Watson Lake

We are at the Sign Post Forest.   OK, but why are all these signposts here?

How did this start?

This sign explains the beginning.   Just think, all these signs are the result of a homesick American from Danville, Illinois.   Apparently he was not the only one suffering from a little homesickness.

Sign Post Forest, Watson Lake

Look at all these signs.   The Alaska Highway was started March 8, 1942.   More than 11,000 soldiers and engineers, 16,000 civilians and 7,000 pieces of equipment built this 1,500 mile road through the vast wilderness of northern Canada and Alaska.   In less than 9 months Dawson Creek, British Columbia and Delta Junction, Alaska were connected.    What an accomplishment.   Once Carl Lindley put up the first sign, the idea really caught on and everyone started putting up signs.

Sign Post Forest, Watson Lake

Even with these panoramas, there was no way mom could get photos to show the thousands of signs, everywhere.   We ducks enjoyed sitting on the bridge and reading some signs.

A bridge in Sign Post Forest, Watson Lake

We went to the Visitor’s Center in Sign Post Forest.   They were very helpful and so nice.   If humans have a sign to add to the forest, the Visitor’s Center will provide a hammer and guide humans to the area where new signs can be placed.   Our moms said if we ever come here again, we will bring a sign to add.

Sign Post Forest, Watson Lake

Leaving the Visitor’s Center, we looked more and are still rather speechless at all the signs.   Our guide book says Sign Post Forest is one of The Yukon’s most famous landmarks and contains over 72,000 unique signs.  Looking down the main street (The Alaska Highway), we liked the international flags.

Main Street, Watson Lake

As you can see, Watson Lake is not a large town.

Main Street, Watson Lake

According to Wikipedia, the 2016 census showed a population of 790 permanent residents.   Our hotel was clean and comfortable.   The restaurant served great food.   If you are looking for an interesting place to get away from it all, you might like Watson Lake, Yukon Territory, Canada.   Heading south in the morning, we once again saw an adorable bear along the road.   Of all the bear photos mom took, this just might be her favorite.

Favorite bear photo. Is he watching us?

Isn’t he looking right back at us as we look at and admire him.   We were thrilled to see bears along the road in the Yukon almost every day.   Continuing through the beautiful scenery, we left the Yukon Territory and entered beautiful British Columbia.

Leaving Yukon Territory and entering British Columbia

We are enjoying our scenic drive through Canada.

Teslin Tlingit Heritage Center with Colorado Traveling Ducks

Here in the Canadian Yukon Territory, we discovered a Heritage Center and it is located on beautiful Teslin Lake.   The Yukon is beautiful!   Let’s stop and explore the Teslin Tlingit Heritage Center.

Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre

It was cool and cloudy, so the walk to the entrance is rather dark.

Walkway to enter Heritage Center

But we loved these totem poles.

Totem Pole

If you have visited southeast Alaska, you may have seen some items from the Tlingit Indians.   There are many totem poles in Ketchikan, Alaska and other Alaskan towns.   Entering the Heritage Center, we stopped to look in the gift shop.   They have many beautifully made items, but we wanted to see the exhibits here.

Great masks

These masks are fantastic.   Remembering that -40 temperatures are common, we really liked the furs.

Such beautiful work. Love the boots

We would love those boots in our Colorado mountains.   Of course, other items are also needed.

All made carefully by hand

Things must be hand made.   No nearby shopping mall.   There were so many fascinating exhibits and we hope you visit here.   But the setting of the Heritage Center is breath taking.

Picnic anyone?

From the back of the center, you can access the lake and enjoy a picnic.   Or just sit and admire the view.   The view from the side is equally beautiful.

Another picnic area by Teslin Lake

And the building has beautiful large windows for year around viewing.   We love these canoes.

Canoes

Aren’t they large and attractive?   Too bad no canoe rides for us today.   So many picnic tables and areas here.

So many picnic areas

This is perfect and so many people can enjoy the lake and the beautiful Yukon views.   Ducks and humans are so in awe of the beauty of nature here in the Yukon.   A few miles south of Teslin Tlingit Heritage Center is Nisutlin Trading Post and Motel.

Police car. Officer looks so real

Of course, we, like most drivers on the Alaska Highway, stop for gas at every gas station.   You never know if the next one is open or if it has gas.   This police car is great and the officer looks so real from the road.   No speeding here.   We loved our time outside today, but our favorite Canadian was enjoying a snack along the road.

Happily eating

We saw a bear about every day and we always pulled over to watch them eat and admire them.   This drive is beautiful.   And both relaxing and invigorating with the incredible Yukon scenery.