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.

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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.

Yukon Transportation Museum with Colorado Traveling Ducks

A short walk and here we are at the Yukon Transportation Museum.

Yukon Transportation Museum in Whitehorse

After paying our admission fee, we wandered through the gift shop.   Soon you will see what we bought.   Focusing on transportation here, we immediately were attracted to this canoe.

A canoe. Introducing Yukon Duck

Yes, there are now 4 Colorado Traveling Ducks.   Our newest addition is an engineer for the train, but we call him Yukon Duck.  During the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898, the train connected Whitehorse on the Yukon River with Skagway, Alaska.

Train between Whitehorse, YT and Skagway, Alaska

Skagway is a little over 100 miles away and is a seaport.   Miners needed to get supplies and gold was often shipped out of Alaska.   Here is an early car for the Yukon Territory.

Early car

Most of the year it is winter here, so travel was done by sled.

Sled for traveling

Conditions were not safe for travel if the temperature was -40 (the same temperature for F and C).   How to know if it was too cold?  A bottle of Perry Davis Pain Killer was placed outside by the window.   If the bottle became frozen, it was “too damn cold for man or beast.”  We ducks don’t want to be out when it is -40.   There is more than one famous dog sled race in the area.   This sled is from the Yukon Quest.

Sled for Yukon Quest

The race is between Whitehorse, YT and Fairbanks, Alaska.  The starting point alternates between Whitehorse and Fairbanks each year.   Spectators can see the beginning one year and the finish the next.   This exhibit was something new to us.

Lost in the Yukon

Lost in the Yukon was about a plane crash in 1963 and a great survival story of two people.  These two, Ralph Flores and Helen Klaben survive for 49 days.   They endured painful injuries, starvation, weeks of -40 or colder, and the long dark Yukon winter.  In March, Ralph stomped SOS on a frozen snow covered swamp.   The SOS was seen and they were rescued March 26, 1963.   In 1975 Helen wrote a book about the survival titled, “Hey, I’m Alive”  A movie was also made in 1975.   Maybe we will watch it this winter??  In the airplane hanger, we admired many airplanes.

Planes in Yukon Transportation Museum

Flying is often the only way to travel in the far north.   We liked this helicopter, also.

Helicopter. Yukon Transportation Museum

The Yukon Transportation Museum is next to Whitehorse International Airport.

Whitehorse International Airport

We we impressed by the Plane Vane.

Plane weather vane

This sign explains it best.   A real plane with a long history and now a weather vane.   We want to show you that it really does move.   It was not very windy the day we visited, but you can see from these 2 photos that the plane did move.

Side view of plane

 

Wind moved plane

According to http://www.RoadsideAmerica.com   this is the world’s largest weather vane.  We are getting hungry.   After a great day in Whitehorse, it is time for dinner.   Klondike Rib and Salmon restaurant is next to our hotel.

Klondike Rib and Salmon

The reviews were great and the food was fantastic.   The humans ordered salmon and also halibut.   Both were very fresh and cooked to perfection.  Humans and ducks loved it.   The restaurant is housed in the 2 oldest operating buildings in the Yukon Capital.   The menu had a history of the building.  The dining room was originally opened as a tent frame bakery called, MacMillian’s Bakery around 1900.   The main building was Klondike Airways, a mail and flight business.   In the 1930’s the building was used as a carpentry shop and coffins were constructed for a mortuary in downtown Whitehorse.   Today we have this Quaint Little “Northern Klondike Theme Restaurant.”  With winters of -40, this little wall tent buttons up in the fall and goes into hibernation each year until Mother’s Day.  We ducks like menus that tell us about the restaurant, so this is a favorite with us.

Klondike Rib and Salmon tent area

There really is a tent area of this restaurant.   Great in the summer, but too cold in the winter.  This was a great day in Whitehorse, and we welcome Yukon Duck to our duck family.

Whitehorse Museums with Colorado Traveling Ducks

We are still in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.   We love it here.   This morning we wandered around town, found a grocery store and purchased snacks for our room.   Yep…Humans and ducks love to snack.  Now we are heading to Yukon Beringia Interpretive Center.

Yukon Beringia Interpretive Center

This is a great cultural and historical place.   We didn’t go inside, we just looked at and admired the vast outdoor exhibits.   Never enough time to do everything.  Meet Woolly Mammoth.

Woolly Mammoth

He used to live here.   Doesn’t he remind you of a shaggy elephant with smaller ears?   I think so.   Oh look.

Young Woolly Mammoth

This Woolly Mammoth is closer to our size.     Can we go for a short ride little Woolly Mammoth?   Apparently not.   The sign says carcasses of Woolly Mammoth have been discovered here.  Carcasses, complete with hair, skin and internal organs have been preserved in the Beringia permafrost.   These giant animals lived here tens of thousands of years ago.   They survived periods both hotter and colder than today’s temperatures.   This is the biggest beaver we have ever seen.

Giant Beaver

These giant beavers lived in the Yukon’s Old Crow basin region.  They were 8 feet (2.5 meters) tall and weighed 480 pounds (218 kilos).   These giant beavers roamed this area 130,000 to 60,000 years ago.   Now what is this?

Pay phone

A pay phone?   Once very popular and common in the United States, it is rare to find a pay phone at home.   Now most people carry a cell phone.   We like to see phone booths.   Here is an Eskimo in his canoe, or kayak.

Eskimo

The common way to travel the Yukon River and other bodies of water during the summer when the water is not frozen.   OK, what other animals formerly called this Beringia area home?

Statues of former residents

We recognize this musk ox.  We ducks are in front of him.  He resembles Africa’s Cape Buffalo.   Notice that these animals all need heavy skin and thick coats to survive the brutal Yukon winters.   We like seeing animals.   There are many signs here explaining the permafrost.   The ground never thaws a short distance from the surface.   One result is surface water cannot penetrate the permafrost, so the soil above permafrost is quite wet.   If the permafrost does melt, due to natural weather or human actions, the melting permafrost causes the ground to be unstable.   This place makes us think about so many new things.   Also, signs show how to read the story of climate change in riverbank layers.

Riverbed layers of earth

We can see several layers in this riverbank.   These are natural layers, not things cemented together.   So much to learn.   So little time.   We are now headed to the Yukon Transportation Museum.   We will show you what we find next time.

Whitehorse, Canada with Zeb, Soapy and Eider Duck

Canada’s Yukon Territory is huge, beautiful, and certainly not crowded.   We love it!   We are entering Whitehorse, the capital of Canada’s Yukon Territory.   Look at this welcome horse, the Whitehorse Horse.

The Whitehorse Horse

What is this made from?   What is the story behind this horse?

About that horse…

Now you know.   A contest winner and we have a great horse.   This is near the Pubic Safety Building in Whitehorse.   We like the fireman.

Fireman

Safety is important.  We found a hotel right downtown, so we could walk to the Yukon River.

By the Yukon River in downtown Whitehorse

Near our bench, we marveled at this giant totem pole.

Tall totem pole

Walking a few blocks, we smiled at this taller than life Canadian Mounty.

Canadian Mounty. Larger than life

Could be a surprise if you stayed in a room on the third floor, looked out your window in the morning, and saw this Mounty’s head by your room.  But we liked him.   Carving wood must be popular here.   This owl is wonderful.

Watchful owl

Don’t you just love it?  We heard this was a highly rated restaurant, so we tried Dirty Northern Public House.

Dirty Northern Public House. Great dinner here

The decor was so northern woods, the service great, people were friendly and delicious food.  We were so happy we ate here.   Maybe you will try it also when you’re in Whitehorse.  Walking back to our hotel, we could not miss this slab of native copper.   This weighs 2,590 pounds, or 1,175 kilos.

Slab of Native Copper. 2,590 pounds!

Discovered in 1905 in the upper White River, 250 miles NW of Whitehorse, this is the Yukon’s largest copper nugget.   The sign says it is possibly a Canadian record for the largest copper nugget.  We, ducks and moms, liked Whitehorse and we all agreed that we wanted an extra day here to explore more.   Guess we better tell our hotel we want to stay another night.   Yes!  We like Whitehorse.