Hello Montana. Colorado Traveling Ducks Return to the United States

I, Zeb the Duck, and my fellow Colorado Traveling Ducks, Soapy Smith Duck, and Eider Duck, loved our road trip.   We loved visiting Alaska.  We appreciated the beauty and friendly people in Canada.   But it is always good to get back home.   While not near Colorado yet, we entered the United States and are now in the state of Montana.

Entering Montana, USA

Entering Montana just east of Glacier National Park, we are in the Blackfeet Nation.

Entering Blackfeet Nation

Such a beautiful area.   This was late May so the snow covered mountains greeted us.   We appreciated these metal sculptures.

Metal sculptures

This, Chief Mountain, is 9080 feet ( 2768 meters) above sea level.

Chief Mountain

While we were admiring Chief Mountain, a Montana State Patrol car pulled over to talk to us.   Yes, mom was a little nervous.  Why do humans get nervous when police cars stop to talk to them?   He was so nice.  He just wanted to tell us to take the first right turn ahead and we would see great scenery and better views of Chief Mountain.   We took the advice of the officer.   He was right.   This is Chief Mountain.

Chief Mountain

Continuing, we soon entered Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park

Driving on the road, the mountains were beautiful with a sunbeam shining through the clouds and trees and steam from the road rising to meet us.

Beautiful

Isn’t the world a beautiful place?   Driving and admiring the mountains, we entered Waterton Glacier International Peace Park.   Glacier National Park is in the USA and Waterton National Park is in Canada.

Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

Our countries have good relations so the two parks are the International Peace Park.   These snowy mountains fascinate us.

Snowy mountain

This is late May and the weather is getting warmer.   As the mountain snow melts, we begin to see small streams and small rapids.

Snow is melting

Now we have arrived at another customs station.

US Canada Customs station

We do not want to return to Canada tonight, so we turn around and admire more scenery.

Chief Mountain with lake

Chief Mountain is a great backdrop for this lake.   But we also encountered these horses grazing.

Horses

This gray horse is grazing close to the road.

Horse

He seems more interested in the grass than he is in us.   Hey humans, it is getting late and we have not seen any motels that are open.   Many will open this weekend.   Monday is Memorial Day, the official beginning of summer traveling season.   Driving further we can’t resist one more photo of the Rocky Mountains.

Evening mountain view

Ok, now to get serious and look for a motel.   We spend the night in Browning, Montana.   Next time we will show you more of Montana, during the day.

Northern Rockies Lodge, a Bear, and Colorado Traveling Ducks

Continuing south, I was looking forward to our next hotel.   We had reservations at the Northern Rockies Lodge again.   I love that place.   Here is a group of buffalo grazing on the side of the road.

Buffalo gazing

We always see buffalo along this part of the road.   I love them.   They are so big and every time we pass through here we see baby buffalo.   Of course, we have only been here in May and June.     Here is beautiful Muncho Lake.

Muncho Lake

This sign explains why the water seems green.

Such a beautiful color for the lake

The colors of nature are so beautiful.   We love this drive because we see so much of nature, untouched by humans.   We have arrived.

This is the view from the balcony of my room.

From our balcony

It seems like we always need to go somewhere and can only stay here at Northern Rockies Lodge for one night.   But we do spend more time here the next day, so everything is good.   We stay in the main lodge, but there is a camp ground and several cabins.

Cabins for rent

Mom takes around the lake.   There is so much more open water now compared to when we stopped here going north.   The ice is melting.

Muncho Lake

We just love the reflection of clouds and mountain in the lake.

Muncho Lake

The colors are so vivid.   Just beautiful.   It is a sunny day so mom has us, ducks and Chloe, by the lake.   Soapy’s mom is getting food from the restaurant and we will have a picnic by Muncho Lake.

Soapy’s mom is bringing food from restaurant. We will have a picnic lunch by Muncho Lake

We are at the table, just waiting for food.

Soapy’s mom bringing lunch

Soapy’s mom brings the food.   We eat and enjoy watching the lake and shore, but what is this??

A bear coming around the curve.

Coming around the bend in the shoreline, a black bear strolls into the lodge grounds.   We were just walking there about 30 minutes ago.  That is the same curve we saw behind Soapy’s mom carrying our lunch.    Did the bear see us, Colorado Traveling Ducks and Chloe?   Did he smell our lunch?  The bear keeps heading towards us.

Keeps coming. Used a little zoom here. Not quite that close.

Mom used the camera’s zoom.   He was close, but certainly not that close.  But he looks so cute and cuddly.   Then he turns and goes between the cabins.   We decide is time to leave the lake area and head to the lodge.  Our Chloe was very cool.   We know she saw the bear, but she just acted like she saw nothing.   And the bear also acted like he saw nothing.   This definitely is bear country.   We saw 13 bear by the road as we drove here yesterday.

One of 13 bears by the road yesterday. We love them all.

We walk back to the lodge and many tourists are talking about the bear.   He walked through the cabin area, using one of our favorite paths, crossed the road and wandered into the woods and out of sight.

Path between Muncho Lake and main road

This is a path, the one the bear used.   Well, lunch is eaten.  It is time for us to head south again.

Whitehorse, YT south to Watson Lake, YT with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

Arriving late in Whitehorse, I insisted on returning to my benches on the Yukon River.

Sun setting on the Yukon River

This is my favorite evening place in Whitehorse.   And it is after 10:00 p.m.   This is beautiful.   In the morning we drive south, time to return to Colorado.   This is a rest area we visited on the trip north.

Rest area

There was a snow storm then.   Nicer with some sun today.   Continuing south we cross a Yukon River Bridge.

Yukon River Bridge

This is a really long bridge.   One of the longest we have seen on the Alaska Highway.   Another rest area appealed to us and to Chloe, our Colorado Traveling Dog.

Another rest area by lake

We wandered through the trees and admired the lake.   Chloe loved running and frolicking here.  Watson Lake is a town in the southern Yukon Territory.   We always stop here for food and a motel.   A main attraction on the Alaska Highway is the Sign Post Forest.

How Sign Post Forest began

We are fascinated with the thousands of signs here.   It was accidentally started when a worker was injured while building the Alaska Highway.   He was a little homesick for his home in Danville, Illinois.   While recovering, he put up a sign for his hometown of Danville.  Soon others added signs from their hometowns.

Sign Post Forest

You can see there are thousands of signs here now.

Sign Post Forest

It was impossible for mom to get a photo with all of them.   So many, and in every direction.

Sign Post Forest

We forget to make and bring a sign to add, but look under the second license plate from Wyoming.

Card for Colorado Traveling Ducks

The business card with a blue border is ours.   It is for The Colorado Traveling Ducks.   And there is more.

Card for Arlington Medical Transcription

Under Soapy Smith Duck, you can see a business card for Arlington Medical Transcription.   That is Soapy’s mom’s business.   No big signs for us, but we did leave some cards to tell others we were here also.   The Sign Post Forest is one of the major tourist stops on the Alaska Highway.   Just fun to see signs from all over the world.   If you go, maybe bring a sign to add to the forest.

Skagway back to Whitehorse with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

Skagway was a lot of fun.   The South Klondike Highway takes us from Skagway, back to Canada, onto the Alaska Highway and into Whitehorse.   Our last look at Skagway is beautiful.

Skagway with cruise ship

A cruise ship is in port today and the sky is cloudy, adding a sense of adventure and uncertainty.

Birds gliding over Tiaya Inlet

Further along the Tiaya Inlet, the birds fly over the water toward the mountains.   Leaving Alaska, clearing Canadian customs, we stop at Goat Lake Hydroelectric Project.

Goat Lake Hydroelectric Project

Goat Lake is high in the mountains.   Much of Pitch Fork Falls is clear of ice.

Pitchfork Falls

We love waterfalls.   The mountain scenery is beautiful.   Such a large attraction for this drive.   Passing through Carcross, passing the Carcross Desert, we had to make another stop at Emerald Lake.

Emerald Lake

We love the colors of the lake.   It seems that we are back in bear country.

Black bear

This black bear is in no hurry as he grazes by the road.   Something white is moving on the side of the mountain.

Dall sheep

Dall sheep are common in this area.   This one has been jumping around eating any available vegetation.   A sudden start from this sheep, and a few rocks slide down the mountain onto the road.   Our mini rockslide.   But enough to get us to move on.   But more animals.

Two grizzlies

Another mom and cub grizzly bear.   We certainly are enjoying seeing the bears and other animals.   The mountain scenery along this road is spectacular.

Love the rugged, snowy mountains

We were not planning on a side trip to Skagway, but we are so glad we went.   Skagway is fun, but this drive is outstanding.   And no traffic.   We hope you see this area for yourself.   It is beautiful.

Carcross Desert in Yukon Territory with Colorado Traveling Ducks

Today we are leaving the Alaska highway and going to Skagway.   Skagway is a port city in Alaska.   The Alaska Sate ferry, part of the Marine Highway stops here.   Skagway is a very popular cruise ship port.   It is also one of the few cities in southeast Alaska that are accessible by roads.   We will see tourist stops in Skagway, something missing from most of our road trip.   Let’s go.

Whitehorse, south to Carcross and continuing to Skagway

You have to see Carcross, Yukon Territory.   Carcross, Canadian Yukon Territory, situated on the shores of Lake Bennett, was formerly known as Caribou Crossing.

Carcross, YT on shore of Lake Bennett

But there was a problem.   The Yukon, British Columbia and Alaska all had towns named Caribou Crossing.  Mail delivery wasn’t so good.   So, now we have Carcross in the Canadian Yukon.

Carcross Visitor’s Center with Welcome Man Crest

The Yukon Visitor’s Center here has the “Welcome Man” crest.   As do the community buildings.

Carcross Community buildings

Also featured are totem poles.

Totem poles

These are made by Native carver, Keith Smarch.   Carcross was a stopping place for gold stampeders in the late 1890s.   It was also a stopping place on the White Pass and Yukon Railroad during that same gold rush.   But there is something special about Carcross.   It is home to the world’s smallest desert.

Carcross Desert

This small desert is 640 acres or 1 square mile (2.6 square kilometers).   Carcross Tagish First Nation has constructed a single track bike trail which attracts international cyclists.

Carcross Desert

This desert has mountains for a background and some trees.

Carcross desert along road

Carcross desert is right along the highway.   But it is really a desert?

Desert? Ancient lake bed?

It has been called the world’s smallest desert, but we learned that really is the remains of an ancient lake.   And insects?

Rare insects

This is the home to some rare insects and some even more rare insects that are only found here, in the Carcross Desert.

Carcross desert

One more view of the world’s smallest desert, with our dog Chloe.   A few miles north of Carcross Desert is Emerald Lake.

Emerald Lake

We Colorado Traveling Ducks love this lake.   It is sometimes referred to as Rainbow Lake.

Emerald Lake

Aren’t the colors fantastic?   We love the green in the water.   Our guide book says the color comes from blue-green light waves, reflecting off the white sediment of the lake bottom.   This white sediment, called marl, consists of fragments of decomposed shell mixed with clay.

Emerald Lake

But we just think it is beautiful.   If you drive between Whitehorse, Yukon Territory and Skagway, Alaska, be sure to stop and admire these lakes, and explore Carcross Desert.

Colorado Traveling Ducks Ride on the Yukon River

Captain Ken and his boat are on the Yukon River just south of downtown Whitehorse.

Captain Ken and our boat

Let’s get on the boat.   No other passengers, just 2 humans, 3 ducks and 1 dog with Captain Ken.

Heading down the Yukon

Heading down the Yukon.   The sun is sometimes out, but it is still cold.   Jackets and life vests keep the humans warm.  The wind from boating down the Yukon is cold, and rather strong.   We, the Colorado Traveling Ducks, are staying warm and safe in our travel bags.  That first picture is our only appearance on the Yukon River boat trip.

Entering Miles Canyon on Yukon River

Entering Miles Canyon, we are amazed at the green water.   Soapy’s mom and dog are in the front of the boat.

Historic Canyon City. Not much left now

This bench and sign is the only remains of Canyon City.   Canyon City was important as early miners waited here for transport through the canyon.

The Yukon River widens

We are now at a wider part of the Yukon River.

Eagles on the Yukon

These eagles did not pay much attention to us, but we noticed them.  Captain Ken docked the boat on the banks of the Yukon so we could get out, stretch our legs, and walk around.

Chloe on ridge along Yukon River

Chloe immediately climbed this steep hill for a better view.

Chloe coming down to Yukon River

Then decided to dash back down.

Chloe in the Yukon River

Climbing and running must have made Chloe thirsty.   The water is very cold and drops off fairly close to the edge.   But Chloe was careful.   Before heading back, Captain Ken had a contest about finding something that was not natural.   A little confusing, but Soapy’s mom found it.   A faint peace sign had been put on a mountain.  Not a good photo.   Soapy’s mom’s prize was a native blue rock.

We like native rocks. This is Soapy’s mom’s prize

It is pretty, but here it almost looks like and M & M candy.   The contest was fun and made us really look at the river bank.

Practicing for Yukon River Quest

We are heading back now.   These people are practicing for the Yukon River Quest.   That is the world’s longest annual canoe and kayak race.  Stand Up Paddleboarding is also included in the race, beginning in 2016.   They race 444.28 miles (715 km) from Whitehorse northwest to Dawson City, Yukon Territory.   The race began Wednesday, June 26, 2019, at noon.   The race will end 9:00 pm Saturday June 29, 2019.   This, the 21st year, there were 117 vessels, a new record, that competed.

Still patches of snow along Yukon

Back in Miles Canyon we again admire the green water and see the snow still on the canyon wall.   The canyon wall is basalt lava flows and cones that erupted and flowed across an ancient pre-glacial landscape in south central Yukon.   This was formed 8.5 million years ago.   Captain Ken said the lava seeped through the rock walls.   These balsalt walls are fascinating to see.  During the gold rush days, cruising this canyon was trecherous because of the White Horse Rapids.

Generating power on the Yukon

This hydroelectric power plant has tamed the White Horse Rapids, and provides power to the city of Whitehorse.

Almost back to our Jeep

Almost ready to dock and return to our Jeep.   We loved our trip on the Yukon River.   It was chilly, but we are so glad we went.  A great 3 hour trip!   You would enjoy a river trip also.

Kluane Lake to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

We are leaving the beautful Lake Kluane.

Leaving Kluane Lake

About an hour later we arrived at Haines Junction.

Passing through Haines Junction. With mandatory stop for gas

We stayed here on the way north.   This is really is a Junction.   You can drive to Haines, Alaska, a port city, or continue south on the Alaska Highway.  A rule of travel in the far north.   Never pass a gas station.   The next one may be closed or out of fuel.   So we stopped in Haines Junction for gas and fresh sodas.

Alaska highway heading to Whitehorse, Canadian Yukon

We are continuing south towards Whitehorse.   Arriving in Whitehorse, we walked along the Yukon River.

Evening on bench along Yukon River in Whitehorse

We appreciate the many benches along the river.

Totem Pole. Downtown Whitehorse

This totem pole downtown by the river, is such a wonderful reminder of the native Athabascan history.

Stools near Yukon River. Whitehorse

These nearby stools are dediated to the Whitehorse Mission School, 1947-1960.

White Pass & Yukon Route Train station in Whitehorse

The White Pass and Yukon Route train station was the end of the train between Skagway, Alaska and Whitehorse during the gold rush of the late 1890’s.  The narrow gauge train stopped running in 1982.   When my mom was younger, she and Soapy’s mom, her daughter, flew from Fairbanks to Whitehorse and took that train to Skagway.   They say it was beautiful!

Whitehorse train station also start and finish line for Yukon Quest dog race

This Whitehorse train station is also the Official Start/Finish line for the Yukon Quest.   That is a 1,000 mile dog sled race between Whitehorse and Fairbanks.   The race takes place in February and alternates starting and finish destinations each year.

Honoring firefighters

We liked this firefighter statue here in Whitehorse.

Firefighter’s Prayer. Whitehorse

And the firefighter’s prayer plaque.   We certainly appreciate firefighters everywhere.

Klondike Rib and Salmon restaurant. A favorite!

We enjoyed dinner at the Klondike Rib and Salmon restaurant.   This restaurant closes for the winter and just opened a couple days before we arrived.   Our moms ordered salmon and halibut.   Everything is delicious here.   Of course, desserts were ordered.

Huge brownie desserts

They each ordered brownie a la mode with caramel sauce.   These brownies are huge!  And so good.

Yukon Information Center Whitehorse

In the morning we visited the Yukon Information Center.   We got information on a tour that is operating in May.   We will show you where we went next time.