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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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.