From Dawson Creek to Sikanni River Campground. Alaska Highway Mile 159
It’s another blue sky, gorgeous day. The terrain around Dawson Creek is low rolling hills, all fenced and plowed for planting as far as the eye can see. I am told they grow canola there. But by the time we got 50 miles up the road, things started to change. There were more and more trees until eventually we went over one hill and everything changed into forest out to the horizon in all directions. The trees are a mix of spruce and aspen, with some of the aspen stands so dense that they would make a good backdrop for a Bev Doolittle painting. The color scheme is green and gold – deep, dark, almost black green for the spruce trees; dainty, lacy green gold for the aspen; and yellow gold for the dandelions that decorate the roadsides. A lawn-proud person would be horrified, but as one person said, they like the dandelions here because they aren’t white.
We have started to see more animals. Pam spotted a coyote carrying an eagle. I wonder what that signifies in native lore? An elk surveyed the road from a vantage point high up a hill, and several moose stuck their heads out of the tree line before deciding not to cross the road. Milestones throws in a warning to watch for moose and deer about 3 times a page, so I guess staying on one side of the road is not the normal modus operandi.
We stopped for the night at a campground on the Sikanni River. I’m looking at the rushing river right outside my window. We had originally planned on stopping at Pink Mountain, but when we saw that the RV camp was a gravel lot next to the highway, we came on here and it was a good choice. We only have electricity for hook-ups, but our water tanks are full so that’s not an issue. It’s so far out in the boondocks that there is no power grid out here. The electricity for the park is provided by generator. But whatever the camp lacks in amenities, it more than makes up for in scenery. Gypsy also approves of this spot. She has already had one romp in the water and I’m sure she anticipates more.
8 June Sikanni Chief River to Ft. Nelson
It’s another clear blue beautiful day. Even though the thermometer said it was 52, with the sun beating down so strongly it was shirt-sleeve weather this morning. The road was mostly bare of traffic, and we could see off to far horizons with trees running right up to the mountains in the distance. There were some areas where the trees were stunted and wizened and there were no aspen at all, and it looked like the top soil was non-existent, and then a few yards away there were tall white spruce and aspen just flourishing. We are starting to see animals. Pam and Dave saw 3 black bears, and we saw a moose jogging across the road, and two caribou. Moose are funny when they walk. It’s as if they have hydraulic joints that kind of go every which way when they walk.
We’re spending the night in Ft. Nelson, at Mile 283. It’s another small community, and it has a museum! Imagine that. We are told the locals put on a program at the museum to tell visitors about life in their community but when we checked it out, they hadn’t gotten the program started for the year, so the most promising thing about Ft. Nelson didn’t come off. So we went to the grocery store to pick up a few fresh things. Which reminds me of another funny thing: Cheese Whiz. How, you may ask, is Cheese Whiz funny? Forget the image of the small can of Cheese Whiz. Picture it in quart jars, stacked three deep, filling an entire section of the dairy cooler. Lots and lots and lots of quart jars of Cheese Whiz. More Cheese Whiz in one place than I’ve ever imagined. Promise, I’ll take a picture the next time we go to a store. I guess they really like Cheese Whiz here. They have a little bit of the deep south in them here, too. Tea comes sweetened and no other way. Coffee comes presweetened. And all appetizers are deep fat fried.
Anyway, we came back to the park and started talking to some people from Texas who did the Alaska trek two years ago and had so much fun they’re back for another go at it. They gave us some good hints for must see places.
View from the road at mile 220
Caribou at the side of the road