Yukon Sights by Sue Thomas

Liard Hot Springs to Watson Lake in the Yukon
Alaska Highway

10 August 2010 - Tuesday

Yes! Woke to sunshine this morning! Sometimes we head to the springs for a soak in the morning, but not today. It was too warm!

The first distance sign north of Liard Hot Springs indicates 206 km to Watson Lake, where I hope the laptop can get repaired.

Watson Lake distance sign on the Alaska Highway

Soon the first wildlife for the day appeared. First, a small black bear:

Black Bear near Liard River on the Alaska Highway, British Columbia

Then a lone bison was alongside the highway ...

Bison alongside Alaska Highway near Liard River, British Columbia

Next stop was Cranberry Rapids, a scenic viewpoint along the highway. Unfortunately, brush obscured the scenery and it was essential to crawl over the cliff to see the sights!

Cranberry Rapids on Liard River, British Columbia near the Alaska Highway
Cranberry Rapids on the Liard River near the Alaska Highway

Some of the smoky haze from the forest fires continued to linger in the air too.

Liard River south of Cranberry Rapids, British Columbia
The Liard River south of Cranberry Rapids

We were enjoying the break from the highway at the rest area by the rapids. Then, quite suddenly the whole rest area filled with a caravan of RVs! Time for us to depart ...

Northbound the Liard River cuts a trench through the valley alongside the highway.

Alaska Highway near Cranberry Rapids and Liard River, British Columbia
Alaska Highway northbound just north of Cranberry Rapids

About 10 km south of Contact Creek a side road caught our curiosity. It was time for lunch so off the highway we went. The road dead-ended so we explored the nearby lakeshore on foot. Found evidence of some busy beavers in the neighbourhood.

Beavers at work near Contact Creek, Alaska Highway
Busy beavers near the lakeshore

The small lake provided a scenic spot for mid-day dining. Unfortunately, the smoky haze resulted in odd colours and dull pictures.

Lake near Alaska Highway south of Contact Creek, British Columbia
Lunch by a small lake near the Alaska Highway south of Contact Creek

We debated staying overnight. But, with the broken laptop in mind we headed out again, hoping to get to Watson Lake before 5 p.m.

So back on the road with a quick stop at Contact Creek Lodge for fuel. Contact Creek is in the Yukon; fuel prices are usually quite reasonable compared to places north of it.

Contact Creek Lodge, Yukon, on the Alaska Highway
Contact Creek Lodge is the first stop in the Yukon

The border between Yukon and British Columbia is not marked near Contact Creek as the Highway again dips into B.C. before returning to the Yukon near Watson Lake.

South of Watson Lake and while still in British Columbia, we spotted a herd of bison through the trees in a sunny clearing off the highway. There was a dirt side road leading to their spot. None of them seemed to mind my presence, though I kept the truck between me and them! One of the bulls was just about the same size as the truck; at least it seemed so at the time!

Bison along Alaska Highway in British Columbia

Bison along Alaska Highway in British Columbia

Bison along Alaska Highway in British Columbia

On the road to Watson Lake and what is considered the official entry point to the Yukon.

Yukon Sign near Watson Lake, Yukon on Alaska Highway
Yukon Sign just south of Watson Lake

In Watson Lake we set up camp at Campground Services at about 2 p.m. I headed off to get the laptop to the repair shop. Initial diagnosis was that it had a fatal issue, but the tech decided to give it a go overnight.

Back at camp three riders from Washington State came in on Harleys and set up tents nearby. They looked so tired! And they didn't have any refreshments or nutrition with them. So I delivered three cold beer, chatted a bit, wished them well, and returned to the chores: laundry, grocery shopping, etc. then settled in for the night. 

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