Before we continue down the Alaska Highway, we fill up the RV with gas – the most expensive gas to date at CN$1.219/liter but it’s the cheapest available in Fort Nelson. Interestingly, the only choice is between Regular and Diesel. It seems counter-intuitive that gas is more expensive here in the heart of all these oil and gas exploration activities!
Now we start driving due west on the Alaska Highway. The change in the weather has caused the birch trees that were bare yesterday to burst out their new spring leaves. The difference between yesterday and today in the appearance of the forest is truly astounding – and it’s much prettier today. The highway continually climbs after we leave Fort Nelson. Several times on our journey today we are forced to drive very slowly on a washboard gravel road through a long construction zone so as to not throw up any rocks.
Mike had read in The Milepost that the bakery at Tetsa River Services (at Mile 357.5) serves not-to-be-missed cinnamon buns so we have to stop and try them. This place is so far off the grid that everything electric is run by a generator. The proprietor heats up our cinnamon buns to go with our coffee and we eat them on the rustic porch. We pay him when he’s done broadcasting today’s weather on the radio.
After our cinnamon bun stop, we continue traveling west on the Alaska Highway. The Tetsa River runs alongside the highway and there is patchy snow along the banks. The blue sky turns gray and a cold wind picks up.
We cross the Tetsa River on a pretty bridge – spotting a beaver dam in the water – and enter Stone Mountain Provincial Park. As we drive, we enjoy magnificent vistas of high, dark, sharp-peaked mountains covered with snow. We stop at frozen but thawing Summit Lake and then enter Muncho Lake Provincial Park. Now fast flowing, blue-green Toad River runs along the highway for miles.
When we reach ice-covered Muncho Lake, we stop to walk down to the lake, even though it’s very cold with a brisk wind. The green water is crystal clear and we can hear the ice crack as we stand by the lake. A few Ring-Necked Ducks swim around in an opening in the ice.
Next, we cross the Trout River, and then the Prochniak River to leave Muncho Lake Provincial Park. It’s 6:00 pm when we see a car has gone off the road and is stuck in the soft dirt at the edge of the river. A group of First Nation young men is trying to pull the car up the embankment without much success. Of course, we stop to see if there is anything we can do to help. They ask if we have a rope. Do we have a rope? OF COURSE Mike has a rope! Mike ends up towing the car out using the RF, which I don’t think is a very good idea. But nothing bad happens and we’re able to pull the car out. Before we leave, the driver comes over to thank Mike, puts his arms around him, and says a prayer, which touches Mike deeply.
It’s all over by 6:30 pm and we’re on our way again. We soon see two female Wood Bison with two calves! We pull over to observe them and take photos. And then, a few minutes later, we stop again to watch another female Wood Bison and calf. The walk right past our RV, passing within a couple of yards of my open window. A little later, we see a big male Wood Bison munch on grass along the side of the highway.
And then, a few minutes later, we stop again to watch another female Wood Bison and calf. The walk right past our RV, passing within a couple of yards of my open window. A little later, we see a big male Wood Bison munch on grass along the side of the highway.
It’s almost 7:00 pm when we cross the Liard River bridge and see two more male Wood Bison (one on each side of the road) and another by the sign for Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park, where we stop for the night.