Day 9 – Cassiar Highway – Monday 6-18-12

Today’s Mileage: 470 miles
Total Mileage to date: 4,163 miles
Description:  Stewart, BC to Watson Lake, Yukon

Today’s Route (6-18-12)

I hit the road today at 5am to make it to Watson Lake at a reasonable time.  Travel times up here are a a bit longer as care must be taken (at least I do) to anticipate road construction, rough patches, and wildlife on the road.  Today, in about 9 hours, I saw:

  • 3 young grizzly bears
  • 4 moose
  • 4 black bears
  • 1 fox
  • 1 stupid domesticated dog lying in the middle of the road…
Today was the Cassiar Highway , a stunning stretch of highway – even in the rain and cold. No pictures that I could take could adequately portray the beauty of the place – simply magnificent. I found myself slowing down just to see/feel the solitude and power of the mountains. Almost ran off the road a few times. Not the best picture below, but you get the idea. Road just goes on and on.  I ended up on the famous Alaska Highway.
After about 200 miles of highway, the forest was scared and black, clearly a forest fire.  Miles and miles (I’d guess about 25 miles) of burnt forest.  Soon, little camps and lean-tos stared appearing all over the place.  In the middle of the wilderness, and I do mean wilderness, hundreds of people milling around.  Couldn’t figure it out until I made it to Watson Lake and sat with a family at a small restaurant for lunch/dinner.  Here these folks come to a site after a fire (one year later) and harvest the mushroom crop that appears.  This family said they make $600 – $1,000/day picking mushrooms – sold to buyers who set-up shop along the road.  They are harvested, bought and packaged for shipment or further processing – most go to Europe or Asia to gourmet cooks and such.
I think that this is the type that they are picking – Morchella?:
Must make for an interesting lifestyle.
Tomorrow I am off to Whitehorse to get the oil changed. Was going to do it myself, then where would I put the used oil, buy new oil, etc…  Figured I would just go to a local shop and have them do it. Can you imagine driving 6 1/2 hours to have your oil changed?  Like driving to Boston for routine service…  However, it will be on the way to Dawson City.  Might make a run to Skagway tomorrow afternoon – or might just explore Whitehorse.
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8 responses to “Day 9 – Cassiar Highway – Monday 6-18-12

  1. beautiful scenery! keep the pictures coming! drive safe!

  2. Ted, Whitehorse is interesting and there are things to do (go out to Miles Canyon) but, if time permits I’d recommend the side trip to Skagway. Also, stop in to the Skky Hotel (across from Whitehorse Airport) and say hi to my friend Lisa Van Doornick if she’s working the reception desk. Have fun. ride safe.
    Jack Broomall

  3. Yes, trying to fit in Skagway – might just bite the bullet and run down there after Whitehorse. Then a long haul up to Dawson City Wednesday. Just can’t pack it all in… Would you consider Skagway a “must see” ? Might just stay in Whitehorse tomorrow… can’t decide – weather might make up my mind for me…

    Also, any thoughts on the quicker way back? Through Edmonton?

  4. RIVERTOWNE RON

    Interesting tidbit on the mushroom harvesting. Strange lifestyle indeed. Sounds like you oughta try and make that Skagway run just to say been there………done that.

  5. Ted. You’re getting into Aurora Borealis country. Not much solar activity right now but if you get any clear weather you might be able to see some. Keep your eyes on the road…not the grizzlies!

  6. Word up here is that it is the wrong season – maybe if it gets clear and cold… Would prefer warm and no lights!

  7. Ted, I am loving your daily postings and wishing I was back in Alaska myself. You are so right about photographs just not capturing the “awesomeness” of the Final Frontier, but we are enjoying them anyway, so keep em coming and please stay safe and never get between a mother bear and her cub(s)…………….lol

  8. Stay tuned Lisa. Now approaching Dawson City, then on to Fairbanks, then Prudhoe Bay. Hope the old body holds out. Just about 5,000 miles so far.

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