As mentioned in our last post, we had to do a little backtracking before we could start on a new route home, but it gave us the chance to catch a few things we missed on our way into Alaska.
Back in Tok, we stayed at a fun place, the Sourdough Campground. Every night they have a sourdough pancake toss; if you can get the very floppy cold pancake into a bucket you win a free breakfast at the campground's cafe. We both gave it a try but would have needed a few more practice shots to have a better chance of winning.
One of the areas that we absolutely loved on the Alaska Highway was Kluane Lake. It's such a beautiful lake and it's hard to resist stopping and staying awhile. On our way to Alaska we stayed at one of the provincial parks on the lake, but several people had recommended the privately owned Cottonwood RV Park situated right on Kluane Lake. What a gorgeous setting! We actually chose a dry campsite (no water or electric) because it was right on the lake and away from the other sites. It sure was hard to say goodbye to that campsite.
In Whitehorse we visited The Yukon Beringia Interpretive Center which tells the story of the land bridge that existed between Siberia and Alaska/Yukon. The landscape remained dry and free of ice and the ecosystem that developed was home to herds of large animals, including the whoolly mammoth. Fossils of these ice age animals are still being found in the northern Yukon and Alaska. We also went back to the fish ladder to see the salmon coming back to spawn.
East of Whitehorse we reached the Stewart Cassiar Highway, which travels south into British Columbia. The north section of the highway is more like a country road, with no center line, no shoulders and lots of curves and bumps, but the scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities are worth the challenging drive.
While traveling in this part of Canada we were very aware of the wildfires that have been raging in British Columbia the past several weeks. The smoke from the fires caused a great deal of haze and was especially noticeable over the mountains.
The highlight of traveling the Cassiar Highway is the chance to visit the Fish Creek Wildlife Site in Hyder, AK (just across the border from Stewart, BC) via Highway 37A. The US Forest Service staff the site, which is a boardwalk and platform above Fish Creek for viewing both black and grizzly bears as they come to catch salmon from mid-July until September. The best times to see the bears are early mornings and evenings. We got to the site around 6pm and waited patiently for the bear buffet to open. There were people from all over the world watching and it was amazing how quiet a large crowd can be. We weren't disappointed; we got to watch a few black bears trying to fish and one very accomplished grizzly bear (she caught and ate three salmon while we we were there!)
Yesterday we left the Cassiar Highway, traveling east toward Alberta. We will try to visit a few Canadian national parks as we move east but this is Canada's 150th anniversary and entrance to the parks is free all summer, so they look to be very crowded. Either way, we'll keep you posted on anything fun or interesting that we come across.