May 31, 2008

YUKON TERRITORY & the Signpost Forest

I remember hearing and reading stories from childhood about the Yukon. It has the distinct honor of being THE Canadian province that provides the link between the lower 48 and Alaska, and is the subject of many a story of the late 1800 goldrush. Equally famous, the Yukon River has been the dream of many a canoeist, and continues to be the setting for many great paddles and several major canoe races today.

Just as we cross into the Yukon Territory, we get a pulloff for our first view of this mighty legend...and this is only near its origin. We begin to imagine what it will be like as we proceed northward & westward towards the sea.

Today we see many more bears, I think I remember counting eight, and a few other black colored creatures that always seem to show up at any snack or lunch break.

As we are cruising through the small community of Watson Lake, we notice an interesting park over to our right. Something told us this deserves a closer look. It is in fact the "Signpost Forest" started by a WWII soldier and continuing today with over 70,000 signs!

The photo here doesn't begin to show the rows & rows of colorful contributions that come from all over the world....

Moving through, enjoying the variety and uniqueness of the many posts, I begin to look for signs from Louisiana, and start to find a few.

Since we had not learned about this place in advance, we were not prepared with one of our own, but soon after arriving, I hear Joy screaming, "look, come see, hey, get over here". And to our surprise, she had found laying on the ground way in the back, the perfect sign for us to use!

Bob & I did a little cleaning & fixin' and with the help of a few new screws and a drill-gun, we put this baby back in business...right near the front row. So, when you go through, be sure and look for us here!

ALASKA HIGHWAY - Liard Hot Springs

If you are ever, ever on the Ak Hwy, this is an absolute must stop. We spent three wonderful days & nights here, and definitely re-enforced our love of the Canadian Provincial Parks.

These folks seem to have a knack for picking nice spots, constructing & maintaining clean beautiful spaces and deliviering them at a bargain price ($12 per nite typically, which includes firewood at many!). Liard Springs is certainly no exception, and offers even more! Imagine having your own spa in a lush tropical setting, in the middle of a campground in the far North. What a deal!

We took advantage of the soothing waters at least twice a day, and on the final morning, I opted to grab the camera and document this intriguing spot.

As I approached the 1/4 mile long boardwalk that links the camping area to the Springs, I noticed a lone photographer up ahead. Of course, it was Bob, out early checking out the birds.

On closer inspection I found the subject of his long lens, enjoying early feeding in the warm ponds that eminate from the hot waters above. As I myself took closer look for a shot, I began to wonder just who was watching who....
The vegetation thickens along the boardwalk as the water & surface temps rise closer to the source of this continuous warmth. It's bizarre to see the tropical greenery growing out here with snow-capped peaks looming in the distance.
I finally reach the "Alpha Pool" to find it's waters steaming as usual, since the air temp is about 50 degrees F.

The source of the heated liquid is at one end, coming out at roughly 125, too hot for one to enjoy. But, further down the Pool, the hot waters are tempered a bit, and I find Kim bathing in luxury near the far end!