After our immigration to the USA we first drive to Langley close to Vancouver where we say Good Bye to our offroad tires and install tubeless all road tires instead.
After 12 flats in 5 years we are fed up with it and decided to change the complete set including rims. Now the driving comfort is similar to a S-Class Mercedes and the vibrations are history. Let’s see how they behave long term. After this we visit our friends Lora and Harry in Mission. Many thanks for your outstanding hospitality.
After a couple of nice days with our friends we start our revival tour Northbound. In 1984 and 1986 we’ve travelled thru BC and Yukon with backpacks and now want to follow our footsteps from the past. Unfortunately, we encounter a technical problem while we are in Hope and must drive back to Vancouver to get a spare part for the generator before we can continue.
We drive along the Fraser River and stop at Hells Gate where the river runs very spectacular thru a narrow gorge. There are a lot of very nice campgrounds on the way but the problem is that the Canadian Pacific Railway is on the right and on the left side of the river. Trains with 1 miles in length run all night in a 30 minutes interval. In addition, they blow the horn on every crossing. So we try to get at least 3 miles between the train and our overnight location which leads us thru nice side roads where we find beautiful place like the one in Liloeet at the lake which is free and firewood will be delivered upon request. The beautiful landscape and the sunny weather easily motivates us to stay a couple of days and enjoy some hikes in the area. This is how we love Canada and as we have it in our memories since 34 years.
We move on to Wells Gray Park. This is a little bit of a detour but for us it’s a must. Very precise we remember the heavy rain in 1984 and as we pitched up our tent under a shelter to prevent it from being flushed away. This time the luck is with us. The sun shines bright and we can enjoy the waterfalls without getting wet from above. Unfortunately, the upper part of the park is still closed from the winter and therefore we cannot check whether the shelter from 1984 is still existing. However, to get a little bit from the feeling of the past we have a thunderstorm at night but with MOMO around us this is very relaxed.
We continue Northbound mile after mile with overnight places in beautiful surroundings. In the small village 150 Mile House we find a German Butcher who offers all the delicatessen we sometimes miss. Together with this and the German beer we’ve got at one of the liquor stores a few very special evening meals are secured.
Our next revival stop is the Bowron Lake. In 1984 we’ve paddled around the lakes in 10 days and saw no human being for 7 days. In the last days we ran out of food and had to ration it. Today this is all totally commercialized and you must book a tour month in advance. A dead-end road of 50 miles brings us to Becker lodge where we’ve once rented our canoe. At this time of the year everything is closed and some lakes are still half way frozen. We walks a short trail along the lake but without a canoe there is not much to do and at 7 degree Celsius and rain our motivation is not very high.
Before you come to the Bowron lakes you pass the old Gold rush town of Barkerville which we’ve liked already in 1984. We spend the night at the parking lot and do sightseeing without rain and a blue sky at the next morning. On our way back to main road we see a moose and a black-bear whereby the last named did not like photo shooting.
Unstoppable we drive Northbound. This part of the country is only vast nature. From time to time a black-bear feeds along the roadway and doesn’t feel disturbed while we take pictures. We stay overnight at awesome locations far away from the highway and the railroad. The weather is outstanding and the sun shines everyday from a clear blue sky. Via Prince George we drive highway 97 till Dawson Creek. Here is the official start of the Alaska Highway and we cannot miss a picture from mile marker zero.
Then we enter the Alaska Highway and the most Northern point which is reachable by car is only 2000 miles away. The highway was build in 1942 after Pearl Harbour as a military matter of urgency. Over 30.000 people from military and civilian completed the 1500 miles in only eight months. Today everything is paved and the landscape is picturesque. In between we stop for a couple of days on nice lakes and at the Liard hot springs. During the 600 miles to Watson lake we see a lot of wild life like black-bears, caribous and buffalos. See also the short video clip, here: Wildlife
With 1500 inhabitants Watson Lake is the third largest city in the Yukon territories. The town is known for its sign posts. During the construction of the Alaska Highway a home-sick soldier put a sign from his hometown on a post. This was the beginning of a collection which has already grown to more than 85000 signs from all over the world. Certainly we are now also a part of it.
A few hundred miles further we come to Johnsons Crossing. This is where we’ve started our journey in 1986 when be paddled the Teslin and the Yukon over 850 km up to Dawson City. This 3 weeks adventure in the wilderness is an unforgettable part of our travels throughout the world. Of course we must take a revival picture today with MOMO and 1986 with our luggage at the exact same spot.
Before we continue to Whitehorse we make a short excursion to Atlin. This 150-mile detour is a picturesque dead-end road and worth every mile. The view to the Atlin lake, the largest natural lake in British Columbia is simply breathtaking.
Whitehorse is the passage way and maintenance station for travelers going Northbound. At the times of the Gold Rush in 1898 people coming from Skagway and successfully managed the White Pass via the Chilkoo trail continued their journey from here in a canoe up to Dawson to the gold fields. Later a sternwheeler made it a little bit easier and more comfortable. As a remainder from the old days the sternwheeler Klondike lies in the harbor and can be visited. Apart from this and the MacBride museum there is not much to see in Whitehorse but it has some very good restaurants and a German bakery. At the end of our canoe trip in 1986 we hitch-hiked from here to Skagway.
When we’ve hitch-hiked in 1986 we have made the distance to Carcross on the back of an old Pickup and have miserably frozen. Today it is way more comfortable with MOMO and in between we find a nice place for the night at Emerald Lake. Carcross is a very little town with a handful of inhabitants and lives from the cruise ships. Hundreds of the passengers come by bus stroll around for a while and take the historic train back to Skagway.
A few miles from Skagway we cross the border to USA and from there we take the ferry to Haines and continue our journey thru Alaska. But what we experience there is then part of our next blog. Until then enjoy reading and watching the pictures and like us on Facebook.