Yesterday driving by Kluane Lake, we saw quite a few sheep grazing up on the mountains. Unfortunately we haven't seen as much wildlife on this trip as we have in past years. May be a little too early in the year yet. Oh wow, even as I type this we're coming upon a lone bison. That's kinda rare, as they usually travel in herds. We're nearing Liard Hotsprings (yeah!) now and bison and black bears are pretty numerous, so we'll see how many we pass today. So far, these are all the animals we've seen:
1 grizzly bear
1 black bear
1 herd of elk
1 lone elk
2 lone bison
30 herd bison
1 bald eagle
8 Dall's sheep
2 Canadian geese
One of our grizzly friends
The bears especially haven't been as numerous as one year! That year we saw so many bears we didn't even stop to take pictures by the end. I always enjoy watching bears, their strength and beauty are so captivating; they're almost like the mascot of the wilderness. Wild and free; dangerous only if you don't know what you're doing. Well, here we are so I need to stop typing and enjoy a relaxing dip in Liard. (I know, it's going to be a drudgery…)
A small waterfall into the hotsprings
OK, since I'm driving the afternoon shift, I haven't gotten to write since Liard. We're pulled over beside a lovely river, and have spent some time throwing rocks in. We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the hotsprings. The water was warm, and the air wasn't too cold while getting out, but still cool enough to enjoy the water in. The scenery is always pretty back there; a lush tropical resort in the midst of northern wilderness. Oh, one other thing we found out that we hadn't noticed before; the men's changing room possesses great acoustics and "Low Down The Chariot" sounded great inside it! :-)
A hungry beaver after swimming upstream a ways
Just now my attention was caught by a movement in the river. Looking down I saw a lone beaver struggling upriver against the current. Who knows what its destination was, but one thing's for certain, it had determination. We tracked it for quite a ways as it continued to battle the forces at play in the water. At one point the current got to strong for it. Looking for an easier path, it swam into a small eddie. It was pretty neat since it was just below the ridge from where we were watching. Viewing it so close was a rare treat, besides the fact of seeing it in that river at all! Beavers prefer the quiet lakes and streams, and I've never in my life seen one swimming through rapids. While trying to get back out of it's temporary respite and continue upstream, the water flowing around the gateway rock would constantly push him back. After being beaten time and again, he bit off a twig to chew for a few seconds, got back into the water, floated across the river, and continued his journey on the other, less forceful side. What a cute and determined little fellow he was!
Some of the scenery along the road
We're pulled over for the night just past Fort Nelson now. I'm laying in my cozy sleeping bag, trying to convince myself that I'm tired. It's been a long day of driving, and I'd better get my sleep. Oh yeah, that's one thing I haven't talked about yet: driving. If you thought what you had to do was bad (whatever it is…), you should try eating sandwiches while at the same time driving around 40 km/h turns, shifting gears to save your brakes as you go down steep inclines, keeping one eye on the road and oncoming traffic which invariably gets in your lane as they turn the hairpin corners, keeping the other eye open for small deer and Dall's sheep which are so well camouflaged I've missed them many times, making sure your 28 foot trailer doesn't cut corners too sharp picking up another vehicle's mirror, while at the same time trying your hardest to not be distracted with the breathtaking scenery. It's quite a challenge! Pulling a trailer is much different from driving without one, but I think I'm finally getting used to it again. I think the hardest challenge of the whole journey so far has been to not get distracted with the scenery. I always become enthralled by watching the cascading waterfalls leap majestically off the cliffs, miles of undamaged forest creating a canvas for the sun to paint exquisite murals upon, wild animals eating placidly beside the road while at the same time reservedly showing off their indomitable spirits, the towering mountains quietly testifying to God's power and omnipotence and love of beauty, the little streams and rivers always rushing by and yet never seeming to move. And then I'm supposed to drive! Sometimes it's just too difficult… Already my family has had to remind me I'm supposed to be driving on the road and not the ditch.
One of the river gorges seen along the highway
Well, I should really head to bed now. Tomorrow we come to Fort St. John, so I'll probably be posting this from there. Another hour after that will take us to Dawson Creek, and then we're off the Alaska Highway! We've been making fair time, so we should be able to reach our destination on time with no problems. But only if I get my sleep, so I will now turn this thing off and get some shut-eye before the birdies awake. Oh, in case you were interested we saw three more black bears today…
Here's me catching you up with what we're doing!