Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Alaska Expedition 2010 - Day 7 Part 2
Mile 282 – Ft Nelson Heritage Museum, British Columbia, Canada. Population 4,694, elev 1383” Stopped for lunch and to pick up some postcards and look for a book on the trees of Northwest Canada. But no field guides. No bookstore in Ft Nelson either. But we did see a cool Snowshoe Hare running around the old trucks and machinery in the museum side yard!
Mile 304 Dave spots a Black Bear foraging on fresh shoots off to the left. We carefully cross the double yellow line and pull onto the shoulder facing the opposite direction and inch up to this adorable bear just 30 yards away from the truck. She moseyed along eating while Dave and Rafael quickly fired off 50 pictures of her! She was not bothered by us at all! This is the best view I’ve ever had of a black bear. When we were in Alaska for our honeymoon, we caught a glimpse of one crossing the road, but it was far away and was deep in the woods by the time we got to where we’d seen it. This sighting has definitely been the highlight of the trip!
Mile 339 Saw another Black Bear that had an injured front right leg. We watched it hobble for a little while. Very sad. It has begun to sprinkle and in the distance it looks like it is snowing in the mountains. About a mile or so back, we stopped at a scenic view pull-out and got some great panoramic views of the valley below. I also got Dave marking his territory! LOL! It so very dry here. I can feel my face pulling as it dries out. I even used a heavier moisturizer, and was actually regretting that it was so heavy, but now I realize that it is not heavy enough. I have been using my chapstick hourly, and still my lips are chapped. I can feel the grit of dust in my teeth.
Mile 435 - Double G Service – Muncho Lake: The Alaska Hwy runs along a 7-nile section of the lake. Muncho Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in BC and the best way to see it is aboard the 32’ Sandpiper where you can have a narrated tour about the natural history of the lake and area - Summer months only. The lake is almost completely covered with ice now.
• Got in to the Double G at 7:30pm and saw a couple of ladies walking across the parking lot with travel coffee mugs. They told us that the restaurant closed at 8pm, so we high-tailed it over to the restaurant. When you walk in, you are in an old barely stocked store and to the left is a screen door leading to a room with a small kitchen table. We walked in and found a couple of truckers having a meal and a crusty woman named Lois. She told us that she had one pork chop left and some beef stew. Dave and I got the stew and Rafael got the chop. It was delicious and the homemade bread (white or brown) was phenominal. The slices of bread were HUGE! There was a young couple from Nevada whose car had broken down and they were staying here and working off their room and board until an alternator arrived for their car. The young woman was about 7 months pregnant and they were on their way to Anchorage where he had a job waiting for him. Jack the owner asked if we were “Russell” and told us that room 4 was unlocked and ready for us. He told us that there was a space heater in the room that we could plug in to take the chill off, and to please unplug it when we went to sleep. We ate our meal and talked with a Trucker who hauls petroleum between Edmonton and Whitehourse. He was on his way to Ft Nelson tonight and he has been stopping here at the Double G for over 10 years. They have the best food in the area. At 8:30 Lois and Jack left to go watch American Idol, but Lois made sure to tell us that they are NOT a couple!
• After our HUGE meal, we walked down to Muncho lake. Most of the lake is still covered with ice that created the most unusual vertical spires rising up out of the floating ice. Jacks says it is called “ice candling”. Holes punch through where underwater springs force water toward the surface. We can hear the tinkling sound as rafts of ice bump into each other, forcing the ice to shatter into clear spires of quartz-like crystals. It was fascinating, calming and relaxing - I feel at peace here. Rafael finds a pile of rocks and takes a seat gazing off into the distance. He is in heaven. This is how I’ve seen him in the field – in the mountains of Miquihuana – sitting on a perch overseeing the landscape and just “being”. There were some ducks along the far southwestern shore – mainly Shovellers, and California and Mew Gulls flying about. They have a landing strip that is used by outfitters and other emergency suppliers. Jack gets his food down in Edmonton at the wholesale food supplier, and then truckers bring him other supplies as needed. While we were eating breakfast on Wednesday morning (May 19th), a trucker arrived and carried in several bags of powdered sugar.