Alaskan Trip Journal

Date: Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Starting Location: Watson Lake, YT

Destination: Andy Bailey Lake Provincial Park (near Ft. Nelson, BC)

Trip Description: Today was really enjoyable. We started driving around 10. We stopped to cook breakfast near Smith River Falls. I prepared sausage, egg, and cheese sandwiches. After eating, we hiked to see the waterfall. There was also a geocache nearby for us to find. We took some pictures, found the cache, then hiked back to the RV.

Our next stop was about 20 minutes farther south on the Alaska Highway. Liard Hot Springs is worth a stop. There is a boardwalk that leads to the pools. The first pool is the alpha pool. The water at the north end is very hot (49-56 Celsius) as the water flows downstream about 50 yards it mixes with cold spring water. The temperature at the lower end is around 40C. The second pool is refered to as the beta pool. It is a 5 minute walk up the hill. The water is hot, but not scalding. It is also 9 feet deep. I spent some time swimming around here. It was a great way to relax.

After our break at the hot spring, we headed south through the Rocky Mountains. The highway weaves between high mountain peaks. There is a good opportunity to view wildlife along this section. Today, we saw a moose, caribou, stone sheep, and a black bear. The lakes are a turquoise color. This is the most scenic segment of the Alaska Highway.

The scenery gets drab quickly as you enter Ft. Nelson. This town has got to be the junkiest town we have seen since leaving Gary, IN. We stayed in Ft. Nelson 8 days ago, on our way northward. If you read our earlier entry, you may have noticed we didn't enjoy the Westend Campground very much. We were not happy with the prospect of staying in Ft. Nelson a second time. The other campground in town looks like it belongs on Pulaski Highway. For my readers that are not familiar with Baltimore, the road to which I refer is full of decaying motels and other establishments. I'm sure you can substitute your local road of shame.

We decided to drive through Ft. Nelson and stop at a nicer place. The next campground on the map is Andy Bailey Provincial Park. The listing in "The Milepost" mentions that it is located 11 km. down an unpaved road. The author also suggests bringing lots of bug dope. We decided to try our luck. Anything would be an improvement over the choices we were given in Ft. Nelson.

Well, the guidebook was right on both counts. The road leading to the park was full of dust and holes. As soon as we stopped to pay the attendant, the bugs swarmed around us. The mosquitoes are really thick here around dusk. I spent a few mintes down by the beautiful lake trying to catch a fish. Nothing would bite, except the mosquitoes. I retreated to the RV. Tomorrow, I may try fishing again if the bugs are not as hungry.


Smith River Falls

Joe relaxes at Liard Hot Springs

Muncho Lake

bull moose grazing by the highway

Andy Bailey Lake at sunset