Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Tuesday, July 10: Sunny and warm! Up early to pick up some groceries and check our email—bad news! Our sweet Evelyn Stromquist was finally taken by the cancer she had fought for ten years; she had such a sweet disposition even in her illness. She was an inspiration. Tonight we’ll rest our heads in Fort Nelson BC. We’ll pass the 6000-mile mark today and many more adventures to go. Stopped by Yukon Highway Department for a mandatory survey. We were informed that there was an accident ahead—motorist/buffalo—and we think deer are dangerous! The trees are taller and thicker here; I think we are out of the permafrost. There’s a lot of scat on the side of the highway to remind us to be vigilant. We see a bunch of wild horses on the side of the road; maybe it’s horses scat? We’ve seen crosses along the highway where folks have died in accidents; we’ve also seen pyramids of sticks with flagging on them which we think are First Nations constructions for the same purpose. We see six black bears today and then a wild wood buffalo, a she-rock sheep and lambs and a moose! Had to pass another hitchhiker ‘cause we just don’t have any room; this one had a flat tire! We come upon a trooper at the site of the accident we heard about (two motorcycles trying to stop to see a bear!) and we tell him about the hitchhiker. We didn’t realize we would be passing through the Rockies of Northern BC—fantastic views and then the beautiful glacial blue Lake Muncho (means big lake) between the Sentinal and the Terminal Mountains—with Peterson Mountain at the end and Honeymoon Island in the center. The road is twisty, turny and steep in spots; Ron negotiates it all like a champ. Finally we come out of the mountains near Fort Nelson. The land flattens into hay fields and cattle ranches (and buffalo) and commercial forests—the buffalo grazing area must be at least 100 acres and it's ditched, not fenced. Fort Nelson is named after the Brit naval hero at Trafalger, Admiral Nelson; established in 1805 by the Northwest Fur Trade Company, it really grew during the building of the Alcan as a launch point north to Whitehorse. We end up bunking in at a Ramada in the “pet room” (ceramic floor)—that’s what you get for last minute booking! Oh well, it’s clean! We take a long walk around Fort Nelson, population 3000, after supper, and then conk out. Long day!