Fort Nelson to Watson Lake – 513kms
When I checked the weather forecast last night it said cloudy and mild, and in fact the morning started that way as we showered and got packed up.
But by the time we rolled off to the gas station, the skies were clouding up in the east and the west. When we left town after a pretty decent breakfast at the Fort Nelson Hotel cafe, it was starting to sprinkle.
Now as I sit here in the hotel room at the Air Force Lodge in Watson lake, it’s lightly raining outside.
In spite of the rain it was a pretty good day – one of the bigger days in terms of mileage, some quality time in a hot springs pool, and some wildlife spotted!
As I said, the sprinkles of rain started pretty much as we left Fort Nelson. A ways down the road, as it got heavier, we stopped to put on rain gloves and another layer. Before we reached Muncho Lake for our gas stop it had rained hard, rained lightly and in parts the sun shone. But my God the scenery was fantastic! We crossed over a pass from one side of a ridge to the other, in rain and weak sunshine, but the views caused both Louise and I to utter “wow” multiple times.
Eventually we reached Muncho Lake where the clouds broke and sunshine came out, warming up to 20 deg. We fuelled the bikes, had a bio break and a snack, before heading up 30 kms or so to the Liard Hot Springs.
The rain held off while we made our way to the hot springs, and the temperature was comfortable. After parking the bikes we walked the boardwalk to springs and enjoyed the steaming hot water for almost 45 minutes.
The rest of the run north was somewhat tiring, but we were looking forward to stopping for the night at the Air Force Lodge in Watson Lake. Once we crossed in to the Yukon, the clouds closed in and it began to rain, again.
Arriving at about 6pm, Mike greeted us at the door to Air Force Lodge.
What a fantastic place and our host Mike was extremely easy to talk to – he had a ton of stories as well some pretty good reno skills. the whole Lodge was rebuilt by him, from an old WWII air force barracks from the old airport that had been chainsawed in half to move it.. This was easily the cleanest place we’ve been to. Mike has his guests take off their shoes at the front door, and that really helps keep things clean and it was pretty nice to be able to walk around in socks or bare feet. The interior was setup barracks or dorm style – each individual room had a bed and little desk, the showers and washrooms were communal facilities just down the hall. The internet was a bit weak though as was the LTE cell connection, so this report didn’t get loaded right away.
There’s no eating facilities on sight though, so we had to run into town to get dinner, we actually did that before we unloaded the bikes. Mike recommended Archie’s, just across from the Signpost Forest, so that’s where we headed. We both had a delicious burger and I had an Apple Pie, then we headed back to the Lodge, unloaded and had a pretty good nights sleep.
Now for the wildlife report. The past three days were somewhat lame for wildlife spotting, with only a deer and 2 elk spotted. However, here are the numbers to date:
- Deer: 1
- Elk: 2
- Bear: 1
- Bison: hundreds, well dozens anyway
- Crows: hundreds
- dead skunk road kill: 4
Today we saw our first bear in the ditch north of Muncho Lake before the Hot Springs – he was drinking from a stream. We also saw literally dozens of free range bison – singles, small groups and a couple of larger herds. These bison are pretty huge animals, and they looked healthy enough!
Stay tuned for Day 5!