In the summer of 2016, Henderson Productions and Poggio Amorelli B&B set off for a culinary and photographic journey through British Columbia, the Yukon Territory and Alaska. Stories of the Road is a series of snippets of that journey. Stay tuned over the coming months for additional stories of this and other journeys.
It was a Sunday morning so we opted to drop into the Tesla River Lodge and Campsites for their ”world-famous cinnamon buns”. Gail tells us they only do one thing so they can do it extremely well. Indeed. At $5 CN (about $4 US) two of us couldn’t finish one. Yummy. The lodge was spacious and comfortable and it would have been worthy of a night or two if we weren’t pressing on the road and self-contained. But I was most entertained with the “NO SNIVELING” sign on the pumps out front. Fair enough. We are, after all, in the Yukon.
We decided this was likely our lunch stop as we were full and cozy and ready to press on. Rained on and off during the day but when it stopped – generally on the other side of some mountain – the sun would come out and it was vivid and glorious. And whomever was in the passenger’s seat had the responsibility to continually scan for animals.
By lunchtime, we were getting a little frustrated at all the written and signed cautions and not one freakin critter! But soon after Tesla we saw a family – mom, dad, youngin – of Stone sheep on, conveniently, Stone Mountain. They are neither buckhorn, which live further south and we’d seen yesterday, nor Dall, which live further north in Yukon and Alaska. When studying our pics, I think they look much more like deer or tall goats. But they let us pull over and take a few shots as they calmly moseyed down the side of the road.
Then we started to see bison. (Side note: why The Milepost suggests we might first see bison and then later see buffalo has us stumped. What’s the diff?) Our first sighting was a big bull calmly chewing along the side of the road. And we took a bunch of pics to make sure we got him. We even practiced deep mooing sounds to get him to raise his head a bit and cracked ourselves up much more than him.
We stopped again alongside gorgeous, jade-colored Lake Muncho to make some sandwiches around 2 and work out the rest of our afternoon. We were making great time with little or no traffic on the highway and opted for a short excursion at the famous Laird Hot Springs for an absolutely delightful half hour in 150-degree natural hot tub – for the gals. The guys walked the boardwalk through the marsh with us and laughed as we frolicked and floated any muscle aches away. So far this might be the best $5 each we’ve spent!
Back on the road and the buffalo were a roamin! The largest group we saw were spread across both sides of the road with about 18 or so calmly grazing on the wildflower grasses along the edge of the highway or, as we’d been warned, crossing and standing in the middle of it. No lack of photo ops for bison. We declared we didn’t need to brake for bison anymore and had settled in for the last hour of free sailing to Watson Lake when Angel yelled “bear!” “bear, bear, BEAR”. And there in all her glory was a lovely black bear about 20 feet from 3 idiots standing outside their car.
She didn’t seem to mind for the most part but we kept one eye on them as we photographed just fine from the inside of the RV. She was close enough to any of us to take us out if she wanted but must have been somewhat used to the paparazzi and hungry enough to just keep munching.
We noticed three additional bears crossing the road 100 yards behind us just about the same time as our idiot trio but they scared all four away by jumping into their car and jerking quickly up that direction. So be it. We saw four bears and got great shots of one and considered ourselves delighted to have seen them at all.