Muncho Lake, Provincial Park, British Columbia
We got an early start, hitting the road about 6:30am. On our morning drive we saw a couple of black bears eating along the road. Always fun to see. We had 15 hours of driving to do today.
We made a stop in a fairly good sized city, they even had a Costco. We were on fumes and stopped at the first gas station we came to, but the pump would not work right, so then I saw there was a Costco just down the road, so off to Costco we went, hoping we wouldn't run out of gas on the way. We had plenty of spare gas, just in case we ran out driving between towns. But really there are plenty of gas stations along the way. We put Calvin in charge of figuring out where to stop for gas. We knew we could do about 200 miles, so we gave Calvin the Milepost app and had him figure out where to get gas, he even had to use a little algebra to do so. We are carrying an extra 5 gallons in a small container, plus the trailer holds about 20 gallons for the generator and any such gas needs. So if needs be we can always use that and transfer it to the car. But we made it to Costco just fine! Just to find out, that Costco in Canada ONLY accepts MasterCard, and we don't have one! What to do. They don't take cash at the gas pumps either. So the attendant suggested we go inside to and put money on a Costco Cash card. So David made the long walk to the front of the store, and then came back, realizing, they only take MasterCard inside too! SO we used some of our Canadian Cash and put that on the Costco Cash card, after a second trip to the store. Their price for gas was really good, so it was worth the effort. After a 30 minute delay we were finally ready to go! We were ahead of schedule before that, so the delay didn't really cost us anytime thank goodness.
And off we went. The drive was quite pretty, with a few towns every hour or so, and then they became fewer and further between. We reached the official AlCan highway at Dawson Creek. We stopped further up the road for gas as we were still trying to get in a lot of miles today. Once we left Fort Nelson, it just became so pretty, first along the river and then thru large Canyons and finally to the Lake. After 14.5 hours of driving we finally reached Muncho Lake area and campgrounds. The first one we passed said full. I worried we wouldn't get a space for the night, but knew we could still sleep in a pull out area on the highway. We headed to the next campground, and after a short drive through, found it was full too. We stopped and talked to the rangers there, and they said to head to a pull out and no one would bother us for the night, and come back in the late morning to get a site there.
So we did just that. Headed back a mile or 2 to a pull off. The sunset was beautiful and I was able to snap a few photos before bed. After driving for so long, it was fun to spend the night at the pullout, we made a short walk around reading the info signs and watching some Caribou climb the rocks 100 yards away.
The next morning we slept in, made pancakes and took our time. Around 10am we headed over to the McDonald Campground, where the sites were still ALL full! A few were packing up and would be headed out soon, so we drove a few miles further down the road to check out a viewpoint over the lake. When we headed back we only had a few more minutes before a great site, lake side was vacated. We pulled in and set up camp. We pulled out the kayaks, set up the archery set, and had a great afternoon just relaxing! By 1pm the few sites that had opened up were now full. I had no idea we'd have to be there so early to get a site. The guy that pulled in next to us told us it's a long weekend here in the Yukon, so I guess that makes sense. He'd come early to get a site, his family would show up this evening.
The day was beautiful, I even went out in the kayak for a bit. Although they are made for bodies smaller and lighter than mine, it was still fun. We thought we might drive 45mins down the road to the hot springs, but we just enjoyed doing nothing at the lake that we just stuck with that! I sat by the lake all day and just enjoyed the scenery, it was wonderful! That evening when the lighting was perfect I put the 4 younger kids in nicer, clean, clothes and snapped some individual picture of them. Still have to do the older 2 kids sometime! But they turned out great!
The kids were disappointed that they still could not have a fire that night! We were still in BC, and even though they had no fire issues anywhere near by, the entire state was under a fire ban. The park rangers informed us that when we arrived the next day in the Yukon, we'd have no problems having a fire, and the Yukon parks provide free firewood. The kids were thrilled to hear that news. We also asked the rangers about the red berries growing next to our campsite. They told us they are edible soap berries. The bears like them. We tried them, and I will never need to try them again. Isabel read in a book that natives like to make them into ice cream. I thought they tasted like puke. So I will not need to try that as an ice cream. All the kids tried them out, but after watching all our reactions David would not try them.
The next day was our last stop before Alaska. We drove 9 hours to Haines Junction. We saw a good amount of wildlife along the road. Bears, Moose, and Bison. We made a stop at the Kluane National Park Visitor Center just to pick up their Explorer packets, but the VC was so full of great info and displays, we stayed an hour. Alexander, Matthew, and Benjamin each separately dragged me over to view a display on the Glacier that melted and dammed the river creating a lake where the town now is. In the early 1800s the water receded and another hard freeze occurred that the Glacier advanced. They loved that display and watched it multiple times. So did I, since they each wanted me to watch it with them.
That night we drove up Kluane Lake and Camped at Congdon Creek, which was also more full than I had hoped... that long weekend. We did not get a lakeside site, but we were only there for the night anyway. The kids were ecstatic to collect wood from the wood shed and start their first fire on this trip! Out came the marshmallows and s'mores. It was a fun night. After we'd all gone to bed, I'd set an alarm for 3am, to get up and look for Northern Lights. The NOAA website prediction was at a level 5 meaning, they should be visible, but we think we only saw twilight when we got up. It does get dark in the middle of the night, just not all the way dark. So we're not sure if the white lights we saw were northern lights, or just the sun starting on it's way up for the day. Tomorrow... Alaska