the

The Thompson River north of Lytton, British Columbia. Photo taken yesterday.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Abbotsford, British Columbia.

Where are they going next? Crescent Beach, British Columbia.

Friday, June 15, 2018

We finally met a bear on the hiking trail!

We woke up yesterday morning to rain. Not a heavy downpour at all, but not a drizzle either. Just a steady rain.

The plan was to go visit the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, about 20 kms (13 miles) northwest of Whitehorse. And, conveniently located another kilometer down the road from the Wildlife Preserve is the Takhini Hot Springs! But we wanted to do the 5 km (3 mile) hike at the Wildlife place, and then go soak ourselves in the hot springs.

We waited out the rain until almost 11:00am and it looked like it was going to stop. So we took off towards the Wildlife Preserve. We arrived there 20 minutes later, but the gate was closed. There was one other vehicle waiting. I pulled off to the side of the road, and walked up to the gate where there was a sign that read "Closed due to Wildlife Safety Issue. Will reopen at 12 noon"... or something to that effect.

Sure enough, the gates opened at noon, and we went and parked inside. It was still drizzling with rain, and only about 7C (45F). Not the nicest, so we bundled up and prepared ourselves to do the 5 km (3 mile) hike in the miserable weather. By the time we walked over to the office, they had closed up again! The guy in the office said they had an "issue", but he said he wasn't allowed to give us more details.

He suggested we go to the hot springs first, and come back around 2:00pm to see if they had things under control.

So we did!

Takhini Hot Pools has been there since the 1960's. It's popular with both locals and tourists. It's a little more commercialized than the Liard Hot Springs that we visited a couple of weeks ago, but then it's a private business. And, my first impression was that it's looking a little dated. Fortunately, that's all about to change!


Adult admission is $12.50 CAD ($9.75 USD) and that's for an all day pass. They also rent towels, swimsuits, and sandals (no outside footwear is allowed unless you have your own sandals) in case you arrive without any of those items.

Open style male and female showers and change rooms are provided for your use.

Me, enjoying the warm water!

We met a nice lady, Mary, who lives in Whitehorse. 
Here she is with Ruth.

Quite a few kids were in the cooler pool.

The hot side is separated.

Definitely a nice way to warm up on a chilly damp day.

But like I said, there are big changes in store for Takhini Hot Pools over the next couple of years. They've already begun construction on the first phase, and the current pools will remain open until the new facility is ready.

 The future Takhini Hot Pools.

We finished at the Hot Springs, and drove the short distance back to the Wildlife Preserve but the gates were still closed. So we continued on back to the main Highway and we will try to visit the Wildlife Preserve when we return to Whitehorse on our way back south in early August.

We are no longer on the Alaska Highway! We had turned north towards Dawson City and we are now on the Klondike Highway.

It was still drizzly and windy, and I just didn't have a lot of ambition to drive with the low clouds obscuring the beautiful scenery. So we pulled off the road at Lake Laberge to go to the Yukon Terrotorial Campground there. Yukon government campgrounds cost $12 CAD ($9.25 USD) per night, with firewood included. There are no services except for outhouses, but every site has a picnic table and a campfire ring. It's a great deal!

There are only 16 sites here, and not all of them are suitable for RV's, and in fact we wouldn't want to be driving anything much bigger than Sherman. Once again, we find Sherman to be the perfect size. I guess there's a reason we've kept him around for almost 11 years!

Sherman, in site #7.

Lake Laberge.

There were only two other rigs here though, so we got parked up without a problem and went for a hike. We had done about 2 kms (1.3 miles) on a gravel road, but my maps.me program showed a hiking trail that went off the gravel road.

It was actually an ATV trail, but it would do! 

We had gone another half km or so on that trail, when I saw a rocky ridge that looked like it might have a view. So we went off the trail a few yards and climbed up onto the rocky part.

About 1 minute after I took this photo, I spotted the bear!

I took a few photos and then was just looking around. I turned back towards the trail, and spotted a bear only about 100 yards ahead of us. I said quietly to Ruth "uh oh... there's a bear!"

And he saw us at about the same time. I took a photo of him, and we stood and watched each other for 20 seconds or so. Then, he looked back down at the ground and went about his business as we walked in the opposite direction. In all of our years of hiking, this is the first time we have met a bear!

Mr. Bear spotted us!

Interestingly, if we had not taken that little detour up to the rocky area with the view, we probably would have ended up a lot closer to him (her?) before we would have noticed each other!

So, our hike got cut a little short! Still, by the time we arrived back at Sherman, we had done 5.2 kms (3.2 miles).

Gorgeous scenery.

Lake Laberge.

Ruth, and the view!

More scenery.

We had a campfire in the evening, but it's not quite the same because it's still daylight. We're having a bit of a hard time getting used to the constant light, but there is more benefit than drawback.

Yesterday's drive, only 69 kms (43 miles).

Slept well, but got on the road before 7:00am and headed for the town of Carmacks.

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Record low price today on the Coleman ComfortSmart Camping Cot. Click on "these sellers" and scroll down to see the Amazon price...


And in Canada...



32 comments:

  1. Most bears unless they have cubs aren't that interested in approaching you. Glad you saw one and he just went about his business.

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    1. That is what w have read as well and as long as you don't get in "their" space. We kept our distance, it looked at us and realized that we were not a threat and then went back to eating, we turned around and went back the way we came.

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  2. Wow a bear! We had a black bear visit our camp here in Arizona while tent camping. Our dogs made enough noise to scare the bear off. Yep, we hiked in rain too while in Alaska but it was only a day. The rest of our days were beautiful, sunny days each time we visited....even in winter. We never saw the northern lights tho...a big disappointment. A day after we left, the newpapers splashed beautiful northern lights in their headlines captured in Wasilla, AK where we stayed! Maybe you can tape some newspaper in the windows to make the room darker to sleep. We had the same problem with trying to sleep in daylight. Beats me I can take a two hour nap mid afternoon here in Phoenix & I zonk out right away.

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    1. It was pretty neat to come across a bear on our hike but I am glad that we were far enough away from it that we could enjoy it without being a threat to it.

      We have had a fair bit of rain since arriving in the Yukon but it also hasn't stopped us from enjoying ourselves. I have read that July is the rainiest month up here so not sure what might be in store for us weatherwise.

      We don't have a problem sleeping with the daylight, what it does is it messes with our minds in the evening by thinking it isn't as late as what it really is so we end up going to bed later than we normally would. Now we pay attention to the clock in the motorhome and try to be in bed by 11pm, once the curtains are closed it is dark enough for us to sleep, we do have light blocking curtains.

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  3. I should have told you about the wildlife centre, I have been there 3 times and never open same excuses as you got

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    1. Perhaps they need better fences! ;-) Honestly we would rather see these animals in their REAL wild habitat.

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  4. I will never be able to take a trip like this, Ruth & Kevin, so thank you so much for taking us along and sharing your trip with us. I greatly appreciate it.

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    1. We are so happy to bring you along virtually on this adventure of ours but you better hold on because the ride will get a little bumpy soon. ;-)

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  5. Hey that is the Lake Labarge from the Robert Service poem "THE Cremation of Sam McGee"

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    1. There are strange things done in the midnight sun
      By the men who moil for gold;
      The Arctic trails have their secret tales
      That would make your blood run cold;
      The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
      But the queerest they ever did see
      Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
      I cremated Sam McGee.

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    2. Thanks Croft. This brings back so many memories of my youth, it was one of my Dad's favourites, he often recited it to us when we were growing up.
      Elaine McCullough May
      Ladysmith (Salt Air) BC

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    3. Yes Doug, it is one in the same.

      I remember as a child in school our class did a play about the "Cremation of Sam McGee".

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  6. Nice that you actually saw a bear from a distance and enjoyed the hot tubs as well.
    we saw couple of bear, on Ontario one in Algonquin park and one sniffing around a cottage Buckhorn Ontario, so nice to watch them.
    Keep enjoying the journey.

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    1. It was definitely a neat experience to see the bear on the trail but we are happy that it was at a nice distance away.

      We enjoyed nice soak in the hot springs. That is twice now for us in less than two weeks, that must be a record for us!

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  7. Love the bear photo! Your pictures would make some interesting puzzles!!

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    1. Thanks Connie and Barry! Hmmm, maybe we should be contacting some of these puzzle companies, maybe they would want to buy some of our pictures! :-)

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  8. Alaska is so vast yet there are only so many places an RV can go. It sure is fun following along. Bears are fun to see!

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    1. Right now we are in the Yukon, not Alaska and we are really enjoying our adventure here, definitely lots to see and experience.

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  9. The hot springs look awesome. Too bad about the wildlife preserve better safe than sorry. The scenery is spectacular thank you so much for the great pictures. Enjoy and be safe!

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    1. The hot springs were nice but we did enjoy the setting at the Liard hot springs better. It would be interesting to see what it looks like once they have completed their new complex, I am sure it will be beautiful.

      We didn't totally mind not seeing the Wildlife Preserve, we would much rather see the animals in their REAL natural settings, the problem with that is that we may not actually see some of them out in the wild.

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  10. Fantastic pics of Lake Laberge and the bear of course!

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  11. Attached article may be why you did not get into the Wildlife Preserve https://ca.news.yahoo.com/bears-came-back-curious-grizzlies-165809278.html . The funniest bear encounter i had was when a Black Bear walked by me about 10 feet from where i was BBQing on our deck a few years ago. Stalking the bear about 20 feet behind was a black cat.

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    1. Thanks Barry, we thought it was a bear that got loose in their facility not outside bears coming in! Too funny. :-)

      Loved your story, especially about the cat following the bear. My Dad almost tripped over one once at a campground in Banff as he was making his way to the bathroom one evening.

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  12. Hope you had your bear bells on and bear spray unholstered, those thing can run like hell...and ...How exciting!!!

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    1. No bear bells, but we had our bear spray and we had our air horn! Never had to use them though. :-)

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  13. One time we were in Yellowstone and approached a trail that was "closed." The reason? A bear had killed a deer or elk close to the trail and was busy feasting. Good on them to close it, right?

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    1. Yep, that would definitely be a good reason to close the trail. You wouldn't want to interrupt that dinner feast!

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