Monday, May 7, 2012

The Alaska Highway

We started out from Lynx Creek Campground early this morning as we had 5 or 6 hours to drive depending on what book you read.  Since it was early, we saw about 8 deer in groups on the edge of the road.  Thankfully none of them decided to run across the highway.  Since they are just the color of the dead grass at the edge of the road, they were harder to spot than the big darker animals.

Finally we turn the corner on to the Alaska Highway. The US Army built the Alcan in 7 months in 1942.  In the days before privatization overtook the military, ordinary soldiers did the construction work. Thirty thousand of them.

This highway has become vital for the oil and gas industry in B.C.  Roads lead off on either side to fracking sites.  Huge work camps have been set up.  Portable buildings with 3 "apartments/rooms" are set up in rows.  

Mostly the road is dreary.  Wide mowed shoulders make it easier to watch for animals. But all we see is a small black bear running across the road in front of us near Pink Mountain. This is not my picture. But it looks like the bear that ran into the woods.

The facilities along our route  to Fort Nelson consist of widely spaced pullouts with litter baskets, bear proof.

We were delayed at one flagman stop for quite a while.  When we finally went by the site workmen were hosing off the road and I spotted a vehicle tires up off the road.  This was at the bottom of a long steep grade with a curve at the bottom.  We decided the firetruck we had seen go past in the opposite direction might have come from this accident.

The forest is odd. The trees are close together, spindly and almost like a pygmy forest in most places.  There must be a problem with the soil, because at times the trees were robust. If we had seen an office of the Forest District when we came into town, I would have liked to stop and ask what was up with the forest.

The gas gauge was approaching empty and we might have stopped for gas when we saw a Shell sign.  But it looked like the owners had just abandoned the shop.  Maybe they just took off to work in the gas fields.

The museum in town won't open until the weekend of the 19th of May. Some big Canadian holiday.  William says Victoria Day.  The visitor center was supposed to be open, but had a big closed sign on it.  The RV park cashier speculated that they were cleaning up after some big trade show that they had over the weekend.

We made good time, so we stopped early. But this is a good spot and William needed a break.


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