Thursday, July 9, 2009

Yukon Trip 2009 - Day 8 Part 2 - Alaska Highway

The village of Teslin is the first actual community you come to on the Alaska Highway, if you have entered the highway via #37 as we did. The highway drops quite dramatically to take you down to the Nisutlin Bay bridge, which is visible in this picture. There is a very large turn out and viewpoint, which is where this photo was taken from.

The main body of water you see is Nisutlin Bay, which is where the Nisutlin River (located to the right) runs into Teslin Lake, which is just visible at the base of the far mountains. According to the Milepost...Teslin has a population of 411....last frost date is June 15 and first frost date is August 15, they average 14 degrees in summer and minus 22 in winter, with an average of 66 inch's of snow and their wettest month is July!

This is the very nice information kiosk situated at the viewpoint. Immediately across the bridge was a large gas station, store, restaurant and RV park. We stopped there for fuel, including filling one of our two propane tanks. We were going to have to stay somewhere with power soon as I had some memory cards that were going to need downloading to my lap top pretty soon, but not being a fan of parking lot style RV parks, no matter how nice, we elected to continue on.

Teslin Lake is very long thin lake, over half of the lake is in B.C. The Alaska Highway follows the shores of the lake for what seems a very long way, but in reality, most of the lake isn't visible from any road. 3 or 4 kilometers from the village itself,there was a viewing platform at the side of the road, which is where we took these photos. You can see that the lake is still partially covered in ice.

This view would be looking westward, while the one above was looking back towards the village.

12 or so kilometers from the village we came to the Teslin Lake Campground which is where we elected to spend the night.

Our campsite. This would be a good time to say a bit about Yukon Campgrounds. They are all self-register and they all cost $12 per night. Firewood is supplied. There is no fee for firewood. They all have pit toilets, hand pumps for water and all have a kitchen shelter....some of these are screened in, some aren't. Despite the fact that they are 'self - register' that does not mean that they are neglected, I don't normally use 'public facilities' but when ever I did, they were spotless. Another note: IF you are a Yukon resident, you can buy an annual camping pass....this costs $50. Doesn't that just make you green with envy if you are a B.C. resident??? and just so you turn an even deeper shade of emerald....if you are 65 or older....they are free!

Back to the subject at hand.....this was the view from our campsite. The trees are just coming into leaf. There were Yellow, Yellow-rump and Wilson's Warblers all over the place, plus Robins and Swainson's Thrush. Trails led down to the lake shore.

There must be an active birding group in Teslin. Ernie found this discarded notice while he was wandering. Not sure if it applied to this year or not, but gives you an idea of the types and numbers of birds found in the area and when.....note May 12th being the date. My wanders found signs warning about mist nets and asking people not to touch them......mist nets are used to harmlessly catch birds, they are removed from the nets and banded before being released.

The ice, that was quickly melting made a constant reminded me of glass wind chimes.

Spotted Sandpiper were here ....of course! We also heard Common Loons on the lake. The entire time we were there we could hear 'something' calling almost sounded fairly large and from the location must have been some sort of waterfowl or shorebird, but we couldn't find a thing....most of the area that the sound was coming from was inaccessible.

This was another view of the lake, taken from below our campsite, looking back towards the east.

Flowers were just coming out....this Arctic Lupin was beside the kitchen shelter so a little further advanced than others in the campground.

Spotted these Calypso Orchids in a sunny spot in the central area of the campground. The campground was a single loop with the center left natural.

a close up view of the Calypso Orchids.
Campground fee: $12 Total distance traveled to date: 2,249 km.

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