Sunday, August 9, 2009

Yukon Trip 2009 - Day 24 - Alaska Highway

Woke up on the morning of June 15th, at Wolf Creek, just outside of Whitehorse, to a sunny, but brisk 6c although it warmed to 8c by the time we hit the road at 9:20 am. Took a side road to 'Swan Haven' located on McClintock Bay - this lake (Marsh Lake) is ice free sooner than any other lake in the area and thousands of Swans, both Trumpeter and Tundra arrive, the moment the ice comes off.

This appears to be a mainly residential area, but squeezed in between the houses is this 'Swan Haven' interpretive center which is open for the month of April - which tells you that for birding, you need to go to Yukon a lot earlier than one would think.

This is one of the permanent signs at the location.

This is the tally sheet that is posted and shows you the varieties of bird species and their numbers during April - it seems that the 3rd week of April if 'the' week to be there.

a photo op sign with a very strange looking chipmunk!

back on the Alaska highway we stopped at Jake's Corner (where the road turns off to Atlin, B.C.) as I wanted to take a picture of this interesting nesting box for Cliff Swallows.

here is a closer view of these interesting, and very busy nest boxes.

Back on the road, we stopped at the Teslin Lake Campground again for lunch - you remember that this lake was still partially frozen when we were here before.....what surprised us this time was how much higher the water level was.

the trail down from the campground to where there should have been a lake shore.......

the flooded lake shore.......

a little further along we stopped at the viewing platform on Teslin Lake.....this yellow Loco Weed
was in full flower.

and the Potentilla - a familiar shrub to every gardener!

across the bridge and one final look back at Teslin.......

back on the road and stopped at Ranchero Falls again to give the dogs a break - there was this pair of Fifth Wheels in the parking lot - as people who intentionally downsized to 444 sq. ft to reduce our carbon footprint - I found this, occupied by one retired couple, a bit much! Hopefully they live in it full time.....and by the way, they were Canadian.

Ernie and Shantz walked down to the falls and took this final picture........the next section of the drive was pretty boring so we started counting RV's, because, for a while it seemed like rush hour. We were pretty sure there were more Americans than Canadians on the road so from 1:15 pm to 4:00 pm, here was the tally...18 RV's from Canada - Alberta led with 7, B.C. had 6, Quebec - 2, and one each from Ontario, Manitoba, & New Brunswick. 40 RV from the U.S.A., couldn't catch them all but California led with Florida a close second.

Pulled into Big Creek Campground for the night. Not a terribly exciting spot, but would do.

This is 'Big Creek' although, as we were to find out as evening fell....Mosquito Creek would have been a better name!

I walked across the highway to attempt to get some pictures of the Cliff Swallows nesting under this bridge, but couldn't get close enough.....Big Creek appeared to have a fairly high water level....

and now a word about mosquitoes.....none of the guide books really like to mention the fact that there are bugs - which, of course there are, at least during mild would be better if they admitted they were there and offered ways of coping with I'm going to offer a few that we have learned by trail and error - an electric bug zapper bat is a necessity - in fact would recommend more than one...we had to remember to take ours from the camper to the truck each time we moved.......

Mosquitoes look for a cool, shady place to spent the day....the inside of your vehicle or RV is ideal in their mind. That round thing is a mosquito coil holder and by hanging it just outside of the screen door, it keeps the mosquitoes from coating the screen and rushing in every time you open the door.

this is a view of the screen on one of the vents - to give an idea of the numbers of mosquitoes....this spot was the worst spot we encountered on the whole trip - from here on in it gets better.
Campground fee: $12. Total distance traveled to date: 5,763 km.

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