Monthly Archives: May 2014

catching last turns at the Fraser summit

tim hunter snowmobile summit

While I missed my friends and my bathtub while we were on the road, Hunter missed his friend Gareth and snowboarding. He was greatly concerned that if he didn’t board this year that he would forget how and have to start all over again next winter.

IMG_1629March and April in the Yukon bring these amazingly BIG bluebird skies which make the snow and the mountains sparkle. We usually spend easter weekend up at the Fraser Summit camping and snowboarding/skiing/playing with friends and then get in one or two other weekends as well. The scenery makes your jaw drop and it is out of this world spring skiing conditions.

The weather this week has been great and driving back through the Yukon on the weekend you could still see a decent amount of snow on the mountains. We made the call to get organized and head out to the summit on Wednesday. This meant pulling out all the winter clothes + snowboards + getting the snowmobile running!

The snow was all plowed and melted from the roads and our normal parking lot was closed. We looked at each other and said…. 50/50 – what do you want to do? It was a 2 hr drive to get there and we had all our stuff and the sun was shining so we loaded it all up and headed into the mountains. Hunter and I boarded for 1.5 hours while Tim generously ran the shuttle snowmobile. We decided to head back when our legs got tired and the snow became a bit punchy (causes the snowmobile to fall through the crust).

A fabulous day in the mountains! We rounded it out by stopping at a country friends house on the way home and spending the afternoon having drinks on the deck in the sun and catching up.

22 hours & 2000 km

IMG_1601Leaving Williams Lake we pressed the “home” button on the GPS and were told it would take us 22 hours – UGH… Nothing like a long long long drive to cap off our 8 months! The spring transition was an interesting one. Harrison Hotsprings was definitely spring like with lots of green on the ground, daffodils and tulips out and cherry blossoms in full bloom.

IMG_1603Williams Lake was just starting to green up – the snow had been gone for a few weeks and you could see the green poking through the brown layers of grass. By the time we hit just north of Quesnel, we were seeing snow in the ditches. A few more hours and we were into full fledged snow in the fields and on the roadsides. Really interesting study in latitude and altitude and the impacts they have on weather.

We were really happy with the amount of wildlife that we saw driving as we struck out on the drive south in the fall. A mother bear and 3 brand new cubs, a healthy 3 year old bear, fields of deer and elk, handfuls of caribou and a number of roadside bison clusters. The bison are definitely the most amazing – seeing these 1200lb animals just laying in the ditches or at times, wandering up and down the road – you have no choice but to pause and admire them.

Our first night of the drive we slept in the rest area at Mile 80 of the Alaska Highway (after 9 hours of driving). Our second night we made it to Liard Hot Springs Provincial Park. It is the second largest natural hot springs in Canada and a must stop when driving the Alaska Highway. We all agreed that we preferred it to Harrison Hotsprings as this has no commercial structure or feel to it – the pools are right at the source, and you feel like you are in the middle of a river. There have been some infrastructure upgrades (new change rooms, new deck) over the last few years that have improved the experience. We didn’t take any photos but there are some good images that you can see on this Yukon site. The hot springs is open all year long and is incredibly peaceful (except for weekend evenings). We took a dunk  when we got there at dinner time, just before bed and again before breakfast.

IMG_1622Day 3 of driving was a straight haul up the Alaska Highway 7.5 hours to Whitehorse. The bluebird skies were out and you can’t help but admire the rugged beauty of snow capped mountains and bright blue skies. It’s how you know you are in the Yukon in the spring.

IMG_1619Everyone was happy to pile out of the truck once we got home. This 3 day push is the longest stretch of driving that we did in the entire 8 month journey. Our house sitters did an amazing job and we came home to a house with minimal wear and tear and a fresh loaf of bread on the counter… can’t get better than that!

I will write more about the whole aspect of getting home, settling back in etc. later this week.