I have to say that, without a doubt, the Yukon Territory is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Around every turn, a new breathtaking view, a remnant of the past, or another of nature’s fantastic creations. Leaving Watson Lake, the mountains rose up in the distance:
They provided a nice backdrop to the deep forests…
Stopped to take a stroll into the woods to see what I could see:
The woods are amazingly quiet. You can hear your own breathing as your shoes crunch along the trail. After a while, the stillness is broken by the sound of rushing water:
To walk through these woods is to step back in time. There is evidence of a forest fire from over 100 years ago. Due to the damp and cold, things don’t deteriorate quickly in these woods. This is a good thing as the fallen logs provide a home to plants and animals that provide for the larger animals like bears and wolves.
The evidence of a forest fire is a good thing, as well. Heavy underbrush hinders new plant growth which is necessary for grazing animals like elk and deer. Natural fires clear out this underbrush and fells or destroys dead trees – opening up the path for that needed new growth.
As I make my way back out of the woods I realize that, as impressive as the majestic mountains and rushing waters are, beauty is all around on a small scale:
There are the remains of the Gold Rush days of the late 1800s:
And you are surrounded by the work of someone many years before that:
Truly a spectacular place!
Found this little church in Haines Junction. It was constructed in 1954 with parts from abandoned WWII Army quonset huts:
In Whitehorse, evidence of the Gold Rush days came in the way of the S.S. Klondike, a paddlewheel steamship built in 1937 and used to transport passengers and cargo to and from the gold rich area.
I’m in Tok, Alaska, the first settlement inside the Alaskan border. Although the Alaska Highway continues on for another 108 miles to the true end of road in Delta Junction, here’s where I leave the highway and start heading southwest for Anchorage.
Driving the Alaska Highway is something I recommend to everyone. The sights, people, and natural wonders are all something to be seen in a lifetime. But, don’t hurry. You need to be able to wander off the path once in a while. You need to be able to take a moment or two to talk to fellow travelers or those along the way who watch those travelers pass by each day. And you need to just stop – take a deep breath of incredible mountain air – before realizing how easy it would be to pull off the road here and just become part of this life.
I have a mass of photos that I’ll be posting to a photo album on Fri/Sat when I’m in Anchorage. The iffy internet here in Tok make uploading photos a chore. I have some more stories to tell as well and will post them as soon as possible.
My family is flying up to meet me in Anchorage for a couple of weeks. So, while I’m sad that the Alaska Highway adventure has come to an end, another exciting part of this trip begins as my family and I check out all the natural wonders that Alaska has to offer!
Travel since Watson Lake: 658 miles
Total Travel To Date: 5649 miles