Written by Kevin
Written by Kevin
The night of July 30th we had to make a decision. We were on our way southeast from Whitehorse. We didn’t get away very quickly after church so we were trying to make up for lost time. After dinner with friends in Palmer we had decided to travel the Cassiar highway (Highway 37). But when we got to the junction of 37 and the Alcan it was about 10 pm. This was the little roadside attraction we had stopped at on our way north when the van wasn’t running well so perhaps we were dealing with those unpleasant memories in addition to having to make a decision on which road to take. It was late enough that we were worried about gas stations being open. We had less than a half tank of gas left and realized that if we were going to go on the Cassiar we would have to camp and wait till morning, so we would lose a night of driving (4-5 hours). In the end we decided to take the Alcan and go to Liard Hot Springs. We had been told by several people that it was a cool spot and worth the stop. We filled up in Watson Lake (the location of the sign post forest - the picture from the top of the Blog) and drove until just before Liard Hot Springs. Setting our alarms for 8am we were looking at 7-8 hours of sleep, but I spent a bunch of time looking at the drone footage and by the time I hit the sack it was about 2 am. When 8 am rolled around we hit the snooze, then hit it again, then turned off the alarms, and by the time we were up and coherent it was 11 am. We ate what we could grab quickly from the cooler for breakfast and headed for the Hot Springs.
It’s a 700m walk on a nice boardwalk through a swampy area to the hot springs. We continued on the boardwalk up to the upper area where we saw the hanging gardens, then came back down, changed our clothes and got in the pool. The water was hot indeed. We did the water acclamation dance trying to get our upper bodies in and work our way toward the hot water inlet. The first person we started talking to was a Canadian crane operator that tried to tell us the secrets of the hot springs and how to get to the cool pockets. That conversation lead to another with a guy from Maine that had driven up to Alaska to run the Alaska Man triathlon. I was excited about that triathlon so it was fun to hear his race report. Then we started talking to a lady who was riding her bike from Alaska to Argentina (www.Nataliebybike.com) and it was interesting to hear the story of how she’s riding her bike around the world (what gear is she carrying, what does she eat, where does she stay, how does she finance the trip, etc.)
Once we were thoroughly cooked we decided to hit the road. Before leaving we wanted to get some drone footy, it was misty and magical when we came in and looked prime for a fly over. While I was flying over a big group of jeeps rolled into the parking lot. The jeeps had “Alaska or Rust” stickers on the windshields. Somehow one of them heard that we were planning to drive to Patagonia and the group leader came over and started talking to us. He told us that they had 2 Brazilians in the group, one of which was turning 84 tomorrow (August 1st). The old Brazilian had driven from Brazil to Fairbanks in 1955 over the course of a year. The group had some antique jeeps that were already experiencing some mechanical issues, but all in all they looked like they were having a good time. The leader had us sign his Jeep and gave us a couple of t-shirts and said he was going to post a picture of us on his blog (www.alaskaorrust.com). All in all it was a good decision to head to the Hot Springs. We met a lot of interesting people, got to chill out in the hot pots, and felt pretty good when we hit the road. We’ll work on putting together a quick LIard clip.