Tuesday, August 20, 2013
We knew that we were entering a different place when we crossed the border into the North West Territories. The road started out as a nice two lane blacktop (of course no shoulders or guardrails) but quickly deteriorated to a narrow muddy lane. After about a hundred miles of wilderness, we were in Fort Liard, a native settlement with a free campground. We were surprised when a whole herd of bison appeared out of nowhere. We were the only ones there except some young German hippies. We continued to Fort Simpson on the Waterfalls Route. We took another ferry and began to notice all of the smoke in the air. This is the only place in the world that has a license plate in the shape of a bear. Driving from Fort Simpson east towards Hay River, the visibility was almost zero because of the smoke. We later learned that this each year, the NWT has about 250 forest fires, but because of the record heat and lack of rain, this year, the fires have been even worse. I was afraid to continue but I some decided that most of the smog was due to high humidity and not just the wood smoke. We saw several beautiful waterfalls on our way to Hays River on the shores of the Great Slave Lake.
Monday, August 19, 2013
We drove back to the Alaskan Highway on the Campbell Highway which is a four hundred mile mainly dirt road with only three small settlements along the way. We rarely saw another vehicle and spent the first night at a rustic campground in an Indian village. We visited a group of young girls working in a beautiful vegetable garden under the supervision of an older woman who wound up presenting us with fresh lettuce, snow peas to add to our supper. The road was far worse than the Top of the World. It was muddy, dusty, narrow and had sections of washboard that reminded me of driving in Africa. After three days of horrible road, but beautiful wilderness we arrived at Watson Lake (we did not repeat a single mile of the Alaskan Highway going or coming!) we dropped into British Columbia on one of the most scenic drives ever and saw wildlife everywhere. By the way, the thing that looks like a fire extinquiser on my belt is bear spray. I'm always glad when I do not have to use it. Wild bison, a black bear, caribou and even stone sheep were hanging out right along the road. We stopped at some natural hot springs that were the hottest that I have ever experienced. The only gas station along the drive had a comment posted on his gas pump in response to reactions to his prices. If you look closely you will see that the price is $ 1.79 per liter, or about $ 6.75 per gallon!!! We camped at a beautiful site at Muncho Lake and continued the next day up into the Northwest Territories.