I passed a few more bears but they were close to the forest and usually would run away, this one was close to the road, I got a picture of him while still riding but by the time I stopped he was gone.
We continued to pass construction areas and steel grate bridges as we approached Muncho Lake. The Heidenau tires with the aggressive full knobby design tend to wonder quite a bit and takes getting use to it, an inexperienced rider might over react when passing other cars on a bridge and the bike is moving all over but I had no problems, light hands on the handlebars and maintain the speed.
As we get closer to Muncho Lake we pass various rivers and the terrain becomes very rocky, the facade of the mountains very vertical and pure rock, a strong contrast to just a few miles before.
We stop to rest and I stop a few hundred yards ahead of the other guys, I needed to get a picture of the other bikes to show a better perspective and to better show the size of the mountain. You can see the other guys on the second picture.
We stop again when we first see Muncho Lake, the water has a beautiful blueish color, unfortunately the sky had become cloudy and that is not good for photography.
Our next stop is at the Northern Rockies Lodge on Muncho Lake, we take a few pictures by the boat dock and then stop in front to admire the lodge, a log building with a beautiful facade. The website says the log building is the largest Hotel on the Alaska Highway, website here.
A few miles down the road I make a quick stop when I see a black bear on the side of the road. My friends were ahead of me but when they saw the bear they turned around and came back to where I was, a few yards from the bear. The bear didn't care for us, he continued foraging and kept moving forward along the edge of the road.
We pass Muncho Lake and a little latter come upon a Bison herd, the last time I had seen Bison was in Yellowstone two years ago during my cross crountry trip. As I approached, there's a male Bison crossing the road, I stop on the side and wait for him to cross, you don't want to mess with these guys.
The rest of the herd was on the right side of the road and kept moving closer to us, we stood there taking pictures with engines running just in case. Bison can be belligerent and unpredictable specially when their offspring are nearby.
This little one must have been tired, he lay down close to us while the others continued looking for food. At one time, bison in North America declined to as low as 541 according to Wikipedia. More here:
We finally reach our destination for the day, Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park. The park is home to the second largest hot spring in Canada. We circle the campsite looking for a place and find a campsite that will fit all four tents. We are in the middle of setting up the tents when a familiar GS400 pulls up to our campsite, Jean Paul tracked us down. The site was big enough, we invite him to share the site with us, I was sure we were going to hear stories from this kid.
It was time to hit the hot springs, after all that was the reason we picked this place. We found out later there are no showers in Provincial Parks, not to worry though, the water was so hot that I think I lost a few layers of skin in the pool.
|Paul (Limey), Jean Paul and John walking to the pools|
|I have my hands up in the air because I didn't want to wet them while handling the camera|
There's a long boardwalk leading from the campsite to the pools through a lush forest. The first boardwalk and pool facilities were built by the United States Army in 1942. The Liard River Hot Springs were originally named the Theresa Hot Springs.
It was time for dinner, we walk back to the campsite and Pete goes looking for a place for us to have dinner or buy food. After inquiring at the registration office he comes back and tells us the closes place to buy food is 60 miles away and the little native restaurant across the street has no food either. Today we made a big mistake, we hadn't stopped to buy anything. Luckily Paul (Limey) had the ready to eat meals and he happened to have four of them. The meals are the ones you can buy at sporting goods stores, you just add boiling water and you have instant dinner. Jean Paul had no problems, he pulls out a loaf of bread and a jar of honey a friend had given him, sticks his hunting knife in the jar and proceeds to spread honey on slices of bread. We all look at him with amazement, this kid is prepared for anything. Later we all try pieces of bread with honey, it's actually quite good.
I am wearing my socks because the mosquitoes were out to get us.
|Left to Right: Jean Paul, Paul (Limey), me, David (in blue) and John|
|Jean Paul's camping equipment on the left of the picture|
Five bikes, five tents and $20 for the site, not bad, the four of us split the $20 and Jean Paul stayed for free. He more than paid with his stories, we could listen to him all night.
More to come.....