Heading south from Watson Lake in the Yukon, one of the ‘required’ stops is at Liard Hot Springs Provincial Park. There is a campground, but the most impressive feature is the huge natural, outdoor hot springs that are open for public swimming. I went for a dip in the evening, and although the campground was full and the overflow area looked busy, there was still plenty of room at the pools for a leisurely dip. I returned very early in the morning, and had the whole place to myself for the best part of an hour.
There are concrete benches under water.
The warm, humid, oasis like surroundings created by the hot springs has created a unique environment, that attracts a wide variety of vegetation otherwise unusual in this area. This in turn attracts moose, waterfowl, and bears. These geese were feeding right beside the boardwalk leading to the springs.
Back on the road, the wildlife show continued, with more bison, bears, and sheep.
The Alaska highway narrows somewhat as it winds it’s way through Muncho Lake and Stone Mountain provincial parks, then widens again as it approaches Fort Nelson. I found fuel prices in Fort Nelson quite out of line and way higher than in other nearby areas. Diesel price was $1.289/L in Fort Nelson, while I purchased diesel in Watson Lake for $1.169. Watson Lake is almost 1000km further north on the same road. I also purchased fuel in Dawson City, Yt for $1.169 just previously. Dawson City is about 1500km or almost a thousand miles further north on the same road. I saw fuel tankers headed north all the time right through Fort Nelson. If you are traveling the Alaska Highway, I recommend that you avoid purchasing fuel (or anything?) in Fort Nelson. I sent a note to the Chamber of Commerce in Fort Nelson complaining of the price, but received no reply, so perhaps they don’t care! End of rant.
South of there, our route left the Alaska highway north of Fort St John as we turned west again along the mighty Peace River. A very controversial dam is under construction there at ‘Site C’. A new government in British Columbia may affect the outcome.
I found a nice spot with a great river view to spend the night, before heading through the town of Hudson’s Hope for another tire repair – of the same tire that was repaired up in Whitehorse earlier. From there we went to have a look at another older dam on the Peace River, the W.A.C. Bennett dam, named after the provincial premier at the time.
There is a visitor centre on site, and dam tours are available for a small fee. The tour goes right down into a tunnel under the dam to see the power house and the water as it exits the turbines.