Dates: 16-18 June 2016
Start: Dawson, Yukon Territory, Canada
End (16th): Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada
End (17th): Dease Lake, British Columbia, Canada
End (18th): Prince George, British Columbia, Canada
Time Traveled: 5.5 hours + 6.5 hours + 11.5 hours = 23.5 hours total
I saw my first porcupine.
It slowly lumbered across the highway, either oblivious or apathetic to the 1.5-ton vehicle approaching at high speed. With a firm push down on the brake pedal, the car came to a controlled-but-quick stop with its nose a meter or so from the creature. As the vehicle used what remaining space there was to maneuver around the rodent, the porcupine paused, then gave a warning strike to fend off its newfound nemesis. However, as the car was not, in fact, an apex predator, it simply drove off into the distance without so much of an acknowledgement of that gesture.
That, then, perfectly describes the pinnacle of excitement for the last few days.
The 15th was, to put it frankly, boring. I was simply treading back over ground I had covered on the way up to Inuvik, but mercifully it was a reasonably short drive and my host in Whitehorse – I stayed at an Airbnb listing – was quite pleasant. She had even gone to the same university I attended during my semester in Scotland!
The drive to Dease Lake was equally uneventful, though in an unpleasant plot twist, it did involve driving on one of the worst “highways” I had ever been on. Seriously, it rivaled the Dempster Highway for poor road quality, which is pathetic considering the latter was gravel and this was tarmac. On the way, I encountered an SUV in the middle of the road that was missing a wheel.
My lodging that night was another Airbnb listing, this time a small “off the grid” log cabin with no running water, whose only source of electricity was a solar panel providing 12V DC power. For those unfamiliar with US and Canadian electrical standards, most outlets use 120V AC current, which meant that if I had tried to plug in any of my devices – such as my laptop or phone – I may have caused a small explosion. I decided against that.
You might be wondering why in the world I had elected to stay there with that in mind. The truth is that I wanted to be away from the rest of the world for a little while.
I had a lovely evening. The owner and I sat by a campfire and conversed well past midnight, interspersed with cuddling her dog and fending off mosquitoes…who didn’t relent as I tried to sleep. Unfortunately, I wound up providing a nice meal for far too many of them.
After a night spent as mosquito food, I returned to the Canadian Rockies on my way down to Prince George. It was a scenic, but again, uneventful drive.
Only a couple more days remain until the end of the northern half of my trip and an intermission of sorts.