2010 Yukon Solo Motorcycle Trip

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Day 13 — Watson Lake, YT to Ft. Nelson, BC

Friday morning I left the motel in 39F temps and rode to where the northern end of the Stewart-Cassiar highway T's into the Alaska Highway. Got there at 4:30am hoping the road would be open. No joy. The fire grew overnight from 700 hectares to 1,500 hectares (approx. 3,700 acres) and the guy manning the roadblock said it his boss promised to update him about 8 or 9am.

I went back to the Air Force Lodge and gave the news to Bert and Hank, and the three of us headed up into town to fuel up and grab some breakfast. Then we went and parked on the road and waited. About 9am we got word the fire had spread southward along the highway, and made the decision not to spend another day waiting, but head SSE on the Alaska Highway. I headed back down the Alaska Highway towards Spokane, and Bert and Hank headed across Canada towards North Carolina.

This is what the smoke looked like just a few miles west of Watson Lake, about 10 miles from the Stewart-Cassiar highway. It didn't get much worse than this, but it sure lasted a long time. In Ft. Nelson, 330 miles away, the evening sky to the west was pinkish red from the smoke. The fire on the Stewart-Cassiar was still burning, and the road still closed, when I got back to Spokane 5 days later.

My first caribou shot, the others I saw all bolted as soon as I stopped. This one didn't seem bothered.

A momma Stone Sheep (aka Dall Sheep) with a little one, unconcerned about the motorcycle that stopped beside her...

I got this shot of a male Stone Sheep with full set of horns, but I'd left the camera in macro mode so the shot was out of focus. I turned it into this "art shot". Squint if you don't see it...

My favorite shot of the day. One of the few spots where the forest fire smoke wasn't too bad.

Another pretty vista along the Alaska Highway, this one looking SE between Watson Lake, YT and Ft. Nelson, BC.

In the "V", photo center, you can see three mountain peaks obscured by the smoke. This shot doesn't capture the subtle shading, unfortunately.

Copyright © 2010, by H. Marc Lewis. All rights reserved.