Expansive Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge in Tok, Alaska,
was a perfect time for our first break in the drive.
Not far from the Canada/US border,
these wetlands, tundra and forests
are nestled within the Tanana River Valley.
700,000 acres of pristine wilderness set aside
for birds and animals to live in safety.
"That's a lot of real estate" is a comment Jack often repeated under his breath
as we drove the 65 miles of the Alaska highway that makes up
the northern boundary of the Refuge.
The painting on the door of the Visitor Log Cabin is of a trumpeter swan
with the words printed underneath:
"Come in and rest your wings." Nice, huh?
Crossing into Canada's Yukon Territory quickly reminded us
of the roughest stretch of trip in over 4,000 miles.
The permafrost heaves and holes jolted and tossed us up/down,
right and left. Poor Shoeless couldn't even stand up in the back seat.
Do you remember my post about the Drunken Forests caused by permafrost
on 9/21 ? Not only trees are affected by the thawing and freezing of
permafrost. We laughed at the precarious tilt of many telephone poles.
We rarely saw poles during most of the trips through northern Canada-
maybe this was why. We discussed the perils of being a lineman
in the Yukon Territory. The call to repair a "line down" must be common
since even the ones standing were already halfway there.
After a night in Whitehorse we turned right (sort of)
and headed south. This trip we chose to stay nearer the coastline
so we didn't hit snow in the Northern Rockies. We
decided to drive down the Cassiar Highway in NW British Columbia.
It is a narrow and winding road with few other cars but labelled a haul road
for logging trucks so we needed to give them the right of way.
The mountain peaks were stupendous and fall colors great!
The air is BC is clear and fresh as you can imagine.
We were puzzled when we noticed this sign.
Seemed a bit unnecessary up here in this wilderness.
No traffic jams, no parking, no stores--yet a warning to drivers
about idling to "improve air quality"--really??
We watched as snow began to adorn the high peaks as snow clouds
clustered over them. Looked like a dusting of powdered sugar shaken from a sifter.
Can you see the heavy clouds sitting on top of the mountain?
Once again, many miles of this amazing trip didn't call for any talking and
no cell towers nor radio transmitters were available.
Quiet and personal reflection settled in the car peacefully.
What a phenomenal world we have!
The majesty of the mountains humbles me.