Day 14 -Carmacks, YT to Liard River & Hot Springs

Distance: 827 kilometers
Riding Time: 9:30am to 7:30pm (long day)
Temps: Pretty much low 20s since I left this morning – lovely!

A long day today to make up some miles. I had a feeling this part of the journey would be less than spectacular scenery-wise. I was right. Don’t get me wrong it is scenic but there aren’t any of the jaw dropping vistas from the previous days journeys. Fine by me as I’m working my way back south and towards the Rockies again.

The hotel last night, appropriately named the Carmacks Hotel, was quite good. It was surprisingly nice for such a small town. One drawback was the bar next door that they own. There was hooting and hollering well into the night. It was Friday so that’s to be expected. I slept through most of it anyhow.

I set my alarm for the wrong timezone again and woke up late. After grabbing something to eat and loading up the bike I didn’t get on the road until 9:30. I wasn’t entirely sure how far I’d travel today. I figured I’d aim for Watson Lake and see how the weather was. Turns out there were some huge rainstorms but I was able to sneak right between them and only get a tad wet for a few minutes. I’d battened down the hatches preparing for the worst but luckily my preparation was for not.

Again a day of traveling through treed valleys with the occasional viewpoint of the large rivers. While they are not particularly picturesque they certainly are impressive. The shear amount of water moving through these rivers up here is astounding. The Yukon, Pelly, Dease and Liard Rivers are absolutely gigantic.

After reaching Watson Lake and looking at the time (around 4:30 or 5:00) I decided to push on. I’d already stayed here (not much in the town) so I figured I’d work my way further down the road to see what was there. Well, nothing at all until you get to Liard River which was one of my scheduled stops anyway. There is a world renowned hot springs here and camping.

Along the way I saw two more black bears and got a good picture of one. I’m a bit apprehensive about getting off the bike too close to these guys as they are pretty quick and if they wanted to could be on me before you can say “white on rice”. I also saw a few Bison (Buffalo) and then a large herd of them with many small ones. Pretty cool to see the Bison out roaming around – much different than seeing them outside of the lodge at Yellowstone. 🙂

I thought I’d stay in the provincial park for camping but it was full. There was overflow camping in the picnic area which would be fine. Unfortunately, they only accept cash as payment. HUH?! Unreal. I’ve never been to any provincial or national park in North America in all of my travels that ONLY accepts cash. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I rarely carry any cash at all anymore. The odd thing is she would take a cheque! A cheque? Who takes cheques from out of province anymore.

I was ticked off. There’s no bank machine for about 150 kilometers. Before getting to hasty and jetting off I looked and there is an RV park across the street. $20 a night, debit payment and plenty of room. It’s not exactly what I’d call camping but it will do for one night. There a restaurant here too but it closes at 8:00pm. By the time I got my gear off the bike and was about to set up it was too late. So I had the ‘dinner of champions’ – Hawkins Cheezies, Lay’s Ketchup Chips and some water and Gatorade. At least the snack shop was open. 😉

I’ll get up tomorrow and pack up first then head over to the hot springs for a dip. Then head further south. I’ll see if I can make it down to Dawson Creek. I think I’ll leave Vancouver for my trip from Nelson in August.