"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Friday, May 17, 2024

Hot Springs & Cold Water - Lots of Wildlife Too - British Columbia

Stikine, British Columbia
Boya Lake Provincial Park 

Finishing up our time on the Cassiar Hwy, we pass the Jade Store.  It's about 3 hours from Kinaskan Lake.
Some cut jade stone.
It was a nice stop.  Pretty things but the prices were very expensive.  Angie did pick up a nice pair of earrings though that were decently priced.
Another 1/2 hour drive and we were at our next stop, Boya Lake Provincial Park.
This is an incredibly gorgeous place!  The lake has the most incredible colors.  Much like the Carribean Ocean.  The rains had just ended when we drove up and the clouds were parting.  It was $20 to camp, no utilities.  There was a spring fed water pump, but it just trickled out.  Water and dump stations have been challenging to find on the upper part of the Cassiar so I'd fill up and dump when you can.
We got the kayaks out and paddled around, amazed at the colors.
The water was so still and the reflections like a mirror!

The Loons were out.  Ther are supposed to be Burbot in the lake.  We saw only a few fish in the crystal clear water.  We caught nothing though.
Our campsites were very private on one loop and backed right up to the lake.
It was so beautiful we'd consider stopping by on our way back.

It was exciting reaching Watson Lake so we could visit the Sign Post Forest and leave one of our own.
One of the most famous of the landmarks along the Alaska Highway was started by a homesick GI in 1942. It is now one of the attractions which make Watson Lake, at Mile Marker 635, a must see.  You can add your own sign to the over 72,000 already there.  We both left one of our older SD plates.

Liard River, British Columbia
Liard River Hot Springs PP
$20, #6.  No dump or electric and only water for jugs and it was very cloudy.  We didn't use it.  That's the other problem lately, if you get pumped water it comes with a boil warning and its quite dirty looking.  I forgot a picture of the campsite but they are large and very private.  All the provincial parks have been beautiful and clean.

There is a lot of bear activity in this area.  Seems the bears also love the hot springs.  Not sure if it has to do with the bear attack in August of 1997 which left 2 dead and others injured, but there is now fencing around the campground.  It gives a kind of, Jurassic Park look to it.  Strangely, only the campground is fenced.  To get to the hot springs, you leave the fencing (the gate is pictured above) and begin the boardwalk that runs through the marsh to the hot springs.  Moose are often in this area and it would be difficult to fence off the walk way and hot springs.
Walking down the boardwalk for a soak.  With bear spray of course.
There are two pools at the top as well as bathrooms and a changing area.  The closer you get to the source, the hotter.  The lower pool is much cooler and if you keep going back to the tiny waterfall, it gets much cooler.  The area is lush and green.

Rick and Steve enjoying the warmer upper pool.
We did three visits to the hot springs.  Only Rick going for the third time.  On the way back on one of our soaks we were lucky to see a moose.
We were not able to walk to the upper gardens.  The gate was marked closed and we could see a downed tree.  I also wonder if they never reopened it due to the bear attack.  It was a great visit and we're glad we doubled back towards Fort Nelson on the Alaska Highway to see it.  This upper part we didn't get to see originally as we had to turn back due to the fire.
This upper part of the Alaskan Highway, between Liard Hot Springs and Muncho Lake is crazy full of wildlife!  It's like Yellowstone.  Black bears and bison are everywhere.
It may look like fall, but it's spring and the leaves are budding out.
It's also warmer along this route than the Cassiar in May.
We also saw our first grizzly bear.  Always exciting to see a grizzly.  Of course we are safely in our truck.  There is a huge swath of grassy weeds along the highway and this is where the bison like to be as well as the bears.  Plenty of fresh grass and dandelions to munch.

Mommas and red dogs (bison babies) were all around.
So many rivers and just as many different types of bridges going over them.
The mountains get really rugged here as you pass a few lodges that are just about to open for the year.  We didn't want to totally miss out on Muncho Lake so we decided to drive a bit further east to see it, even though we wouldn't be staying there this time.  So sad.
The Sitka Spruce is the Alaskan State Tree.  They are beautiful.  They grow tall and very narrow.  Sometimes they get a ball of growth at the top.

Muncho Lake gets its color from tiny rock fragments scraped from the valley walls by glaciers and carried by meltwater downstream.  The silt sinks into the icy water where it stays.  Fine particles, ground to the texture of flour, remain suspended in the lake giving it a milky appearance. The rock flour reflects and scatters the sunlight, returning mainly the blue-green part of the spectrum to our eyes.  The lake contains Dolly Varden, Artic Grayling, Whitefish and Lake Trout.  We really wanted to fish here but most of the lake was frozen and there was a lot of ice washing up on the shores at the far end.  We checked out the two campgrounds and would really like to return to stay here and fish later in the summer if it's at all possible for us to come back this way.  Speaking of fish, you should read Jim's blog, JimandBarbsRVAdventure, to see the monster Trout Barb caught as well as some great moose pictures.
We also spotted our first Dall Sheep. 
Even though it was a little cloudy you could still see the pretty colors.  The temperature was still in the 40s and very windy.  Brrr.

We stopped in the Muncho Lake Lodge as it was open and had a delicious Schnitzel Sandwich.  What a gorgeous lodge.
They have plenty of rooms and a dining room.
What a day of firsts!  We also saw plenty of Porcupines.  They are very hard to get a picture of.
Back through the bison we drive heading west to stop at Watson Lake.  This is the intersection of the Cassiar and the Alaskan Highway.  We really needed to find fresh water, dump and do laundry.
First though we made a stop along the way to Smith River Falls.  It was a bit of a drive down a narrow dirt road with plenty of mud puddles along the way.  What a fantastic waterfall!
Bumpy & Muddy!

I tried to get the others to take the steep, but short, hike down to the falls but it was 3 against 1.  Later on I would learn that Jim and Barb hiked down and caught quite a bit of Arctic Grayling.  I made sure to say, "I told you so!"

More views that make your jaw drop.  This really is the most spectacular part of the Alaskan Hwy.

Momma bear and her two cubs.  One brown, one black (on the hillside).
This guy was funny.  He walked right up towards the truck.  I think some of them are used to being fed from passers-by.

SO cute!

We did our first laundry of the trip at Andrea's Restaurant.  They have good food, a bar and laundry.  We used the free town dump station also.  Too bad they didn't have fresh water available like the others.  We finally found one of the private parks, Downtown RV Park, that would let us use their facilities for $10.  They say they are the only ones that use the municipal water supply so the water is clear and fresh.  Good deal!  We also filled up our 6 gallon portable water tank too.

Watson Lake, British Columbia
Watson Lake Provincial Park
$20, 44.
We were tired and it was getting late.  We tried to find a spot to boondock at the airport, but it's not allowed anymore.  Off to our second spot at Watson Lake Provincial Park.  It was good for an overnight stop.  It was very boggy around the lake and we couldn't fish or kayak anyway.

Next we will be back on our original route with no time lost!


  1. The upper gardens at Laird was open when we were there in 2013. This part of your trip is probably the most memorable for us. Other than a bus tour in Denali N.P. most of our wildlife sightings were in northern BC. I hope you get the chance to visit Stewart, Hyder, and especially the Salmon Glacier. Safe travels!

    1. Well he visiting all those places. Not much we won’t see! Def the most animals in No. BC. Mostly moose in Alaska so far.

  2. What a bunch of fuddy duds not going down the stairs!
    Do you just love the color of the water? We have yet to see our first grizzly!

    1. Looking forward to more fishing on the peninsula!

  3. Boya Lake was awesome! Your reflection photos are spectacular. So glad you are seeing tons of wildlife.


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