We spent Wed night (Aug 4th) at Watson Lake, YT (even just saying “the Yukon” seems almost unreal – and, in Summer, this is not the Yukon I normally picture.) The weather is mild – around 75 degrees for a high and about 56 degrees for the low. The daylight is what seems so strange. It is just dusk even at 11 pm. Waking in the middle of the night, I noticed that it is not really ‘dark’- you can still see into the woods. There has been a haze in the sky all of Wednesday’s drive, worsening around Watson Lake, due to a large fire burning south of there. This fire has had one of the main highways (Hwy 37) closed off and on for days. Not a problem for us –right now- but we will have to check in about 3 weeks when we are headed back as we had planned on driving Hwy 37.
We had planned some lower mileage days along this stretch so that we could enjoy some sightseeing. Watson Lake has several attractions. One, The Signpost Forest was begun in 1942 by a homesick WWII soldier working on the Alaskan Hwy when he added his hometown to a signpost along the hwy construction. The tradition continued here at Watson Lake. with people form all over adding their own signs. There are now approximately 67,000 signs from all over the world! Darn – if we had know, we would have brought a sign!
We also enjoyed the evening show at the Northern Lights Center – a planetarium show about the Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights) This show was informative and included ongoing research by scientists at UC Berkeley. The film footage of the Lights was almost spiritual. Unfortunately, the Northern Lights can not really be seen in the Summer. The best viewing time is January- and I don’t think we will be considering being here in the Yukon in January!
We spent the Night at Watson Lake Recreation Area, one of the government campgrounds. A 3 mile drive down a gravel road was rewarded with a beautiful, secluded campsite with a view of Watson Lake through the trees. The purple wild flowers are ‘fireweed’ – the official flower of the Yukon. It can be used for a variety of things from making jelly, use as a spice, to use in a salad (like spinach)
This campground had no services (electricity, or water, just pit toilets, no showers) but we feel comfortable knowing that we are quite self sufficient. We carry water, have propane for the ‘fridge and for cooking, and a generator if we should want/need electricity. This gives us the flexibility to enjoy a spot like this.
Thursday, we enjoyed our morning coffee……..
………….in the company of a lone loon on the lake.