Monday, May 30, 2016

Laird Hot Springs - Stop 15 on our Trek North to Alaska

Now here's the rest of the story...

I got up to peek out the windows several times during the night, and it was still snowing—heavily!  The sounds of silence were deafening.  I could hear the trees, so heavily laden with snow, snapping and breaking in the middle of the night. 

I awoke at 5 a.m. on Sunday to Mom and Dad shoveling the snow layer off the 150 foot driveway to get to the main road.  And it was still snowing, with accumulations well over a foot by this time! The snow was so pretty, so pure and glistening glacial blue.  It was like a Currier and Ives Christmas card—but with a Steven King movie twist.  The fact that this place is so remote, with boarded up buildings covered in graffiti, who knows who could be lurking!

By 9:30 a.m., we finished clearing the driveway —of snow, that is.   However, the problem with the mud and huge water-filled holes persists.  With the weight of Big Boomer, we are concerned we will get stuck.  Mom tries to scoop the water out with a bucket, but that will take forever—these holes are nearly a foot deep.  It is now 22 hours into this saga.

Back to flagging down the road crews, who are still clearing the Alcan!  They say the road is now passable, and we should have no problems getting over the summit—except for the “bog” effect we have in front of us.

Dad convinces one grader to come into the driveway to fill the holes with dirt/mud.  The grader’s blade got stuck and actually made the problem worse, breaking a snow barrier that was keeping water from a pond off the road.  You can’t make this stuff up, eh?

After another hour, we hear good news!  Mike/Claudia are able to ascend the mountain!  And, finally, a supervisor from the road crew comes by with his 4 X 4 pickup truck.  He is willing to assist.  It was a bit humbling for Big Boomer to need the additional power of a Dodge Ram to pull him through this mud hole, but we were so grateful to finally escape this ordeal!  We are now back on the AlCan!

The Dodge Ram gets us back on the AlCan

As we continue to ascend the mountain, we saw several vehicles abandoned in snow mounds, including a motorcycle that apparently crashed.  Hope those folks are OK.

We reunite with Mike/Claudia on the other side of the summit!  Praise the Lord!

Ironically, once we crested the summit, there is far less snow, and the roads are all clear!  We all begin to relax again and take in the beauty of the Canadian Rockies.  The views are just spectacular.  Pictures just don’t capture the essence of these pristine, untouched lands.  The trees vary in shade—from forest, to emerald, to celery green.

Summit Lake

We stop for lunch at the Toad River Lodge.  The place was recommended to us because they serve game meat, like elk and bison steak!  I’ve had a hankering for bison or elk steak for quite some time!  I was salivating for two days just thinking about it!  The lodge and restaurant are not what we expect—we are thinking on the scale of what is found at Grand Canyon or Yellowstone.  Instead, we get a little dive.  No problem—just give me some game steak!  We look at the menu--they only have bison burgers.  WHAT!  Where the heck is the game meat!  Worse yet, they will only serve the bison burgers well done.  WHAT!!!  When I said I wanted game meat, I didn’t mean shoe leather!  We were all so disappointed, but so hungry, we would eat a shoe.  $35 Canadian for 2 rubber burgers, 1 onion ring, and 2 cans of soda.  A 0-cheese rating from Rambling RV Rat.  Me thinks this place must have changed owners/management since the folks who recommended it were last here.

The good news is that now we start to see wildlife!  I see a Bullwinkle outside of Muncho Lake!   This bull moose is quite regal, with his stately body and large rack.  But neither of my nimrod parents were able to get me a photo!  Moose ca-ca (my version of bullsh$#--I'm not allowed to use foul language.  We leave that up to my Mom.  LOL).

Next I see a herd of stone sheep!  These are the best photos they could get.  Totally inept!  When I review all the pics they take of wildlife, I see a recurring theme—buns!  Nimrods get just backsides, rumps, and rears!  Where are the faces!  More moose ca-ca!

A few faces among the "buns"!

Now the roads are pretty brutal—potholes, loose gravel, construction zones.  At one point, the bumps were so bad Tabatha was levitating in air!  You may have left your heart in San Francisco, but I just left my lunch outside Muncho Lake!

We finally get to Laird!  And they did not give away our second night's reservation!  How grateful we are to finally arrive safely and relax in the Hot Springs!


  1. OMG! So glad you guys are ok! What a crazy story! You have me so nervous for our ride home! Can't wait to see you guys! Hope the rest of your trip is uneventful!

  2. So glad you got out of that mess and are back on track!!

  3. You guys sure have quite the story to tell and you're just getting started. Safe travels!