Inching Our Way Up the Alaska Highway

We’ve been enjoying our trip north from Edmonton so much that our progress to Alaska has been sloooow.

Doug and Melanie are ahead of us such that we missed our first scheduled rendezvous-vous, and we might miss the second! What have we been up to?

Bird Capitol of Alberta

We spent a mere single delightful night south of Dawson Creek in a tiny place called Kimiwan. The town has an RV park on the other side of the tracks from the ambulance garage, and we were the only ones in it. Glory be.

We arrived early enough to explore a boardwalk through marshes and along the shore of the lake. It’s an economically depressed place (as so many small, indigenous towns are), so the bird walk seems like a smart investment to draw folks like us in.

We ate ice cream while wandering through the museum for the Northern Alberta Railway (no pictures because I was scared I would drop my cone on some old museum piece).

And, of course, we saw birds.

I found delight in being the only humans in sight at our campsite, though, sitting outside through the late sunlight, watching the waterfowl and knitting. My goodness. I would have stayed more nights, but we weren’t even on the Alaska Highway yet.

Mile 0

I may be the only person around who didn’t know this, but the Alaska Highway was planned and built at the start of World War II as the only land access to Alaska for American and Russian supplies. I think there was a fear the Japanese would take the Aleutian Islands, maybe?

In any case, it was built in a huge hurry by men under duress, including many Black men facing terrible racism while working in isolated crews both summers and winters. It’s quite a tale.

Dawson Creek is where mile marker 0 is, and everyone takes their photos at it to commemorate the start of their roadtrips to Alaska. Except, Doug and Melanie were ahead of us, so we snapped a shot and got the heck up the highway.

Peace Island

We didn’t get far, just a few mile markers north to a park in the middle of the Peace River. We picked a spot looking out at the largest-spanning bridge of the Alaska Highway, where we sit and watch the RVs go north.

It’s not as quiet here because locals are camping at the park (how dare they?) and zooming their powerboats up and down the river, bothering the beavers we keep watching. Marcus and Shana have astutely labeled me as Gladys Leibowitz now that I’m spying on wildlife and neighbors with my new camera (my Gladys Kravitz nature is enhanced with an Annie Leibowitz device, ha!).

Fort St. John

I do this often.

I’ll visit a place and reflect on it here and post a photo of a brewery or something inane, and then I’ll read about the indigenous locals and feel like all my previous commentary is moot.

Here this happened when we visited the massive hydro electric dam being built, in the context of the usual debate: clean energy vs. ecological damage vs. cultural loss.

Sign after sign about First Nations tribes dot the viewing area for dam construction, and man do they make me want to hide my head in the sand. That’s what we’re here for though, to learn.

The Milepost Book

How are we finding these spots? I should say “Tracy,” not “we,” as the book we’re using as primary data is pretty overwhelming to me. To Tracy, though, it’s manna from heaven.

Even though we aren’t making reservations so we can stay flexible, he’s taking notes about all the places we can stay so we have options as we tool on down the road.

3 thoughts to “Inching Our Way Up the Alaska Highway”

    1. We’ve seen tons of bears already, but either we’re too busy getting off the way or they are. I even saw a grizzly yesterday!