Day 36: Yukon Gold
It actually got dark last night. I woke up in the middle of the night and was disoriented for a few seconds until I realized it was dark outside not that something was wrong. It was a strange feeling. Pepper woke me up around 7 but I talked her into letting me sleep a little while longer. We don’t have much of a drive today and I wanted to paddle before we hit the road. I put on my board shorts and a long sleeve T-shirt (it’s chilly in the mornings) and hit the water. It was calm and the water was really clear. It was a great morning to get out and paddle. After snapping a few pics and paddling around for a while I decided to head back and hit the road.
We left Pine Lake for the 2 hour drive to Whitehorse. It was an easy well maintained section of the road, with only a few road construction slow downs. Arriving back in Whitehorse means that I’ve now travelled the entire Alaska Highway (and a bunch of other roads). We pulled into Whitehorse around lunchtime and I had three errands to run. 1. I need super glue and some more screen material for the windows. And 2. I need more milk for the bus and maybe some veggies. 3. I also need to find a place to dump the grey water and fill up on fresh water. 1 and 2 were quick an easy. #3 proved to be more difficult. All of the places in Whitehorse would let me dump the grey water for a small fee, but didn’t supply fresh water. Uh, I need fresh water too guys. I decided I could wait another day and I wanted to get moving so I left whitehorse for Teslin, where I’d get more diesel and start looking for a pullout to park for the night. But before leaving town, I took Pepper for a swim:
Teslin is a small community like many others that sprung up along the Alaska Highway to serve the tourists driving the road. There are a couple of stores, a couple of motels, and a couple of gas stations. I also knew there was a place that offered a free RV dump. At least I could get rid of the grey water and shed some weight. It was about another 2 hours from Whitehorse. When I arrived I talked to the lady at the desk and she told me that yes the dump is free and that they have clean fill water as well. Bingo. With the fresh water filled, the diesel filled, and the grey water emptied, I was back on the road. Time to find a camping spot now. I use a couple of apps on my phone to help me when looking for a place to camp, but they also list free places. And as I mentioned before, in the Yukon you can basically camp anywhere along the road as long as you are fully off the road and there isn’t a sign specifically saying no camping or overnight parking. Two of the apps both suggested Morley Lake Recreation area. There are only about 6 camping spots and it’s first come first served. And right on a lake and its free! Perfect. It was getting to be fairly late in the evening though and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get one of the few spots there. I turned off the highway (thank God for Google Maps or I never would have found this place) into what looked like a small driveway. It was barely wide enough for the bus and dirt. But hey, nothing ventured nothing gained. Well I’m glad I ventured. The road was very narrow but thankfully there were no cars coming up or they wouldn’t have gotten by. It was also very curvy which was a challenge, but I made it down the road and it opened up into a wooded area with some campsites all right along the lake. And it appeared that there weren’t many other people here! I ventured to the left, narrowly threading the bus through a grove of trees until I found a nice level campsite that would be great for the night. I backed the bus in and quickly shut the windows because I could already see the mosquitos getting hungry.
The view from the bus and the view from the lakeshore are amazing. I can’t believe I got lucky enough to get a campsite here! I made dinner for Pepper and then made dinner for myself. After dinner I relaxed on the couch and read for a bit and then around 8:30 I decided it was time to paddle. Yup. Second paddle of the day. Yukon is awesome for paddleboarding! The lake is clear and calm and really big. I thought about paddling to the far side but as I got about 1/4 of the way the wind picked up. So I paddled into the wind which was to my right. After a while of paddling I turned around and paddled back. Not the longest paddle, but it was great to get out on the water. I left the paddle board inflated and stored it under the bus for the night. I’m definitely going for another paddle in the morning and might even go for a swim. The water is chilly, but not frigid. Remember how I said yesterday that I’d have great cell service now that I’m back in Canada? Not so much. So this update will be delayed.