Day 37: Cassiar Highway South

Brrr… It was chilly in the bus this morning! When I checked the thermometer it was 48 degrees in the bus and 45 outside! I made hot oatmeal for breakfast and took Pepper for a walk while I drank my coffee. When we got back the people from the campsite next to us had woken up and let their dog out. Pepper was super excited to play with another dog. I think she’s missing her puppy friends! The dog’s name was Dixie and she was about two years old and super energetic. She kept trying to get Pepper to chase her not understanding that Pepper can’t run. It was funny to watch. But Pepper had a great time.

After breakfast I took the paddleboard back out on the water. But it was decidedly colder and not as much fun when I’m in pants, long sleeves and toes were freezing off! I lasted about an hour and then packed up the bus and headed back up the narrow one lane road to the highway. Luckily no one was trying to come down the road! I don’t have a defined stopping point for today. I can just kinda feel it out. If I see a great place to stop, I will. If I don’t, then I’ll keep driving. I reached Junction 37 (where highway 37 meets the Alaska Highway) around noon and filled up on Diesel and then parked nearby to make lunch. I assumed this town was also close enough to Watson Lake (20km) that I’d have cell service. But nope! I headed off down the Cassiar Highway (Highway 37) south toward Vancouver. I have 5 days to make it to Vancouver, so I can take my time, stop a lot and take photos and if I see great places to paddle or hike, I can do that too. I’ve heard that the Cassiar road surface is in worse shape than the Alaska Highway so I start off slow. The road is narrower, lacks a center line, and there is no shoulder on the edge. In fact in most places there is a sharp drop off! Not a lot of room when a semi wants to pass! But the overall road surface is pretty good, at least at the beginning. The drive winds up and down a number of really pretty mountain passes, but the further south I get the lower the clouds and the heavier the rain. Soon its completely blocking any view and raining fairly hard (though not so hard I’m worried about the bus or the road). I decide that if it’s raining I’ll keep on driving. Not much to do if I stop now and its still raining. And I haven’t seen anywhere cool that tempted me to stop. I made it to Dease Lake which was further than I planned to go and the weather wasn’t improving. I wasn’t tired and it was still fairly early, so I decided to keep going. There was a free campsite at Morchuea Lake that might work. When I arrived at Morchuea it was still raining and the road to the campground was completely mud and I didn’t want to risk getting the bus stuck. So I kept going. Eventually I realized I was only an hour from tomorrow night’s stopping point which is Kinaskan Lake Provincial Park. Fine, I’ll go there. Then I’m a day ahead and if I wake up to sun I can hang out in the park.

I pull in at 6:15pm and I’m hoping there is a campsite left this late. Sure enough there are a bunch of spots left! So I pick a good one, back in the bus, and get settled. The campground host came around and we chatted for a while and I paid the $20 CAN for the campsite. I only paid for one night in case I decide to move on tomorrow. But if I decide to stay I can keep my spot.

I made chili for dinner. It seemed like a good night for it. It’s only 60 in the bus right now and cooling down fast. It’s going to be a chilly night! It’s also still raining. Which is good. They have a bunch of wildfires in British Columbia so hopefully some of this rain is falling down south where the fires are. Speaking of the fires. It looks like, as of two days ago, the route I planned to take into Vancouver is closed due to the fire and thick smoke limiting visibility. That means I’ll have to detour around. It shouldn’t affect my arrival in Vancouver, but it might add about an hour of drive time. Maybe more if that road is really congested with people detouring around the fire. More on that as I get closer. If its raining down south, I might not have to detour at all. I’m still three days away from that.