The journey back down the Alaska Highway from Whitehorse to Calgary wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be; I rather enjoyed it actually and we used the midnight sun to our advantage. There were areas that should have been dark but because of the position of the sun it wasn’t and that made travelling much easier.
The only part that was remotely dodgy was passing through the Lake Mucho region, which was my responsibility. It was very dark here because we were passing though a valley; black dark and I was so terrified that we were going to hit a deer or a moose that we crawled through at 50km per hour. This was probably a good thing because there are no guard rails or protection around the lake; just a sheer drop right into the icy cold waters if you miss the road. I wonder how soldiers managed to cut the highway through this stretch of terrain!
One thing that was really magical (and kind of freaky) happened just after passing through Coal Lake. For a brief moment I couldn’t figure out why the side of the road was moving or why there were suddenly hundred of little red lights flying around in front of us. As it happens we were in the middle of a herd of buffalo — big huge buffalo. I worried they would turn and charge at this strange metallic beast moving through them, but they just kept munching away at whatever they were eating on the side of the road.
We were warned that the road between Coal Lake and Fort Nelson was hazardous because of the amount of wildlife. We were also told that it was impossible to get from Watson Lake to Fort Nelson on one tank of gas. This was a problem because we were going through the mountains in the middle of the night and if we ran out of gas we would be SOL because nothing was open.
Our car was magnificent with gas and we made it. dP took over the driving as we came out of the valley and the road was a passageway for wildlife. We saw everything including wolves, deer (like rodents), antelope, caribou, etc. The only thing dP didn’t get to see was a moose and I saw two while he was sleeping (hee…hee).
The rest of the journey after this passed remarkably fast; and was pretty uneventful. The home stretch (Edmonton to Calgary) was pretty busy, probably everyone heading into the city for Stampede. By this point we had non-Tim Hortons Coffee and were making good time so it didn’t matter. dP wanted me to add: “Stupid Edmonton makes no organizational sense.”