How Cold Are the Northern British Columbia Lakes?

We’re cruising along on our airstream Alyeska caravan, seeing beautiful sections of the Alaska Highway and learning about both the immense project creating this highway and also about life before, during, and after for the First Nations peoples and the soldiers and contractors associated with the project.

Summit Lake is at the highest point on Alaska Highway. At its edge is a quiet sunny provincial park in the best setting ever, overlooking this pretty lake. Alas, our camp is miles beyond, in Watson Lake YT. This made for a really nice stop although we didn’t get down to water’s edge to try the water.

We aren’t driving this close together, this is how we look on good pavement when we’re waiting for the flag person to send us through to a section of unfinished roadway. Most of our miles have been on very good and smooth two-lane asphalt pavement. We maintain over 100 yards between rvs when we’re driving but unexpected stops like a construction delay will temporarily bunch us up.

The worst stretch of over 500 miles of Alaska Highway was this seven mile piece. They have taken the road down completely and are rebuilding it from the base. It was smooth, slow, and in sections was extremely dusty. We felt sorry for the motorcyclist in front of us. His wheels kicked up almost no dust and the truck and rvs in front of him were billowing huge clouds of dust.

Muncho Lake is host to Strawberry Flats Provincial Park with fifteen camping sites all on water’s edge. Again we would love to camp here but our caravan requires 38 camp sites with reservations – won’t fit in these really pretty little provincial parks. Too bad – maybe we can return on our own and stay in these wonderful small campgrounds.

Jim’s standing in Muncho Lake, inviting the others to join him. He says the water is fine, come on in. You might not be able to tell, but the water is super cold. Jim wasn’t telling, but another in our group checked behind him and told the cold truth. This water is very very cold. We haven’t encountered any swimming holes fit for southerners, except the hot springs.

Our four driving days have been very different – we’ve had wildly different road conditions, views, and wildlife sitings. Two days we’ve seen no wildlife at all. This day we saw a herd of over 100 bison, and black bears, and several grizzlies. This grizzly we saw on our drive to Watson Lake.

From Poplars Campground in Toad River we took a day trip to Liard Hot Springs. These hot springs are the real McCoy – no concrete pools and artificially-heated water here. The mosquitoes were so aggressive we stayed deeper in the water except for this quick picture. The sulphur smell was mild and the temperatures ranged from very hot at one end to tepid at the other. We’re in the in-between temperature section here, but we tried them all.

Our reward for the day’s hard work of driving and hot-tubbing is a campfire and live music. This is a great way to have a campfire, in a great setting like this one at Poplars Campground in Toad River B.C.

Days have been nice, with mild temperatures and mostly sunny skies and occasional rains. Driving conditions have been surprisingly good, with asphalt pavement on ninety percent of the highway so far. We will keep seeing sunsets like this, having the pleasant weather and road conditions with a few nice wildlife sightings, and we have a great group traveling with us. Everything, for us, has been smooth sailing on this caravan.

Jim and Debbie
dreamstreamr odyssey, chasing 75 degrees

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2 responses to “How Cold Are the Northern British Columbia Lakes?

  1. Richard Hunt

    When National Geographic photographer, Jim Henderson, was asked how to take more interesting photographs, he said, “Stand in front of more interesting stuff!” My, are you ever “standing in front on interesting stuff!” Love the pictures, love the narrative, awaiting the next installment.

    • Gosh Richard, my head isn’t going to fit in our not so big trailer if you keep this up. Thanks! Henderson hit the nail on the head, both re pictures and subject matter. Traveling makes it easy. Landed in Whitehorse yesterday, taking a boat for a 3-hour tour today.

      Jim & Deb

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