The Signpost Forest in Watson Lake was started in 1942 by Carl K. Lindley, a homesick U.S. soldier working on the Alaska Highway. He put up a mileage marker to his hometown in Danville, Illinois, and over the years visitors kept adding their own signs. Today there are over 72,000 mileage signs, road signs, license plates, and homemade signs such as one made from a pie tin and another from a large pink bra. Visitors add about 2,000 new signs each year.
We encountered a few herds of bison grazing along the Alaska Highway. We’ve seen a bunch of bison herds on our trip, but this was the first time we’ve seen young calves feeding on their mothers.
This is the beginning of the Yukon River, which at 2,000 miles long is North America’s fourth-longest river. It drains three-quarters of the Yukon and one-third of Alaska. About 50,000 prospectors followed the Yukon River during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898-99.
One of a few black bears we saw along the Alaska Highway. We’ve now seen 24 black bears and one grizzly bear in Canada.
The one-third-mile long Nusutlin Bay Bridge is the longest bridge on the Alaska Highway. The bridge spans the Nusutlin River as it flows into the massive Teslin Lake, which straddles the British Columbia-Yukon border for 86 miles.
All along the Alaska Highway, various bakeries lay claim to the “Best Cinnamon Roll.” We tried a few (including an over-doughy and over-priced $5 roll) and decided the very best was the $3.25 cinnamon roll at Johnson’s Crossing. The roll included a side dish of cinnamon icing for a sugar rush we won’t soon forget.
This Douglas DC-3 is actually the world’s largest weathervane. This was originally a C-47 built in 1942 and flew transport missions to Asia during World War II. After the war it was converted to a DC-3 for commercial flights for Canadian Pacific Airlines until it blew an engine in 1970 during takeoff. It now shows the direction of the wind in front of the Yukon Transportation Museum.
We were dozens of miles away when we first spotted the Kluane Range, a line of 8,000+ foot ice-covered mountains that mark the eastern boundary of Kluane National Park.
The southern slopes of the Tachal Dhal mountain are the primary range for a large population of Dall Sheep, also known as “dot sheep” because they look like little white dots high up on the slopes.
The World’s Largest Gold Pan is on display in front of the Kluane Museum of Natural History in Burwash Landing, which was established in 1904 and is one of the oldest settlements in the Yukon.
These vents along the Alaska Highway are part of the Alaska Highway Permafrost Research Project, which is testing various techniques for building roads on permafrost. Normal road-building techniques cause the permafrost to melt, and the ice-rich soil then liquefies and settles, causing frost heaves on the pavement. This section of the Alaska Highway from Kluane National Park to the Alaska border is especially prone to frost heaves, which make driving like a boat on choppy water. It was an especially unpleasant experience in our RV, because it caused our dishes and other contents to rock & roll, and occasionally slammed our tow car into the back of the RV. The purpose of these vents is to funnel cold air under the road to keep the permafrost frozen and prevent the road from heaving and buckling.