Traveling Through Canada

After spending a brief evening in Seattle where we ate at a good Thai restaurant we crossed the border into Canada through Sumas, Washington. The customs officials were polite and professional but convinced that I was carrying a weapon because I had Texas plates. This was the first time that I was ever called a “Texan” and growing up a New York “Yankee” I found this a little insulting. Once our car was searched, and it was confirmed that not all people coming from Texas carry a gun, we were permitted to cross the border.

The drizzle and cloud cover continued on for the third day in a row, what was charming in Oregon and Seattle was irritating in South Western Canada. The low clouds restricted most of the view as we drove through a valley and looked upon the grey roots of what must have been spectacular mountains. Farther north the drizzle turned into a steady snow, which restricted travel speed but never grew threatening. The snow from the winter had now melted away and the fresh April snow began a new cover. This we drove out of to our relief. Despite traveling farther north, we left the bad weather behind us for the rest of the journey. We stopped at Burns Lake, British Colombia the first night and Dease Lake, British Colombia the second. There were plenty of small towns along the road, perhaps every half an hour, and the gas tank rarely fell below three quarters of a tank. The mountains largely disappeared and where replaced by rolling hills, pine forests, and some farmland.

After our first night in Canada we woke up to a fresh coat of snow on the ground outside our motel. 

On the second morning in Canada we crossed the border into Yukon, this was an exciting moment for us because it acted as a benchmark for how far north we had driven. The day was clear and sunny and after a time we began to near some significant mountain ranges to our left which acted as a barrier to the Canadian Pacific coastline.

Some of Canada’s spectacular mountains.

I noted that there were very few if any roads through those mountains capable of reaching the coast on the map. In general we left civilization behind but there was still the small town here and there. We also drove through Whitehorse which is the capitol of the Yukon and is essentially a town that has some facilities normally attributed to a city, such as an airport. Originally we planned to stop in Whitehorse but the journey had been easy and we also observed a remarkable difference in daylight hours this far north. The sun did not set until well after 8 o’clock so we could extend the miles we covered easily. We pushed onward to a lodge just north of Haines Junction.

The lakes were still frozen when we traveled through the Yukon in April. 

The lodge was a neat little place with a great view of the mountains. The owner informed us that a crew from BBC had just finished staying in the lodge which they used as a starting point to go out and film for a new Planet Earth series. The lodge was very pleasant and definitely built for the more socially minded, the owner informed us that usually his American customers did not understand the perks of his lodge and were generally rude. We enjoyed our stay there and would return again if we pass through Haines Junction again.

On the third morning in Canada we drove a few more hours through the Yukon looking upon snow-capped mountain after snow-capped mountain. After several hours we crossed the border into Alaska, finally nearing the end of our journey.


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