Sunday, September 16, 2007

Concluding Thoughts
It is time to go back to work and thoughts of the Yukon are still on our minds. The country, the wonderful people and all the treasures we saw and experienced are unm-matched in all of our travels.
“Rational or not, raw, untamed wilderness is a vital part of each one of us . There is a sub conscience connection with the world around us. When this wilderness is tarnished, we feel it on so many levels; from the air we breathe, to the water we drink and the emptiness we feel in our souls. Somehow we feel that a sin has been committed, but we can’t place our hands on it. There is little left. This century will tell us how much of ourselves we are willing to destroy. We all know and feel it.”
- Moose Lee -- July, 2007

Many thanks to our new friends:
Barbara and Linda (River Gals from St. Louis), Vic , Sage, Shawn, Markus, Dick & Sandy, Numerous 1st Nations People.
All the people we met were absolutely wonderful, friendly and helpful in our travels. We hope to meet them again.

Some links of interest:


If you plan to ever paddle any of the rivers in the Yukon, "Kanoe People" is a good place to start, rent, buy gear and get some great advice:

See the movie Being Caribou and read more about husband-and-wife team Karsten Heuer and Leanne Allison and their fantastic journeys.

Good homegrown music.. you can't miss Kim Beggs and her genuine heartfelt ballads.

Like traditional native music with modern arrangements. Look no further. Jerry "Keeper of the Songs" Alfred is a member of the Selkirk First Nation of the Northern Tutchone. He lives in Pelly Crossing, a village in central Yukon. Jerry Alfred and his group "The Medicene Beat" provided very inspirational music and songs. A great backdrop for our travels.
Also try:

Visiting Bowron Lakes? Visit Dick & Sandy (Bear River Mecantile)
or Becker's Lodge

We'd like to thank everyone for joining us on our journey and all the support. Special thanks to Lori, mother and dearest wife of the RubiKon Team.

If you ever need a low cost, reliable, Adventure vehicle that gets great gas mileage, we can highly recommend these Toyota V6 micro-mini motorhomes. We have had a great time traveling in our "RubiKon" Warrior. No problems whatsoever. We averaged 14-17 mpg and hit 18 and 19 mpgs a couple of times (Unbelievable, but true!). She took us over 8,000 miles there and back; up beyond the Arctic circle (1300 miles of gravel roads). Unfortunately, these great litle campers were discontinued 14 years ago as Toyota discountinued offering the 1 Ton chassis for sale.

Stay tuned for more tales and pictures of our adventures on our forthcoming Website:

Lone Paddler - Sunset Bowron Lakes

As always, we wish you safe travels in your adventures.
-"Moose" Lee & "Yukon" Johann

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Drive Home Continues
Chetwynd, Hudson's Hope, Prince George, Jasper, Banff and the Kootenays
We spent 2 days in Fort St John getting a front-end alignment and then began our journey south. We were torn between going to Dawson Creek to see mile "Zero" of the Alcan highway or taking a scenic route through Hudson's Hope to Prince George. We chose the scenic byway and we were glad we did. The drive to Hudson's Hope was wonderful. BTW: Hudson's Hope is the third oldest European community in British Columbia.
We encountered another bear who insisted on crossing the road in front of us. If we had been driving a bit faster, we probably would've hit this one.
Shortly after the bear we crossed over the Peace River Bridge... we were in the land of the dinosaurs.
Although Yukon Johann was no dinosaur he was something to be feared that evening.

We tucked in for the night at Moresby Lake Provincial Park. This was by far one of the most beautiful and well kept campgrounds we stayed in during our entire trip.
The next morning we awoke and drove to Chetwynd. Chetwynd is situated at an ancient floodplain at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and acts as the gateway to the Peace area to the east.
We had just missed the 3rd annual Chetwynd Chainsaw carving contest. We saw many of the impressive pieces displayed around the visitor center. The most intricate of these was the Dragon shown here.
Beyond Chetwynd lie the foothills of the Rocky mountains. The weather was nice and warm. It made for pleasant driving at a leisurely pace. Later that day we arrived in Prince George, known as BC's northern capital. It sits at the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers. As we were leaving town towards Jasper we came across this interesting road. I guess it served as a reminder for what lies ahead in the coming days.

The scenery in Banff and Jasper were incredible. No need to go hiking here to see eye popping scenery. It was all layed out before us from the road.

We came upon the 143-mile route between Lake Louise and Jasper known as the ice field parkway. It is a driving experience like no other. The careful engineering of the road, and the generous provision of stopping places, viewpoints, and interpretive information allow the sublime scale and wonderful variety of mountain scenery to be fully appreciated

We stopped at the central visitor center where they give tours of the Columbia glacier in these HUGE ice sloths. For nearly $40 one could ride one of these up the Columbia Glacier and get out and walk on it. This picture makes our Toy house look pale in comparison.

Of course we had to stop at Lake Louise and get our picture taken.
I still think some of the other lakes were more scenic, like this one

Unfortunately we were not going to make it all the way to Banff. We took the Radium Hotsprings turnoff and drove through Kootenay National Park. The views down the freeway were fantastic.

We soon entered Kootenay National park and witnessed the beginnings of the Kootenay River which flows into the Columbia.
The country was spectacular. This view included color form the infamous Pine Bark Beetle and fires from 2005.
We've read about a very good backpack trip through the valley here. Someday, we hope to come back and give it a try.

We spent the night in Dry Gulch Provincial campground near Radium Hotsprings. The hotsprings were very refreshing. While not nearly as good as the Liard Hotsprings we experienced a few days earlier, they were refreshing to us weary travelers.

The next day we came upon these hoodoos created by the Columbia river. They are known as the Dutch Creek Hoodoos and can bee seen form the south end of the lake.Then we traveled along Columbia Lake, source of the mighty Columbia river. For approximately 60 miles, both the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers run parallel and when they reach Canal Flats at the south end of Columbia Lake the two rivers are less than 1.2 miles apart. The Columbia River from its source flows north while the Kootenay River continues flowing south.
Looking south though the hazy sky made for a neat view.

That pretty much ended our trip up north. We met up later that day with Lori (dearest mother and wife) at Priest Lake Idaho to enjoy the Labor Day Weekend. A trip summary and thoughts and points to ponder will be forthcoming.

Safe Travels,
Moose Lee & Yukon Johann

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Drive Home: Kluane

As we left Alaska, we entered yet another nice game preserve, the Tetlin, and skirted on the edges of Kluane Park. We caught glimpses of the interior, Mt. Queen Mary was visible from the Don'Jek River.

We head southeast and stopped in Burwash landing and enjoyed the promising views offered by Kluane Lake. Kluane Lake is the largest lake in the Yukon Territories.

Destruction Bay and Sheep Mountain are some of the most scenic of the drive along the lake shore.

We were tempted to put the boats in the water, but we opted to wait and put them in at Lake Kathleen later that day.

Lake Kathleen, while very beautiful, was extremely windy and gusts were very strong. The evening paddle was not relaxing, but rather like a class II-III river expedition. We got very wet, but it was alot of fun. The new boat is better suited for white water :-)
The next morning we headed back to Whitehorse. Going through Haines Junction was spectacular. Again we were on the edge of Kluane Park. The mountains along the road act as an edge of a giant bowl, holding back the glaciers on the other side.
While beautiful, they are nothing compared to what lies just beyond them. Unfortunately access to the jewels of Kluane are not easy. There are very few trails and access points are very limited. It is best to hire a fly-in service. We agreed that another visit is mandatory.


The Drive Home : Leaving Whitehorse

We arrived in Whitehorse hoping to fix a mechanical problem we discovered when examining our tires. Apparently the 1300 plus gravel road miles we've put on our adventure vehicle has taken a toll on her. We need a front-end alignment. Unable to get it done in Whitehorse in a timely manner we left town.
Before leaving, however, we had a nice dinner with one of our new found friends, Shawn, an avid para glider and an outdoor enthusiasts -- like us. We hope to meet up again in the future.
As we left town, the Yukon gave us a final goodbye. A beautiful rainbow and the S.S. Klondike gave us a final send off.
We had tears in our eyes as we knew our time in the Yukon was over. Our visit has been more than just a passing glance. We feel connected with the country, having tasted her mighty rivers, hiked her trails and driven her roads into the heart of the territory for nearly 3 months. It was a magical time that we will never forget.

The Drive Home: The Northern Rockies

As we left the Yukon, we entered British Columbia excited about the new things promised to us in the travel guides. Among them was the chance to see wild Buffalo along the side of the road. We weren't disappointed.

This guy was a teddy bear, despite his intimidating glares.
Even further down the road we ran into a herd of his buddies. It was very exciting to see and we kept a vigil eye on the road so as not to hit one.

That evening we camped a the famous Liard Hot springs. We we were not disappointed. We had a nice evening dip and once again in the morning.
We did encounter disappointment as we entered Muncho Lake Provincial Park. It was raining. The forecast didn't look good. Unfortunately this photo was the best view we could muster of the lake. It was snowing on the higher peaks above us.
One of the bright spots was encountering a small herd of Mtn. Caribou at Summit Lake. Neither of us had ever seen Mtn. Caribou.
Snow was falling just a few hundred feet of elevation above us and we feared that we may be caught in some snow.
As we drove out of the mountains down to Fort Nelson our fears subsided as the sun peeked out for about 15 minutes and we got a nice picture of a fat black bear munching on the side of the road.
Even better was our drive beyond Fort Nelson as we encountered a mother with 3 cubs. A crowd of cars gathered and before long they approached within 10 feet of the camper. Yukon Johann had the camera ready and nabbed these pictures while Moose Lee had the foot on the gas for a quick getaway. The bears didn't seem to be bothered by our presence and we enjoyed about 15 minutes of extreme close viewing goodness. The cubs were soooo cute!!! Mom would grunt every now and then and look up at us to make sure we weren't threatening her and the family unit. They finally left when a big semi-truck came screaming by, scaring mom away from the road.

Satisfied, we were ready for bed. However, mother nature gave us another gift as we passed a Moose grazing in a roadside marsh.

Unfortunately, it is still raining. In talking to the locals, they say it has been a strange summer here in the terminus of the Rocky Mtns. as it has been raining almost non-stop since June with only a week of sunshine. With the early snows, the trucks are beginning to haul goods up north much sooner than normal. We were advised to be careful on the road.

Until next time, travel safely --Moose Lee & Yukon Johann