The True North

Days: 383-387 (13 July 2015 – 17 July 2015)

Total distance travelled: 99,687.66 kilometres (61,917.8 miles)

Our destination... the 'True North'

Our destination… the ‘True North’

When we fist emailed our friend Dave (he and his wife Cyd were the reason we were heading up to the Canadian Yukon) and said the best price we’d found for flights was around $1,500.00 (for the two of us return to Toronto), he politely urged us to “BOOK THEM! That’s a great price!”

In contrast, we thought that seemed a little steep, and when we found we could traverse the country at a fraction of the cost, but over a great length of time, we opted for the fiscally sound option.

That is how we booked ourselves four days and nights aboard buses to tackle the 5,400 kilometres between Toronto and Whitehorse.

Sure there were interesting moments, and interesting people (such as Bill), and we saw a shitload more of Canada than we would have from the air…

But by the time we woke on the morning of our third day, we were well and truly over it.

Waking to a morning on the grand prairies...

Waking to a morning on the grand prairies…

Watching the rains roll in

Watching the rains roll in

It is staggering to think how big the wide open spaces that make up the Canadian prairies are… and also how fucking boring!

The occasional field of canola or sunflowers in full bloom might brighten proceedings for a moment, but otherwise it was same old, same old…

Brightening things up amidst a sea of Canola

Brightening things up amidst a sea of canola

We catered for ourselves as best as possible, cheese and tomato on crackers, fruit when we could, and the avoidance of fast food when we could.

A ten hour layover in Edmonton allowed us to stretch our legs, but in truth, it wasn’t the most interesting place to while away the hours.

Still, we were able to grab a couple of beers as well as our first serve of that iconic Canadian dish, Poutine.

Finally, when we were in the north of British Colombia and well into our fourth day on the bus, things got exciting.

We saw our first wildlife!

First up came a Mountain Sheep (we thought it was a Goat at first), but this was closely followed by what was either a Moose or a Caribou.

Getting wild with Mountain Sheep

Getting wild with Mountain Sheep

...or a huge herd of Buffalo

…or a huge herd of Buffalo

Luck was with us on this first part of our adventures between Toronto and Whitehorse (as after all, we still had to come back as well), as Dave had the Friday off work, he’d arranged to attend to some work in Watson Lake, before heading on down to meet us along the way at Toad River meaning we were able to bid goodbye to our Greyhound experience a night early.

After days cramped and sweaty on board coaches, we suddenly found ourselves in the relatively spacious surrounds of Dave’s car, with the added enjoyment of getting to know Ripley (one of Dave and Cyd’s two Jack Russell dogs).

It was however already after 6pm, and we were still another 760 kilometres shy of Whitehorse.

Luckily, it wasn’t where we were headed, at least not tonight.

Tonight we’d be camping at Liard Hot Springs, admittedly still an hour and a half up the highway, but by the time we got there, fired up the barbecue and shared a couple of greatly appreciated beers, we almost felt normal again!

Without us realising, by the time we’d dined and finished our beers the hour was nearing 10pm!

I’m sure that the fact it was still a fully lit, bright blue sky above had aided in confusing us, but we were past the point of actually indulging in a dip in the springs themselves, so resolved to do so in the morning before we set off.

It wasn’t long before we were drifting off to sleep, serenaded by the sound of the occasional gunshot as park rangers fired into the air to ward off bears…

Finally off the buses at the beautiful Liard River Hot Springs

Finally off the buses at the beautiful Liard Hot Springs at the oddly bright hour of 10pm…

Waters a most beautiful blue

Waters a most beautiful blue

After finally sleeping flat for the first time in days, we woke refreshed and ready to now finally wash those days of accumulated sweat off of our bodies with a morning dip in the springs (which we duly did).

Back on the road, the distance continued to click over, the journey broken only by the occasional stop, the most notable being for lunch in Watson Lake where we took some time for lunch and also to briefly check out its claim to fame, the sign-post forest.

Watson Lake and its famous sign-post forest

Watson Lake and its famous sign-post forest

It was not until well into the afternoon that we finally pulled into Cyd and Dave’s lovely wooded property, about 100 hours and 5,479 kilometres since we boarded our bus in Toronto.

Welcome to the Yukon!

 

Notes:

* Our buses (for there were many that made up this journey) from Toronto to Whitehorse cost a ridiculously cheap $253.12 CAN for the two of us (because we booked in advance).

 

 

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12 Responses to The True North

  1. Great post and pictures! I look forward to reading more of your posts on your blog! Keep it up! 🙂 xx

  2. Hi Chris. Don’t forget that Canada is the second biggest country in the world! I wouldn’t want to criss-cross it on a bus, as that is indeed a long haul in cramped quarters. But if you ever get the opportunity to return to the Canadian Prairies (where I live) take the time to get off the main highway (where the bus goes) and get off into the smaller, much more scenic communities. The TransCananda just happens to cross thru agricultural country and so that is what you see from the bus. I’m glad you enjoyed the West Coast of British Columbia and had a chance to explore the Yukon. The mountains, wildlife, and adventure make it a breathtaking destination.

  3. Mar Pages says:

    The hot springs look great, although it was the sign forest that really caught my eye. Fantastic!

  4. Matthew and Heather says:

    Would love to traverse Canada. So how did you like the poutine?

  5. Ami Bhat says:

    The landscape is amazing. The hot springs really look inviting. Thanks for sharing them all.

  6. I actually love taking long distance bus rides so the cheap price makes this such an option for me…as a Canadian as well 🙂

  7. Kassie- The Fly Away Life says:

    I think I would opt for the bus ride rather than the flight for that large of a price difference but I still applaud you for sitting on a bus that long. I might have gone crazy! I always tell myself that I will get a lot of blog work done on buses but end up getting car sick and just nap.
    Glad you made it to your destination safe and sound! Can’t wait to read about the rest of your adventures.

  8. Adam, Bite of Iceland says:

    I’ve been dreaming about Canada for so long, especially hiking in the wilderness like Yukon. I’m not a big fan of long distance bus rides though. When I finally get there, I’ll definitely rent a car or try hitch-hiking 🙂

  9. Jessica Ayun says:

    Wildlife and springs is a perfect combination for a view. Haha. I actually always prefer long bus ride to save but make sure to bring my food so I don’t waste extra money for that on the road. Haha.

  10. Vyjay Rao says:

    Stunning pictures of the Canadian Priaries. The bus journey gave you a great opportunity to experience closely the Canadian countryside. Of course there is always a price to pay.

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