Days: 383-387 (13 July 2015 – 17 July 2015)
Total distance travelled: 99,687.66 kilometres (61,917.8 miles)
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.
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…
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.
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…
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.
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!
* 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).