Saturday, 21 December 2019

Burning rubber in Canada - Part 13, Liard hot spring and back to Prince George

Hi there

   Today we continue our drive on highway 97 till our destination for the night . The first halt of the day was at the sign post forest , located at Watson lake. The sign post forest was created in 1942 when USA soldier Carl K Lindley spent time in Watson recovering from a injury . His Commanding Officer asked him to repair a directional post , he repaired it and added a sign post to it indicating direction & mileage to his home town Danville , Illinois . Soon the trend caught on and now it almost has 77000 signs . It is located right next to the highway just opposite to Visitors center . You can get a sign made at the visitors center and place it in sign post forest .

  We also visited the visitors center basically to take inputs of the highway and any other attractions which we can see en route .

The Visitors center

Some information cards  

  As we continued with our adventure suddenly we saw warning signs about buffalo's in the area and to drive cautiously ,we slowed down and we saw a huge herd of buffalo's with few of them very huge as big as our Suv . However they we grazing leisurely along the sides of the highway in fact walking just next to our car . The sight of  grazing giants was  beautiful after sometime we drove ahead .

This Giant must be over 400 kgs 

    After a small halt for lunch the next stop was at Liard Hot Springs . After parking our car we took a small walk to the hot spring area . The Liard River Hot Springs  originally known as “Tropical Valley” – were used by Athapaskan and Kaska peoples as a traditional cleansing spot. The first written record of the hot springs was made by Robert Campbell  in 1835, while exploring the area for the Hudson’s Bay Company. 

    During the Second World War, and the construction of the Alaska Highway, the hot springs were developed for public use by American soldiers and named it as  “Theresa Hot Springs”. After the end of the war, however, the facilities quickly fell into disrepair. In the 1950s, local residents (particularly those at Muncho Lake and Coal River), highway workers, and Canadian National Telecommunications’ employees, organized a work-bee to repair the facilities at the hot springs. They rebuilt the boardwalks, cleaned up the campsite, and generally improved the facilities.

    In April 1957, the Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park was established to preserve and protect the area’s geological features and biological diversity. Over 250 species of boreal forest plants, including 14 thermally influenced species, 104 bird species, and 28 different mammals visit, live or are found in the area.

   The Hot spring itself is very well maintained,in spite of so much rush but every thing was neat and clean .The hot spring is divided in three pools , hottest ,less hot and less hot ,there was no time restriction however we decide to leave the hot springs as we had to travel a long distance for our night halt .

Entrance to Hot springs


Sam Elliott look alike actually he is a gold miner returning from Alaska

Piece of gold from Alaska

Board walk

Deepak and Malhar

Middle hot pool 

   Today our night halt was at Northern Rockies Lodge located at the banks of Muncho lake .We took the log cabins with lake view ,the cabin was really beautiful and perfect for a family like us . In spite of tiredness hats off to Netrali spirit, she took to cooking and got a nice meal ready for all of us , after dinner it was time to call it a day .

    In the morning I woke up early as usual but today Shaunak and Malhar were with me we took a small walk along the lake side and to the water aerodrome . The muncho lake is almost 12 kms in length and about 1-6 kms in width. It almost runs along highway 97 at certain places . The jade green color of water of lake is due to presence of copper oxide leached from bedrock underneath . In local kaska language muncho means big water. 

Water Aerodrome

Muncho lake 

   After a quick breakfast it was time again to move .We  drove to a cell tower which was located in nearby Rockies , there we saw the berries which are very dear to bear. How can self and Deepak keep away ,we just plucked a few and tasted it was fantastic and off course we all tasted the berries,no wonder the big bear loves them.  

Splendid surrounding view from cell tower 

Shaunak ,Netrali,Deepak and Malhar 

Bear Berries 

Mountain goats 

Mountain goats 

Lovely highway 97 

Mustard fields 

Netrali and Malhar   

   Our next halt was at the the famous cinnamon roll at Tetsa . It a small family run petrol stop with a lovely bakery and actually the cinnamon rolls are lip smacking and they are huge . The staff is excellent in fact they brewed a tea for us -fantastic gesture.

Cinnamon Roll cafe entrance 

Cinnamon Rolls 

Excellent staff 

Random click 

  Our next stop was the famous Dawson City from were the Alaska Highway originates ,its a beautiful town we went to the iconic start sign of Alaska highway  and after a quick bite we were back on the road . 

Iconic sign

  By the time we reached Prince George it was almost 9 pm and most of the shops were closing down  After brain storming for few minutes it was decided to try the stone baked pizza . This is a small Italian family run restaurant  and actually the pizzas are stone baked ,they were crispy and tasted great.

  We reached our hotel and called it a day ,we also decided to leave the next day after having early lunch .

  Next morning walk took me to some other parts of Prince George it is a nice city ,after breakfast it was time to pack up and move . In between we decided to have early lunch at Spice of life restaurant of Mr Sharma,we called him up and requested him for quick early lunch,he was very happy  .

   Mr Sharma is from Himachal now settled in Canada from past 15 years along with his family. Again his story is inspirational and struggle to success. Mr Sharma had done a catering course and was a chef in renowned Indian hotel Chain before moving to Canada . Initially after working for few years in Vancouver he decided to start his own . He raised money by selling his property back home and started a restaurant in downtown Vancouver , however competition soon caught up with him and business went into loss , he had to sale everything and start working again .

  After working for some time he again started a restaurant with different menu  and at a different area  . Since Mr Sharma is himself a cook his restaurant become popular very soon ,however again this time due to increase in property rent  rates and additional taxes by city it become difficult to survive.

Inside Spice of Life

  He wound up everything in Vancouver and moved to Prince George ,here he brought a place which was three times bigger than his Vancouver place  and his client base increased and today he has almost 25 employees,  catering business as well as a small party hall . He has a huge loyal customer base ,the main USP is he grinds his own masala's , does not buy ready made one's and off course he & his son are very humble and down to earth people, if in Prince George please visit him if you want a specific thing to be made he will do it .

Mr Sharma 

Small party hall 

After sumptuous lunch it was time to drive ahead ,as adventure has not yet ended .

Ride Safe Firm Saddle