14.


Her name is Bernadette ; Bernie for short. She’s wearing a redish blood tunic, rather neat for her age, infinitely spacious, and -thank god- automatic.

It’s morning on october 9th and from the sky are falling tiny snowflakes. Bernie is taking us, Lucie and I, on the road for a few days. Our first stop will be at Teslin, about two hours and a half of home. There, we crossed the longest bridge found on the Alaska Highway, 584 meters. It stopped snowing, I’m driving towards Rancheria Falls. Honestly, there is no reason to call that falls, but maybe it was not the right time of year to pay a visit to those ones. Enough time to stretch our legs and have a bite and we’re on our way to Watson Lake, where the so-called “Sign Post Forest” is. Couldn’t think of a better name for this last one though, even if with the years were added to the licence plates all kinds of objects: guitar, hats, traffic cone etc … and even underwears! Most of the attractions of the city were closed at that time of year, so we decided to continue our journey after exploring the forest for about two hours. Pretty ambitious, we wanted to spend the night in Liard River, but forced to realize that we’ll have to stop at Fireside, located in British Columbia. On the way, we glimpsed two bald eagles with suicidal desires … Bernie undeniably attracted them. We’ll eat and sleep the hard way, stationed by a big truck. Nothing on the horizon, lost in the middle of nowhere, the night would be long and cold.

Early the next morning, we drove to Liard River in the fog. First eager to stop there to enjoy the hot springs, we finally decided to keep driving to Muncho Lake Provincial Park, to enjoy the daylight. Caribous and bisons made our travel even more attractive. The landscape around Muncho Lake is beautiful ; the farther we went, the more bright our eyes were. Without being sure of having crossed the entire park, we turned round to reach Liard River before nightfall. Then, when entering the lodge, we realized it was Thanksgiving ! A meal was offered for a reasonable price, so we will celebrate Thanksgiving at the lodge. After a generous meal, our adventurous soul in hands, we are craving for a late bath in the hot springs… we quickly changed our mind though, realizing that the springs are in the middle of nowhere, and that you have to cross a kind of swamp to get there, which is not very reassuring without proper flashlights. So we went off to bed, for another short night and much cooler than the day before.

In the morning, chilled to the bone because of the night spent in the car by -5°C without a mattress, we’re back in the lodge for a hot chocolate. Then we can finally go to the famous hot springs. The idea to take a shower after bathing in hot water makes us really excited considering that we didn’t have a shower since we left. We take the path made of wooden boards in the middle of the swamp, and the smell starts to be unbearable. A smell of sulfur takes over the whole surroundings. The springs are in their natural state, in the middle of nowhere, with only structure of scales and a small room with no roof to change. Bye bye lovely idea of ​​showering. Nevermind, water at 45°C, it can not be refused ! Muscles relaxed after splashing around for over an hour in the boiling water, we get dressed, the smell of sulfur bonded to the skin. Under the advice of a local, we drove to the Smith River Falls. Along the way, we met a black bear on the side of the road and got some stolen shots. Access to the falls was much more complicated than expected but we succeeded anyways, without scaring Bernie too much. Then, we left for Watson Lake where we enjoyed the library, and had the right to have a tea and some biscuits. Wonderful. After some research on the internet, we decided to move towards Atlin on the next day. For now, we will drive to Teslin in order to spend the night.

A short night later, we are on the road to Atlin and the White Mountain. Although a gentleman told us about fog and bad visibility at the top, we decided to climb the mount anyways, until we experienced the famous fog. At some point, after making a little snowman, we got back down. It still allowed us to stretch our legs. Bernie finally took us to Marsh Lake. Being really tired out and only thirty minutes from the house, we decided to go back home for the night and come back tomorrow to climb M’Clintock.

After a good sleep, we reached the summit of M’Clintock in the snow. But the view was worth the effort. This concludes our little roadtrip with Bernie, my new best friend.

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