Day 12, Monday, 4/30/18
3,456.6 miles
Dawson Creek, BC, Canada

We've had great weather so far. With the exception of flurries on the way to Jasper, it's been sunny with highs around 60+ in the day to lows near 30 in the early morning.

We left Jasper on Highway 16 and headed out of the park. The highway follows the Athabasca river. While still in the park, we spotted elk (wapiti), bighorn sheep and deer. We picked up Route 40 about 6 miles from the park and headed north towards Grande Prairie. This part of 40 runs through Spruce and Pine forests, with only one town (Grande Cache) about half way between Jasper and Grande Prairie.

Bighorn sheep
We decided to stop at the Grande Cache visitor center where we were greeted by the manager. He was a fount of information abut the area: the town is at an elevation 4000 feet, there's a small protected herd of 40 caribou, the town was established for coal mining and the fishing is great. We told him we saw caribou coming into town and his response was 'you're very lucky to have seen any!' He hadn't seen any for 3 years.
Athabasca River
Caribou from Grande Cache herd
Grande Cache Caribou

From Grande Prairie, we turned West on Route 43 headed to Dawson Creek - Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway. We were leaving the mountains and returning to flatter land as we drove towards Dawson Creek. Most of the vehicles we saw on 43 were commercial; servicing lumber and natural gas facilities. The gas drilling rigs stood above the trees and were easily spotted by looking for the gas flares.

We pulled into Dawson Creek and parked at the visitor center. As we were walking up the path to the door, someone came out and changed the sign from 'open' to 'closed'. Sheesh....

So we drove up 43 a bit and found a campground where we paid for a site. The campground was just a flat, open space with hookups for trailers and a howling wind. We setup the stove and cooked dinner in 20 MPH wind with gusts that felt like 30 MPH! It was delicious!

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