Mike had to set a 5:30am alarm, which was a bit of a shock to everybody's system. His flight was at 7am, and I believe had three parts; to Vancouver first (which seems like the wrong direction, but it's the only place Air Canada flies to from Whitehorse), and then Calgary or Edmonton before finally getting to Toronto. Will and I saw him off in our pyjamas, then had breakfast in the airport parking lot before getting on with our day.
The first part of the day involved the Beringia Interpretive Centre in Whitehorse, which is pretty awesome. I had no idea that large parts of the Yukon and Alaska were not covered in glaciers and ice in the last Ice Age; in fact, although the temperature was cold, the grasslands supported the big Ice Age creatures we think of, the woolly mammoth and sabre-tooth cat.
Here's Will on a model of a baby mammoth outside the centre. It was quite chilly out; even in our sweaters we were cold that day.
After that it was back east on the Alaska highway, the way we had come, until we were almost at Watson Lake. Where the Cassiar highway starts, there was a little place called "Sally's Cafe". It seemed to be in a trailer and had only three tables, but the soup was good. The son of the owners introduced himself and was making small talk with me while we waited for our food. I told him about the trip and asked him some questions about how high school is handled in that remote region (he went in Watson Lake, but the school bus only took him partway home, so he hitchhiked the rest of the way).
As I left the restaurant he handed me an envelope and said it was a gift, but I was distracted by Will not feeling well and opened it up only a ways down the road when I remembered it. I was astounded to find three $100 bills in it, with a note. I guess with my moth-eaten sweater and our 30-year-old vehicle, we must have looked destitute. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the money, but every time I think of it I'm amazed by the kindness of complete strangers. Maybe I don't need the money, but I probably did need the reminder that not everyone is out for whatever they can get in this world.
By then it was getting late, so we stopped at the first provincial park on the Cassiar highway, which was at Boya Lake. The road was rough and under construction for the first 20km, then winding and narrow, so I was glad to knock off for the night. It was still light quite late, of course, and I took a dozen pictures of the ridiculously beautiful sunset and scenery from our campsite. I mean, really; is this not a spectacular country we live in?
Total so far: 7706 km