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Day 34 - Travel to Johnson's Crossing, YT

Today was a spectacular day for driving. We passed two smaller mountain ranges including the Cassiar,

and the Big Salmon Range.

We did not gain much altitude since the road was built mainly in the valleys following the rivers.

We drove along the Rancheria River for a few miles,

before reaching Rancheria Falls Recreation Site.

There was a wonderful boardwalk leading directly up to the falls.

This was the first or Upper Falls,

and about 40 meters down the boardwalk was the Lower Falls.

We are approaching the Continental Divide which divides two of the largest drainage systems in North America, the Yukon River and Mackenzie River watershed.

This is a map showing the Continental Divide, located half-way between Watson Lake and Teslin.

Our motorhome is parked on the Continental Divide. Here we are looking East toward the Mackenzie River watershed which flows northward and empties into the Beaufort Sea (Arctic Ocean).

This is looking West toward the Yukon River watershed which continues northwest and drains into the Bering Sea (Pacific Ocean). Really not much to see here; the anticipation was better than the actual stop!

There was a large pullout prior to the Nisutlin Bay Bridge with an information kiosk.

We received a warm welcome from the Laughing Gulls sitting on top of the kiosk.

The Nisutlin Bay bridge is the longest water span on the Alaska Highway at 1,917 feet. It crosses the Nisutlin River which forms the bay as in enters into Teslin Lake. The city of Teslin is at the far end of the bridge.

The first stop across the river was the Wildlife Gallery and gift shop. It was a lovely gift shop with your normal T-shirts and clothing, but it also contained a good selection of local artwork at reasonable prices.

The wildlife gallery was excellent. The animals were portrayed in their natural environment. Here two Caribou are locking horns in a mock battle.


The Grizzly bears were shown in a riverside setting; one of them with a Salmon he's ready to eat.

Here the artist depicts a Moose being attacked by a pack of Wolves. Very realistic.

Next we visited the George Johnston Museum. He was a Tlingit Indian and an innovative person who was known for his trapping and photographic abilities. He captured the lives of the Tlingit people of Teslin between 1910 and 1940.

Inside the museum is George Johnston's reconstructed general store. Mary is looking at a Moose head above her.

The store now houses the Museum store and ticket counter.

Inside the museum are life-size subsistence hunting and trapping dioramas including a copy of Johnston's trapping cabin.

The inside looks a little sparse, but then it was just George Johnston living here during the winter trapping season.

Johnston brought the first car, a 1928 Chevrolet, to Teslin. Since there were no roads in Teslin, George built a three mile road and started a Taxi service! In the winter he put chains on the car and drove it on frozen Teslin Lake. He painted the car white in the winter so the animals he was hunting had difficulty seeing him. He traded the Chevy in to the same dealer in 1968 for a truck, and the car did not have a dent in it! The dealer restored the car and it is on permanent loan to the Museum.

Some of the beautiful Tlingit bead work on display at the museum.

This was our next stop, the Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre.

We are greeted by the Wolf, Eagle, Frog, Beaver and Raven totems.

To give you an idea of the size of the totems, Susan (5ft) is standing next to the last totem in line.

200 years of Tlingit history are shown in a series of displays starting from about 200 years ago and describing the various turning points in Tlingit culture. From the arrival of fur trappers, to trading ships, to the building of the Alaska Highway. The last making the most impact on their culture. However, they are returning a to self-sustaining culture and regaining their proud heritage.

The display cases were filled with the craft work that is restoring their heritage.

The Spirit and Animal Masks were beautifully carved and most of them were done recently to show how the Tlingit heritage is being renewed.

At a large shed down by the lake contained a boat that was carved from one large log. This was the type of boat used by the Tlingit people for hundreds of years.

There were two new boats by the lake that are the same shape and size as the log boats and are just as beautiful, but they are made from the more practical fiberglass.

A photo taken on the Teslin River Bridge just prior to pulling into the Johnson Crossing Campground. This is the third longest bridge on the Alaskan Highway. It was built with a very high clearance above the river to allow British Yukon Navigation Company steamers to pass under it on their way to Teslin from Whitehorse. Steamers ceased operation in 1942!


This car was sitting in the parking lot of the campground. Any guesses as to the cause of the accident?

If you guessed a Moose, you are correct. All three passengers survived; which is very rare in an accident like this.


At 5:00 PM we gathered for our trip briefing to Carmacks tomorrow.

We were told last night that the owners were preparing a Surf & Turf dinner for us for a price of $15.50 per person. So at 5:30 most of us headed over to the restaurant.

The Surf was beautifully baked Salmon with potato salad, coleslaw and tossed salad.

The Turf was a perfectly cooked steak. What a delightful meal at the end of the trail.

It is amazing how the talking dies down when the food arrives!

As if the main course wasn't enough, they also had blueberry pie or cinnamon buns for dessert.

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