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Friday June 21, 2013- Watson Lake to Teslin Lake, YT

We left Downtown RV park late this morning as we were trying to make reservations. Wayne had tried almost all day yesterday to get through to Denali, but was unable to maintain a connection. So he was trying early this morning. We now have reservations.

Between Watson Lake and Lake Teslin YT

Between Watson Lake and Lake Teslin YT

Between Watson Lake and Lake Teslin YT

We left the park at about 9:20, driving north. the scenery was beautiful with lots of trees and lakes. We did not see any wildlife today. We stopped at Rancheria River Falls. Milepost 695.2.There are two falls, separated by an island in the middle. We walked out the nice path, with the dogs. It eventually became a narrow boardwalk.

Between Watson Lake and Lake Teslin YT - Rancherio Falls

Between Watson Lake and Lake Teslin YT

The falls were pretty.  We decided since it was 11:30, to just go ahead and have lunch in the picnic shelter. We sat down and  while we ate, a rain shower struck.  By the time we finished eating our sandwiches, it was gone and you could not tell that it had even rained!.

We crossed over the Continental Divide, at Milepost 699.4, but there was no picture to be taken! Not even a sign at the rest area.

We continued on to the town of Teslin. This is the Teslin bridge, with the town of Teslin around it. Teslin river straddles  the BC-YT border and is 86 miles long, averaging 2 miles wide. The name is taken from the Indian name for the lake, Teslintoo, meaning long, narrow water.

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We stopped at the Milepost 776.4, the Yukon Motel, RV Park, and Wildlife Gallery. The Wildlife Gallery is free, and featured all sorts of Yukon wildlife. It was pretty interesting.

They had these cute, large stuffed animals.

Stuffed bear @ Yukon Motel gift shopStuffed buffalo @ Yukon Motel gift shop

Stuffed moose @ Yukon Motel gift shop

From there, we continued north, 2 km, to the George Johnston Museum, Milepost 776.7. A Tlingit Indian, the innovative George Johnston (1884-1972) was known for his trapping and photography. He documented the Tlingit people and their lives between 1910 and 1940. He was a character. He wanted to buy a camera and at age 16, walked to Juneau to learn more about his people and to purchase the camera. He was self taught, including teaching himself how to develop his pictures. He decided he wanted to buy a car. The fact that there was no road did not deter him! So he went down river and bought a Chevy, learning how to drive, in 15 minutes, on the airport runway. He then shipped the car, on a paddle boat, in 1928, to Teslin. His family members managed to assist him in getting the car off the paddle wheeler and they set out to build a 3 mile road. This was 13 years before the Alaskan Highway! He then charged for rides in his “taxi” to pay for the road and the gas. During the winter, he painted the car white and went hunting on the frozen lake. During the summer he painted it dark for hunting. Eventually, his 3 miles became part of the Alaska Highway.

George Johnston 1928 Chevy

In the museum, there was a very good film on George Johnston and the Tlingit’s. We enjoyed the museum. It was well worth the $5 each.

From there, we went another 2 km’s north to the Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre, Milepost 779.1. This was a bust! We walked through the exhibits and watched a movie on the Tlingit’s difficulty with the “two winters of 1816”, when the Indonesia volcano erupted and caused a second winter, which meant no summer that year for hunting. Not worth the money. We wanted to stay in their parking lot overnight, but they would not allow it.

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Since we could not stay in the Heritage Centre, we continued north to the Teslin Lake Government Campground, $12. The signs  and mileage signs were terrible and we missed the campground entrance. Since we could not make a U-turn on this two lane road, we continued to the next campground, Timber Point Campground, $15.  It was in one of the First Nation’s members side yard with picnic tables, use of their canoe or kayak, free firewood, but no hook-ups. It was quiet and only one other couple, in a tent, in the 8 site campground.

We walked down to their little beach on the lake while out chicken was defrosting, ate dinner, and played Mexican Train with Margie and Wayne.

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