Report From the Alaska Highway – Number 2

by Robert Bush: August 4, 2023

Hello from 400 miles north of Dawson Creek, the official “mile one” of the Alaska Highway.  Today we entered into the Canadian Rockies.  And it is a good thing that we did.  The first 400 miles – and the additional 700 or so miles from Sumas, Washington where we crossed into Canada, – was interesting, but not a scenic wonderland. As we learned, southern British Columbia is rural, but it is also an industrial center.

Sumas is the connection point between the Trans Mountain Pipeline and the Trans Mountain Puget Sound Pipeline, The system ships half of the natural gas used in the Pacific Northwest. Dawson Creek itself is the site of the LNG Canada export facility, a $40 billion liquified natural gas export terminal.

In addition, British Columbia is the world’s largest exporter of wood fiber and Canada’s leading supplier of wood construction products.

What this all means is that the southern part of the state is a very industrial area.  All along our drive, we saw industrial buildings in rural settings,  storage tanks, industrial machinery, and many camps to house the workers who are employed on the pipeline.We saw truck after truck laden with logs.The towns along this stretch of the highway are also clearly designed to service these industries.  They are not there to charm the tourists.

Lumber Truck on the ALCAN

But as you head further north, things begin to change. We came across  the little town of Chetwynd, which calls itself the “Chainsaw Carving Capital of the World” – for good reason.  Since 2005, it has hosted an international chainsaw carving competition that draws carvers from all over the world. Over 120 beautiful carvings stand along the ALCAN as it passes through the town.  Here are pictures of just a few of them:


Zeke couldn’t get this guy to give him a treat

A bit later, we began to go through the Canadian Rockies and the landscape became pretty spectacular.  We had been been belted with some pretty steady rain for the past couple of days, but as we crested Summit Pass, the highest point on the ALCAN, the rain let up at beautiful Summit Lake.


Just past Summit Lake,  we saw Stone Sheep posing majestically above the braided MacDonald River traversing a valley by the same name.



We ended up at a campsite next to Toad Lake, a modest little lake with a grand view of the distant mountains.  The rain and cold temps that had accompanied us for the past several days gave way to warm temps, and we barbecued chicken outside next to the lake as the sun set.