I drove into Watson Lake this afternoon to take a gander at the town, especially the famed Sign Post Forest:
A tiny sample of the more than 65,000 signs in Sign Post Forest
The Sign Post Forest was started by a homesick GI building the Alaska highway in ’42:
The original sign post
What struck me as I walked through the forest was from how far some of these signs had been hauled, including all over Europe and the Americas:
In case that’s not clear, these folks drove from Guatemala (C.A.=Central America) to Alaska. WOW!
Or not hauled, but the people still came from across the sea (and were quite creative):
A Sterilite container lid marked up by a family from Holland
I was also surprised to discover that I couldn’t stare at one section without seeing a sign that reminded me of a place I’ve lived or visited:
Mt. Baldy is the ski hill near Oliver and the first time I set foot in Virginia was to visit Arlington.
Fond memories of camping at Lake George (upstate New York) with my family
I lived near Bobcaygeon for nine months and enjoyed showing my dad the sights in this quaint village.
Menomonee Falls was one of my many stops on the Great Road Trip of ’05
Nepean (green sign, bottom right above the yellow) is home of the Ottawa Municipal Campground, from whence I set off my RVing journey
Trying to remember what brought me to Wiarton all those years ago
I stopped in Black Diamond when I was touring Kanaskis Country in September ’08
There were several more that stuck out at me, and this was just from random browsing without doing any in depth scanning. Visiting Sign Post Forest was a real trip down memory lane!
The Watson Lake Visitor Info Centre is located in the heart of the Forest. Staff is very friendly and helpful. I was surprised that they were open so late on a Sunday! There is a small gallery there about the building of the Alaska highway as well as a movie. Unlike the similar exhibits in Dawson Creek, these were Canadian-centric. I was surprised to learn that the U.S. did not wait for Canadian approval to start work on the highway. So, the Americans really did literally invade Canada! Thankfully, we’re pretty laid back… or Prime Minster Mackenzie King knew we couldn’t afford to go to war against the U.S., again, for invading us, again (even though we kicked their butts last time, but that’s another story altogether–Google the War of 1812).
I took a picture of this sign because find the sentiment to be so true:
You don’t miss comforts if you’re long enough without them.
It was getting on dinner time by this point and I had a twenty minute drive back home, so I just stopped quickly to check out Wye Lake. It’s time to point out here that you don’t actually see Watson Lake from the town, only Wye Lake! As for Wye Lake it was named because it occurs in the centre of the ‘Y’ in the roads around it.
The other main tourist attraction in Watson Lake is a planetarium called the Northern Lights Centre, but it won’t be open until at least Tuesday, so I’m not sure I’ll get to see it this time around. The rest of what’s to be done in the area involves being out in nature: hiking, hunting, boating, fishing, that sort of thing. Watson Lake is a full service community with a few restaurants, a bank (CIBC, yay!), a grocery store, a few gas stations, ample choice in accomodation, a good hospital, an RCMP station, etc.
While at the Visitor’s Centre, I met some gals on a long weekend road trip. When I got home, I decided to have dinner at the lodge and as I was eating the gals traipsed in in search of good grub. They asked me to join them and we had a blast talking about my travels. That’s one nice thing about being a solo traveler; you get to meet so many wonderful people!
With dinner, I continued to discover the local brews, finding the most perfect beer ever: Midnight Sun Espresso Ale by the Yukon Brewing Company. Beer and coffee together in one beverage. Perfection. 😀
Thankfully, it’s getting warmer!