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Laird River Hot Springs Lodge, BC to Watson Lake, YT (130 miles)

At 130 miles, I will admit this (day 31) was my third toughest day. (Day 7: Minot to Bowbells, ND 71 miles fighting wind, I averaged only 6 mph; 2. Weyburn to Davidson, SK, 166 miles I averaged my fastest time at 12.9 mph (remember I was also still carrying 40+ pounds in panniers). Heat, wind (whatever direction) is wearing.

Some have asked about my progress. This is day 31 (including 2 break days). Today started at 1999 miles and ending at 2129 which puts me over two-thirds of the way.

Never have I seen so much wildlife in the a 50 mile stretch. Wood buffalo were the most numerous. Individuals and herds up to 50 or so were feeding. They seem to ignore vehicles, but are not sure about my bike. Their choice seems to defend their grazing area, or run. Once I realized that my front brake screech causes them to run, I used it as an approach tool. However, a small herd (dozen) decided that they needed to cross the highway in front of me. Moving at about 15 mph does not allow much escape time.

A herd running moves at about 15 mph. (They can certainly run faster.) The 50 or so I mentioned earlier gradually grouped over a mile and a few young bulls,  a couple times stopped, turned towards me. Front brake taps persuaded them to keep with the herd. Four camping rigs were on the left side of highway. As the herd slowed I sped passed as they found refuge through a thinned area of the ditch-lined woods.

Today’s photo is of a bull that decided to run as I was going to sneak past as he had been calmly grazing.

Another thing, as I approached the Yukon Territory and passed the border, the buffalo were larger. They seem to resemble our Plains bison in size. Years ago there was an attempt to increase the genetic base from the limited numbers that had survived hunting a century ago. Perhaps, these herds are segregating again.