Down the Smokey Cassier Highway – August 2018

We left our Yukon campground and headed south. Soon, we said our goodbyes to both the Alaska Highway and the Yukon Territory. Although we were excited to drive new (to us) roads on the Cassier Highway, I was a little sad to leave the Alaska Highway for the final time this trip after driving 1,500 miles on it up and back.

The Cassier Highway was in good condition, although it was a bit narrower than the Alaska Highway and without shoulders. (The Alaska Highway varies considerably along its length, but as you’ve seen in the pictures, much of it has some shoulder and most of it is as wide as a typical two-line highway in the lower-48.) Traffic initially was a little heavier than I expected, but still lighter than the Alaska Highway. (I was expecting almost no traffic, but we saw other vehicles at least every few minutes, typically.)

The first part of the journey was uneventful. The scenery was nice enough, although we saw evidence of past fires. Travel was a bit slower, with the narrow road and many twists and turns that had to be navigated at slower speeds.

The road frequently wandered around obstacles.

Our first stop on the Cassier was Jade City. The region around Jade City (population approximately 30) is home to 92% of the world’s nephrite jade, and there is of course a store along the highway. Oma loves rocks and was really looking forward to stopping. Unfortunately, the stuff in the store was not nice enough to be worth the prices they wanted (at least for us), and Oma ended up being very disappointed.

After an hour or so, everything changed. The road started to get a little smokey, and before long we found ourselves driving through dense smoke. There were still people coming from the other direction, so we felt confident that the road wasn’t closed ahead. But the dense smoke was very eerie.

The smoke was very thick through most of our drive.

And it went on and on. After about ninety minutes, we arrived in Dease Lake, where we topped off our fuel. I asked the cashier at the station how far the smoke continued, and she (probably in frustration) basically didn’t answer.

The smoke was thinner in places, but we never escaped it the rest of the day.

We headed out of town and continued through the smoke. It did get thinner in places, but would then get thick again.

Two hours past Dease Lake, we reached Kinaskan Lake Provincial Park. We were ready to stop for the night, and the smoke had become thin enough that we felt comfortable stopping.

The view across the lake was still hazy with smoke when we arrived at the campground, but it was much thinner and more tolerable than on most of our drive.

We were able to snag a waterfront campsite, although the views over the lake were less-than-spectacular due to the smoke. Shortly after we arrived, our new friends with the Airstream pulled in. We socialized a bit and discussed plans and options for the next day before calling it a night.

DAY 94

Miles: 247
Diving time: 5:15
Overnight: Kinaskan Lake Provincial Park, Iskut, BC
Weather: Mostly cloudy (56/61)
Total miles since crossing Canadian border:  6,139
Total miles:  7,707

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