Wildlife Along the Alcan Highway

7 minute read

Every time we go on these trips I have only one wish. To see a moose. I know it seems silly. It’s just a moose. It’s like the whitetail of Texas up here in Canada. They’re in everybody’s backyard, and spotted in cities. They’re apparently common in Grand Teton National Park and I didn’t get to see one there. People in our group at Music Fest saw one on the slopes and shared video of it. Paul at Pleasure-Way mentioned when we picked our Plateau XLMB up that one had been spotted just that morning down the road. It felt like I kept missing them. These creatures were elusive to me.

I finally got my wish. After years of wanting nothing so much as to see a moose in person I not only saw one, but three! Just standing in the grassy sections alongside the road. The first two we spotted were smaller and looked to be like younger females. Today we saw a third one near some brush along the road. He also was smaller, but had some horns on him. My first impression of the two we saw last night were that they looked wet. I couldn’t tell if they were or if it was just the look of their fur. I’d still like to see a full grown moose. Maybe we’ll get lucky in the parks in Alaska.

Surprisingly to me we saw more black bears than anything else. It seemed like they were everywhere along the stretch of highway between Ft. St. John and Ft. Nelson. In a matter of three or four hours we saw over a dozen black bears along the road. All of them were just chilling out eating some dandelions. It’s hard to see them as dangerous watching them sit on their bums chewing flowers like that. Especially when the sun is out and making their fur glisten and look like nothing short of spectacularly silky and fuzzy. Like you just want to rub your face in it. We pulled over to watch one of them and snap some photos from the door of the coach. Even if it did look adorably harmless we were still cautious. After we had been there for a bit an RV pulled up behind is. It was a man and his son, and the man was making loud noises trying to get the bear to look their way. They ended up causing the poor thing to run off into the woods. We both felt that it was incredibly rude and stupid. They left right after the bear disappeared into the treeline, and we were more than happy to let them get ahead of us. Since we had hung back a bit, we got to see the bear come back out and go into one of the road pipes to cross to the other side. Smart bear.

Adorable black bear in the dandelions.

In addition to my elusive moose and bears, we also saw plenty of bison and some sort of sheep. I thought they were goats, but the signs all designated them as sheep. Some of them had the wrapped horns like a ram, and the rest had smaller horns that curved straight up. In one group of them there was a little white lamb with them. We had to stop in the road to let them move over to the side. I saw one sheep running along narrow ledges of the rock wall next to us while we waited. It’s incredible how they’re able to comfortably move along ledges like that.

The sheep were all in an area of a provincial park that had rock cliffs and gravel. Some of them really blended in and if we hadn’t seen a few groups out on the road I probably would have missed them. Shortly after we saw the sheep was when we saw a herd of bison. They were along the road in a construction area - right next to the road machines. And just across the road from the bison was another black bear eating some dandelions. All of this around a construction crew waiting for the cars to pass. Makes you wonder how often these road crews see wildlife and if it still awes them like it does us.