Tokin Tina’s Travel Ep.5
Last week we hung out in Whitehorse, where we met a really old puppy mummy. Now we go to Watson Lake, where you find yourself lost in a forest of signs. Then we head to a prehistoric like Oasis for a soak.
We knew we wanted to hit the sign post forest on the way. We also thought it would be a perfect spot to rest for the night. It didn’t work out that way, but that’s later in the story. First let me tell you a little bit about WHY we wanted to hit such a weird attraction. It is definitely a strange and fun tourist attraction, but one we had not really remembered hearing of previously. That is until Trish and Marc from Keep Your Daydream, RVers that we follow on YouTube and are part of their insiders group, introduced us this feature.
We started following their journey before covid, because it looked really fun. Then, like many others we had extra time during the lockdown, so we spent a lot of extra time watching. We went back to the beginning of their full time journey with their kids, traveling the country full time in an RV and documenting the journey. It appeared like an epic journey. If I am being 100% honest, this family is the reason we are currently on our own epic journey. They showed us every week how very realistic this dream life could actually be. Anyway, they came to Alaska before we were followers, and they left their logo sign in that forest. We felt compelled to find that sign. The intent was to snap a pic with Ginger, the KYD mascot. They send her to all their insider supporters.
There we were in this massively large forest, surprisingly packed inside a rather small area.
To be honest, when you are outside looking in, it appears to be fairly easy to navigate. Don’t let that fool, you, I easily lost my way more than once. Patrick would say that isn’t surprising, so just don’t ask him. I will however admit that the only way I know which way I’m going is the directional indicator in my trunk. I can use a compass and read a map. It’s just not something that comes naturally to me.
So yeah, I got lost, like 3 times.
It was fun. Fun, until the bright light of day started to disappear, and the showdown started to grow. Quickly I got serious about finding that KYD sign. If a picture was going to happen, it had to happen now. It was surprising how fast it became a creepy ass place. It went from a charming tourist trap, into a borderline scary movie backdrop in moments.
I am totally going back, and hopefully leaving our own metal logo sign. I might leave a creepy doll or two to add to the over-all vibe.
So back to the journey. It was starting to get a little on the dark side and we had a couple of options. First option was to stay at the RV park in the area. We had not reserved a spot for that night, but had called ahead and knew they had availability. OR we could carry on and try to make it to Laird Hotsprings a night early. I hadn’t been driving much at all up to this point, but Patrick was tired. If I wanted to carry on, I had to drive. There was no time like the present to get comfortable towing.
I was wiling to drive the next 150 miles to just get us to a spot that we could relax.
We needed some actual down time to regroup and recoup, the sooner the better. We called ahead to make sure they had a space for us for that extra night, and as luck would have it, they did. It was decided, on to Laird we go.
The drive was much smoother and easier then I was afraid of. I was feeling more confident with every mile simply because the truck was just handling it all really well. That being said, I was grateful when 3.5 hours later, with another 30 minutes to go, Patrick took back the wheel. By this time it was extremely dark, and I knew I wasn’t going to be the one trying to park the trailer. Nope not me, not in the pitch black. He said had enough time to get a good nap in and was ready to take over.
We pulled into the lodge after midnight and did just enough set up to get by, then it was off to bed for an early morning wake up. The springs were waiting, there was no time to waste on sleeping. That was the plan anyway. It didn’t go exactly to plan.
The next morning we finally woke u around 9 and stumbled to the lodge to finish check in and get some breakfast getting to the actual Laird park around noon. It was a wet foggy day, and it absolutely added to the whole vibe of the area.
When you first enter the park, you are greeted by a booth with an attendant.
The daily cost in 2022 was $5, but a season pass is $10 per person. We just grabbed the season pass since we planned for a 3 day visit. The lodge that we stayed at is technically across the street from the Hotsprings, and the only reason we chose the lodge to stay is because Laird Hotsprings campground has no power and no water. The only power is in the front booth and the electric fence that surrounds the park. They enclose the park to help protect the campers from the very active bear presence in the area.
Once you get to the fence entrance you then start the long walk that is about 1/2 a mile down a wooden board walk that takes you through a seemingly untouched marsh. That day the air was chilled so it caused an even more of an ethereal vibe to the whole park, with steam rising from the ground all around us, even before we were able to see the pools themselves. Fall in the Yukon is absolutely gorgeous anyway, here it was stunning. Some greens still present, but the yellows and deep reds and even purples that were showing at that time just took my breath away. Imagine something out of Jurassic Park, or even Lord of the Rings, it was just simply stunning.
Eventually the boardwalk starts to take you into a more wooded area and then around the corner you start to see the buildings over the tree tops. These building are made to blend in to the landscape as much as possible. They are simply structures that only house the changing rooms. Further up the boardwalk you will find permanent outhouses. None of these buildings have running water and none of the buildings have lights. If you visit at night, make sure you bring a good flashlight, because you will absolutely be navigating in the dark. It’s absolutely worth it though.
Once you get to the pools themselves, there are two main pools, both are connected to each other and both have entrances from the main platform.
The lower pool to the left is a a little bit less groomed and is a lower temperature. This is the pool that really looks and feels prehistoric. It’s also usually less crowded, unless the kids are out frolicking around in it.
I visited the pools multiple times that visit and each time it seemed as if I was in a different place depending on the weather. That was a really cool element to the whole experience. I didn’t make a sunrise bathing, but Patrick did, and said it was a glorious experience. I could go on for hours about this place, and again, if it weren’t for KYD, I probably would have completely overlooked it on the long trip through the Yukon. Even if you aren’t camping, Laird Hotsprings is a must stop, don’t miss it. I know it’s one of the stops I look forward to most on our way back home to Alaska this spring.
Next week we head into Dawson Creek, where the Alaska Highway ends, or begins, depending on which way you’re heading.