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Abbotsford to Liard

We left Abbotsford intent on pushing as far north as possible. Leaving town, It was snowing so hard that the perimeters of the road and the lane markers disappeared in a matter of minutes. Progress was slow and close to midnight, we joined a domino-like stack of semis who were waiting for a jack-knifed truck to be cleared from the two lane road. Tired from the long push, we all napped in the right lane and around 4 am woke to the sound of horns as semis honked a migratory cry. The road was clear. Diesel engines fired and trucks sped past us trying to run down the frustration of the long delay.

We drove through the day taking turns at the wheel with the goal of reaching Liard hot springs on the British Columbia/Yukon border. At 2 am, we were on the Alcan Highway in a minus 40 degree storm that pushed snow across the road the way sidewinder rattlesnakes move. Winter night driving on the Alcan always feels desolate because it's rare that you ever see another car.

When we arrived at the Liard hot springs the entrance road wasn't plowed, but four wheel-drive-low got us in. After we parked we debated leaving the engine running through the night, but in the end decided that our generator could give the engine's block heater power in the morning.

We stepped into biting cold and snow to raise the roof of the Alaskan camper, and discovered that the hydrolic fluid was too cold to lift the back of the camper. It was miserable. The front end had pinned the rear and snow was pouring in with the resolve of an hour glass. Oskar saved us by lifting the back of the camper. While shouldering the whole top half of the Alaskan and pushing upward, he looked like an angry Hercules who had no intention of sleeping in the cab of the truck.

The next morning the truck wouldn't start. To make matters worse, the lock on the generator box was completely frozen shut. It took a couple hours of hack engineering to get past our own security system- a process that started with lighters and graphite, and ended successfully with a crowbar.

We finally got the truck started with the help of two climbers who had stopped at Liard on their way to Denali. After we got some temperature into the engine we walked to the hot springs. They were amazing, and once in, I understood why the snow monkeys in Japan spend their winters in water