Somewhere along the Alaska Highway between Dawson Creek and Whitehorse lies a place called Liard River Hot Springs. Previously known to the local Kaska Indians the hot springs natural heated mineral pools provided year-round warmth to weary travelers. Back in the 1940’s when the highway was being constructed the US soldiers working on the highway developed the first convenient access to these warm steaming waters. A beautiful paradise even in the winter months, plants surround the hot springs. The temperature of the hot pools ranges from 100-118 degrees as it is superheated deep underground before rising through cracks in the bedrock and flowing downstream creating mineral pools of decreasing temperature.
After the highway construction years the mineral springs fell into disrepair until local residents stepped up and worked to rebuild the failing boardwalks and cleanout the pool areas. In 1957 the property went to the Provincial Parks Department (much like our State Parks) and the Liard River Hot Springs Provincial park was established to preserve and protect these unique accessible geothermal features and the surrounding diverse natural area.
Today’s hot springs are filled with thousands of travelers on the Alaska Highway each year as the springs and the adjacent campground makes a relaxing stopover on the long road.
“Some of the secret joys of living are not found by rushing from point A to point B, but by inventing some imaginary letters along the way.” – Douglas Pagels
So what better place to meet up with a group that is made up of travelers from all over the US than Liard Hot Springs. There are many ways to travel to Alaska by RV. Several companies run caravans and they take care of all those messy details like mapping, planning and campground reservations. They adhere to a strict schedule, oftentimes the RV’s travel in “packs” going down the highway and they operate on a specific timeframe; plus they are quite costly. After looking into this type of Alaska travel I quickly decided that it was not for me, although it would be nice to have others on the road that are familiar and folks that you could turn to in any times of trouble. Being that structured and organized is great if I am the one doing the structuring and organizing!
So that brings me to “Loosey Goosey” – While at the Escapers rally in Tucson I was introduced to this group that was planning on heading to Alaska this summer. Thanks to Shawn Loring (the CEO of the Escapees RV Club) I was able to get my foot in the door with these great folks. My first email to Dennis (informal leader of this rag-tag band) was answered by this:
“Let me give you a quick history of the Loosey Goosey group. We’ve been doing this event several times over the years. This time there will be about 22 rigs. We leave the U.S. border at different times and have several meeting places during the trip. We usually travel Loosey Goosey up to groups of 2-4 rigs. NOT a caravan by any means. We just hang out together while traveling for a while then go off to another group or just travel by ourselves for a while. Nothing in stone and everything is in jello. No reservations at parks. We’re in contact with somebody whenever we need to or want to usually.”
As soon as I read the email I knew this group was for me – It truly was Loosey Goosey! And just the way I wanted to travel to Alaska.
Definition of loosey–goosey
: notably loose or relaxed : not tense a loosey–goosey attitude
We keep in contact through a special Facebook group, orange ribbons on our RV’s and a really cool app called Familonet that maps out where each person is at any given time. The first “informal” meet up of the group was at the hot springs for a few days. The folks that made it (23 travelers) all got together on May 25th for dinner and to celebrate Mark’s 60th birthday. It was great fun getting to know all of these fine RV’ers and I am looking forward to more adventures with them as we cross paths along our journey to the Northern Frontier.
Staying at Liard for a few days gave Cory and I a chance to get in a little hiking and following the recommendation of the parks staff we hiked right from our campsite down the highway and across the river before locating a “locals trail” to a beautiful waterfall. All in all about 8 miles and through some beautiful country.
“I am a firm believer that one way to become enlightened is to be so relaxed, as relaxed as you possibly can be.” – Alanis Morissette
I may have neglected to mention that at the Hot Springs park there was no cell phone, no Wi-Fi, no power or dump station. It gave me an opportunity to really test out my “boondocking” capabilities in the motorhome and it was a success. Still, being in such a connected time where we are basically tethered to our electronic devices it was difficult to unplug, relax and go with the flow for a few days.
Time to head on down the highway – very much looking forward to meeting up with my new “Loosey Goosey” friends along the way. It is always nice to have others to share great adventures with.
“Life is an adventure, it’s not a package tour.” – Eckhart Tolle