Monday, May 6, 2013

Al-Can Adventures Part 17: Muncho Lake

Leaving the Liard Hot Springs area behind--a traumatic thing to do if you spend any time in the healing pools contained therein--and heading south, you run into one of the many truly beautiful stretches along the highway.  So much so, in fact, that it really sucks to drive.

Lemme 'splain.  When you're driving for the purpose of sight-seeing, beautiful is good.  Nature is wonderful.  In an unburdened vehicle filled with excited neck-craning tourists, beautiful is desirable.

On the other hand, when you're loaded down with household supplies and you're just trying to get to the other end, beautiful means steep grades, sharp corners, and all sorts of other things to slow you down.  If you're in this second group, as I've been on my Al-Can journeys, just prepare yourself.  The stretch around Muncho Lake just plain stinks with beauty.

Sorry for the quality of the picture with the quasi-reflection.  You could say that taking in the beauty of the lake causes you to reflect on what's really important, but that would be a very bad joke in light of the picture I present.  Somewhere I have a picture of the campground we stayed at long ago, but I can't find it now.  In the one I've posted, you can at least see the beauty of Muncho Lake with the mountain behind it.  It's a deep glacier-carved lake that glimmers an iridescent blue in the sun.  It's pretty.

There are several places to stay at Muncho Lake, if your timing and your desire lend themselves to such a stop.  Good Sam Club's directory has a list of options, but keep in mind as you look into the directory that Toad River, listed as Muncho Lake area, is a bit farther down than the actual lake vistas. 

This last time down the trail we were ripping it on through the area, having been freed from the clutches of the forest fire and really just wanting to make it to the Edmonton Mall for a nice hotel room with a whirlpool bathtub.  We barely even stopped at Toad River, in fact, though you pretty much have to stop there for fuel.  They have interesting signage, too, and who wouldn't want to take your picture with your face set into a toad's head?  Besides, on our third trip we had a cool moose sighting that turned out to be the first time some people in our group had seen Bullwinkle in the flesh.

I wish I had good advice regarding camping at Muncho Lake, but I don't.  The little blue logbook describes our stays there in some limited detail:

"Drove on down to Muncho Lake, which is absolutely beautiful.  Stopped first by J&H Wilderness Resort, which had no spaces left.  Went next door, where there were plenty of spaces available.  Found out why.  $15 gets you a spot on the hill with a power plug-in and rights to your turn at a 1-hole potty and one shower.  Worst I've seen.  I won't be back.  On the other hand, dinner at J&H was fabulous!  For $40, we all (three people) got good meals and the best service on the Al-Can.  Next time we'll call for reservations.  Roads sucked.  Very narrow."

Yeah, so do yourself a favor.  Go back and re-read the last four words in the log entry.

Unfortunately, in researching this post, I discovered that J&H Wilderness Resort is currently shut down and for sale.  Hopefully whoever purchases it maintains the wonderful service I got when visiting that campground.  


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