Alaska or Bust!

Hello Friends and Family!

We are officially in Alaska and I’d like to share with you some parts of our journey to date from Cochrane, BC to Fairbanks, Alaska. So, here goes!!

On June 7, we reconnected with our travel buddies, Susan and Mark. In our hearts that is when our trip to Alaska began even though we left SC May 1.

Kenny and I and Susan and Mark (they are always the photo bombers)

From Cochrane we traveled to Banff, then onto Jasper. In Jasper, we hiked Maligne Canyon which is a limestone canyon with great photo opportunities. There are six bridges which allows one to view the canyon from different perspectives and waterfalls of various heights and sizes that will surprise you as you hike and explore. Visit http://www.malignecanyon.com

Some beautiful views from our hike.

At our campsite in Jasper, Kenny was “elk-jacked” when he was walking to the recycling area. When he finished dropping off recyclables, he turned around to find himself surrounded by ~15 elk (bulls, cows and calves). The bulls gave Kenny the “stink eye” making certain that Kenny wouldn’t interfere with the herd. All he wanted to do was to get around them safely. They are big animals and protective of their young. He had to walk a great distance to get around them.

The beautiful emerald Lake Louise

In Banff, we drove to Lake Louise which is a spectacular sight. The day was rather chilly and had off/on rain. Regardless, we got some good shots then had drinks and appetizers at Fairmont Chateau overlooking the emerald beauty, warm and dry.

Fairmont Chateau

During our travel days we saw wildlife almost every single day. While driving we ran into wildlife traffic jams as well as having our own private sightings as we traveled along the highway. Moose cows with their calf or sometimes calves! We also saw a Grizzly bear, elk, caribou and black bears.

Grizzly bear along the side of the highway. With two cubs but couldn’t capture them in the picture.

We next traveled to Grand Prairie, Alberta, Dawson Creek and Fort Nelson which is in British Columbia. Our next hotspot, pun intended, was Liard Hot Springs which is also in British Columbia. At our campsite there was a resident Bison that wandered into the camp both morning and early evenings to pose for us. Staying a good distance away was a must, but clearly he had no problem with the many campers snapping shots of him while he lazily enjoyed the nearby grasses.

Our posing Bison

Never having been to a hot spring before, I pictured myself soaking in the luxurious minerals with a glass of wine in hand and looking up at the twinkling stars overhead. Not so much. It is a natural hot spring which has cubbies for keeping your towels, clothes, etc. and sets of stairs so you can easily walk down into the springs. The water was hot in a variety of areas almost scalding. But once in, soaking was very relaxing. However, alcohol wasn’t allowed and we were there just before the Summer Solstice so a glass of wine and seeing stars was out of the question. Not exactly how I pictured it but nonetheless very enjoyable.

Enjoying the Liard HOT hot springs!

We overnighted at Teslin, Yukon, then went onto Whitehorse. The highlight in Whitehorse was a visit to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve which was such a gem! Five stars out of five! We were able to have a good hike while exploring the 700+ acre preserve with extremely large natural habitats. Visit http://www.yukonwildlife.ca.

Arctic Fox
Thin horned sheep – he liked being photographed
Kenny finally grew a pair!
Look at that rack!
One foot in Yukon, one foot in Alaska – Hurray, we have arrived!

On June 21, we crossed the border into Alaska. Finally in Alaska! We settled in Fairbanks just prior to the Summer Solstice which was unplanned. Highlights of Fairbanks were a 8 hour car trip to the Arctic Circle (where even Mark’s Tundra was challenged), a “tour” with Mary Shields (the first woman to complete the Iditarod) and the Fairbanks Summer Solstice Festival.

Though a rainy, muddy day we made it!!!
Note posted in Bureau of Land Management – on journey to Arctic Circle

At the Arctic Circle we received certificates to prove we were there. Thanks Mark and Susan for your remarkable driving skills! It was a long taxing day of rain and mud but we made it! The “tour” Tails of the Trail was really more like a visit with Mary Shields and her dogs as she unfolded her start in Alaska as a young woman, stories about her dog sledding adventures, and life in Alaska. Honestly, if ever in Alaska, sign up for her “tour”. She had us spellbound for the three hours we spent with her and her team. Kristina, her assistance, was as lovely as Mary. Visit http://www.maryshields.com for more information.

The sweetest of Mary’s sled dogs with Kenny. Aptly names Too-sweet!
Big Boy – one of Mary’s sled dogs
What an honor to have spent time with this amazing woman – truly an honor!

Our next adventure is Denali. Until then, we raise our wine glasses and toast to you:

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” – Jack Kerouac

8 thoughts on “Alaska or Bust!”

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