Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Kitwanga to Prince George, British Columbia ~Alaska Trip Day 46

Thursday morning, we wanted to keep moving, so before 8 a.m. we walked down the steps and up Battle Hill in Kitwanga where we had spent the night. How fitting that an eagle soared overhead as we learned of the great Gitwangak chief that had previously dominated this area.

Since fuel in Canada is sold by the liter, to calculate gallons, we multiply by 3.785. However their dollar is about $.80 of the U.S. dollar, so that adds another twist to calculations. We generally paid with our credit card that automatically gave us the daily conversion rate without an additional percentage tacked on. The grand total mileage for this trip was 9,400...averaging the gas price to $2.73 per gallon.

We stopped at the Hazelton cabin visitor center and the Vanderhoof visitor center & heritage museum.

And we found another playground park in Prince George to fix and eat supper nearby.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Bear Glacier and the end of Cassiar Highway ~Alaska Trip Day 45

It rained all night and all day. Thankfully it wasn't a torrential rain, however it did limit visibility.
We averaged 40 mph on this sealcoat hard-packed road.

The lakeview from our roadside campsite.

We managed to miss our turn in the road and didn't realize it until 16 miles later when we passed this massive glacier. Woah...nothing was written about this in the milepost book! What is going on? We're heading west on Stewart Highway to Hyder, Alaska! We had already considered taking this smallish side trip, but with overcast skies and no sights beyond the hanging fog, we slowly turned around and headed back out! It was a strange day of eerie gray swirls with glimpses of ice patches, waterfalls, and trees. I'm sure it was a magnificent place, but we just could not see far through the haze.

Bear Glacier

That mistake added a little spark to our otherwise monotonous day of driving in the drizzle.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Beginning of Cassiar Highway ~Alaska Trip Day 44

Before leaving Whitehorse, Shannon and I took the little girls and walked to the Real Canadian Superstore for bread, fruit, rice, coffee, and bulk bin candy. We had a little difficulty converting grams to pounds and Canadian dollars to U.S. money, but 45 minutes later we walked back to Annie's waiting hot breakfast, gassed up, dumped, and motored on.

The turnout view where we stopped for lunch with several other campers, including a couple from southern Ohio.

Near Watson Lake, we turned south onto unchartered territory, Highway 37. We left Yukon behind and started the long route down through British Columbia.

Just minutes after leaving the busier Alaska Highway, we encountered a mama black bear and her two cubs next to the road. We got into the drizzles here and drove the rest of the daylight in patchy rain, watching the huge overhanging clouds.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Alaska Highway: Beavercreek to Whitehorse, Yukon ~Alaska Trip Day 43

We had bypassed this portion of the Alaska Highway when we drove north from Whitehorse to Dawson City. When planning the route, I tried not to backtrack as much as possible, but once actually driving midst this gorgeous scenery, we realized the view going the opposite direction was equally impressive! We really would have seen different eyefuls of wonder had we traveled this same route a month prior. Now we could see the white-tops of the St. Elias Range (Remember that huge icefield within this national park?) as we moved southeast.

Kluane Lake

Haines junction

We made it to Whitehorse in time for an evening stroll by the Yukon River before supper and nightfall. In the Yukon, Land of the Midnight Sun, we had noticed the elongated days the beginning of August. Now we are seeing it get dark much earlier. Another adjustment!

Rotary Peace Park exercise equipment

Monday, September 19, 2016

Last Day in Alaska! ~Alaska Trip Day 42

This morning we waited on the gate to open at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Visitor Center. We really enjoyed this stop and stayed quite awhile longer than anticipated. The girls ended up doing Junior Ranger books; there were neat displays of animal scat, skulls, & fur, a professional Imax kind of film, hot drinks by donation, and fellow travelers from Maine that chatted up a storm. The largest concentration of glaciers in the world is located within the park boundaries. One glacier alone is larger than Rhode Island; the whole park is bigger than Switzerland, and the mountains are higher!

The rest of the day we drove and drove, pausing in Tok for last minute postcards mailed from AK, and yummy food from the Thai wagon.

Just before crossing back into Yukon, we made another rest stop at the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge visitor center. The building was closed, but the restrooms were open, and the trail down to the Trapper's Cabin. We ended our day with an invigorating hike, singing loudly while watching for bears in the bushes.
Goodbye "The Last Frontier!"