the land was calling so I went….
I only have my memories and images to reflect on an adventure that will ever be a part of me. You won’t see that many photos in this writing, as I soon realized that snapping the camera on a breathtaking view did not do it justice.
and the story begins here….
Very seldom in life is one blessed with a friend so true and caring that you could take off on a road trip, in a small claustrophobic van, and travel seven thousand miles without a single unkind word. Now everyone knows that I can be quite annoying first thing in the morning after my second cup of coffee, but Beverly would just kindly say, “Paralee just sit for a bit and relax”.
As we leave our quiet little town of Murphy, North Carolina, in the early morning hours, in Beverly’s newly purchased Road Trek, we begin to realize what we are about to encounter. Beverly, newly retired, is flying high with her newly earned freedom and I am feeling blessed to be a part of that adventure. As I leave my wonderful husband behind to mind the house and our doggie, I know with heavy heart I will miss them but I am so filled with excitement that it eases the pain of being separated.
As we kick out the miles we are in Boise, Idaho before we knew it. We did not do any sight-seeing in those four days since we wanted to save our days for driving through Canada and Alaska. After a few short days with family, laundry, and a much needed hot shower we were on the road again for Washington to catch up with Dean “Crooked Sticks” Clark, who would be part of our caravan to Alaska and the remainder of our time there.
Rugged British Columbia (BC), Canada’s westernmost province, stretches along the Pacific coast, dominated by mountain ranges. BC is a major hiker, camping, and fishing destination with its sprawling parks and reserves, including Glacier National Park and the Pacific Rim National Park. We began limiting our miles to under three-hundred a day so we could enjoy the beauty surrounding us. We saw our first grizzly bear feeding along the roadside, and Beverly finally saw her first moose with its calf feeding in a small pond along the road side.
From BC we continued into the Yukon. The Yukon is wild, mountainous and sparsely populated. It’s known for dog-sledding, canoe expeditions, hiking, salmon fishing and other outdoor pursuits. Kluane National Park and Reserve includes Mt. Logan, Canada’s highest peak, as well as glaciers, trails and the Alsek River, renowned for rafting. The drive along Kluane Lake was the highlight of our drive through the Yukon.
I even found a sign for my home town where I grew up.
I can’t imagine what the First Nation people thought when they arrived thousands of years ago to this majestic piece of land. In the 1800’s, the arrival of the first traders, trappers, miners and missionaries from outside the Yukon changed the area forever. I am so blessed to be traversing through this land so steeped in history.
Building the Alaska Highway (Alcan)
“Nearly 11,000 Army engineers battled freezing temperatures, ice and snow, mountains, mud, muskeg, and mosquitoes to blaze a 1,500-mile road through one of the harshest landscapes in North America, and took a huge step forward in defending the nation from threats in the Pacific. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, Americans lost The sense of security that they had been granted by virtue of isolation. The road was completed in under eight months. The highway played a vital role in World War II, lending a route to nearly 8000 aircraft that were flown from Alaska to aid the Soviet Union in its battle with Germany.”
For many years the Alcan was a gravel highway all the way north. We found the highway go be well managed during our journey north.
Alaska is a magical land of lakes with feeding moose and their young calves, turquoise glaciers that gently flow to the water’s edge, and the tranquility of the beaches as the trees reflect into their waters.
I found the Mile Post to be a very valuable tool for navigating around Alaska. I loved reading the history about the early explorers of each little town we went through.
Portage Glacier is a glacier on the Kenai Peninsula of the U.S. state of Alaska and is included within the Chugach National Forest. It is located south of Portage Lake and 6 km west of Whittier.
When asked what was my favorite I had to stop and think. If I had to choose I would have to say our trip to Kachemak Bay State Park. We fell in love with Homer so we decided to spend two nights there. This is the view across Kachemak Bay of Kachemak Bay State Park from our campsite.
Beverly and I took the water taxi across Kachemak Bay to the Park. The waters were too rough to drop us off at the trailhead so we had to walk twenty minutes up the beach. The trailhead is in Halibut Cove in conjunction with the Grewingk Glacier Lake Trail.
The Glacier was magnificent with bald eagles flying overhead. From the Glacier we hiked down the Saddle Trail to Halibut Cove for our water taxi pickup.
I also enjoyed spending time in Denali National Park and Preserve again. Denali (Mount McKinley) encompasses six-million acres of Alaska’s interior wilderness. The terrain included tundra, spruce forest and glaciers. We were so fortunate to see many grizzly bears, caribou, and moose.
On the way from Homer to Anchorage we spent the night along Turnagain Arm next to Falls Creek Falls. Turnagain Arm is a waterway into the northwestern part of the Gulf of Alaska. It is one of two narrow branches at the north end of Cook Inlet, the other being Knik Arm.
After dinner we decided to hike up the trail along side of the falls.
My journey has come to an end but there is always another one waiting for the taking.