North Carolina to Alaska

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. 20160620_232343-1Beverly, 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.

CANADA

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.

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Watson Lake, Yukon’s Sign Post Forest

I even found a sign for my home town where I grew up.wp-1465859416032.jpeg

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.

ALASKAPARALEE AT BORDER AK

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.

Our journey….
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

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.20160622_200618-1

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.

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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.

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First view of Denali (Mt. McKinley
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View from above the parking area

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.

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Turnagain 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.

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Falls Creek Falls

Hells Gate to Prince George BC

Starting our morning in Hope where Rambo, First Blood was filmed. Hope is at the confluence of the Fraser and Coquihalla rivers and at the edge of the Fraser Canyon. Hope is also home to the Heritage Trail. We did not hike  today.
We had amazing views at Hell’s Gate, known mostly for its breathtaking gondola rides. Hell’s Gate provides a fascinating opportunity to learn about the ecosystem and history of the Fraser River. The book states that Hell’s Gate is evidence of man’s best, and worst feats of engineering. Blasting during the construction of the Canadian National Railway in 1913 resulted in a landslide that wiped out millions of salmon.
Stopped for a nap in South Cariboo at Six Mile Lake.

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We will be following the Fraser River until we reach Prince George, BC at 97/16.

Canada. British Columbia

Spent the night in Forks so Beverly could get her van fixed. Sway bar was bad and a small transmission seal leak. First motel of the trip. Took ferry from Townsend to Whidley Island by way of the Keystone Ferry Landing. Would like to go back and explore Ebeys Landing National Historic Reserve on the Island. Could not stop at Deception Pass since traffic was backed up. the crossing at Deception Pass was beautiful.

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Spent the night outside of Hope, about 50 miles over the border. Parked by a stream at the entrance to the Skagway Valley at Silver Lake. This is our first night in Canada.

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Canada. British ColumbiaTook

Spent the night in Forks so Beverly could get her van fixed. Sway bar was bad and a small transmission seal leak. First motel of the trip. Took ferry from Townsend to Whidley Island by way of the Keystone Ferry Landing. Would like to go back and explore Ebeys Landing National Historic Reserve on the Island. Could not stop at Deception Pass since traffic was backed up. the crossing at Deception Pass was beautiful.

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Spent the night outside of Hope, about 50 miles over the border. Parked by a stream at the entrance to the Skagway Valley at Silver Lake. This is our first night in Canada.

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Idaho, Oregon and Washington

We had a wonderful visit with my Boise family but needed to start working our way west for one last family visit with my sister Janeen and her family.
We continued west to Mt Ranier National Park, passing through the White Pass, with amazing views of Mt Ranier. There was still snow on the higher elevations.

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Finally caught up with Dean “Crooked Sticks” Clark in Port Angeles, WA.
Will update soon. Very limited service. Will send photos of Port Angeles, Cape Flatterly, and Hoh Rain Forest soon. Hopefully crossing into Canada today.

Idaho

Spending some down time from driving at my children’s houses. Debbie took us to Idaho City, a quaint little town tucked away in the mountains. Idaho City was a prospering town during the gold rush. Debbie’s beautiful flowers. She has such a green thumb.

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My son Patrick scheduled a massage for Beverly and I to prepare us for the next segment of our trip, ALASKA. I am so blessed to have such wonderful children.
All the way from NC our engine light was on. We had it checked when we arrived in Boise only to find out some four legged critter had chewed through the wiring for the mass air flow sensor or something like that. Hopefully we will get better gas mileage now. We only checked it once and we are getting twelve miles to the gallon. Highest gas prices so far have been in Idaho at $249 or higher and the lowest was in Wyoming at $1.98.
Will post again tonight. We have a wonderful day planned in the mountains of Idaho with the kids where they are camping for a week.
Signing off Giggles and TrapperLee

Day 1

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Whitehaven in Paducah Kentucky is now the Visiter’s Center.

Made it past St Louis on I70 and found a beautiful campsite for the night. Cuivre River State Park in Misssouri. For hours we drove by predominately agricultural landscape. What a treat to find this park in a nature lovers paradise. If time allowed we would have taken a swim in Lake Lincoln or explored some of the hiking trails. The Lincoln Hills were once covered by glaciers and glacial erratics are scattered throughout the park.

We drove a little over 500 miles on day one.

            

Countdown to Alaska

Beverly is finally moved out of her house. We have piles of stuff in the van, my car, and in my house. Today is our last day to get the van ready for travel since tomorrow is “hit the road day”. Stay tuned for the adventures by Giggles and TrapperLee.

This is officially Beverly’s home for awhile.