What not to do when traveling...


What not to do when traveling...

After years dealing cards in the casino industry, I went to Asia to teach English. I did that for a number of years before I discovered time was passing. I don't want to be one of those people who looks at what others have done and wish that I had done something like that. So I stopped wishing and started doing. 2011 saw me traveling in eastern and southern Asia and the south Pacific region. Now I have embarked on a trip to see my own country, Canada. Join me...

North America » United States » Alaska » Skagway July 11th 2012

I forgot about the wind. When Walter warned me about bears in the Carcross Desert and suggested the little patch of sand between the water and the warehouse, I forgot about how windy it was that afternoon. And I had even read an information plaque somewhere about how the Tagish First Nation name for the spot translates to “always windy spot” or something like that. I was woken several times by the wind smacking the side of my tent into my face as I slept. This, of course, was the result of my having anchored the tent at each corner with tent pegs anchored in sand. Hmmm. At the first flutter of wind, they came up and were free to move about and cause slack, letting the tent walls sag enough to smack me in the ... read more
Into the White Pass
The White Pass
Skagway Harbour

North America » Canada » British Columbia » Atlin July 10th 2012

Despite setting up in the rain, I woke up to bright sunshine. The rain had stopped and the clouds had cleared through the night. The wind, however, was still high and it wasn't pleasant. I don't know about this warm north in the summer. I'm not really experiencing it that way so far. I decided pretty much immediately that I wasn't really wanting to stay in Atlin enjoying the atmosphere in this wind. So I made my plans accordingly. I set out into Atlin to walk around and see the town. It was small. I easily covered it in about an hour. At a slow pace. Stopping often to admire the lake or another view. It's a nice enough town, but there really isn't much to it. Then I found the museum, paid for my campsite ... read more
The MV Tarahne
Atlin Lake
Atlin Cemetery

North America » Canada » Yukon » Whitehorse July 9th 2012

My second morning of this visit to Whitehorse dawned clear and bright once again. It was hard to believe that they had been having a crappy spring and summer, except for the fact that it was so chilly. I haven't worn my shorts really much at all since Inuvik, where it was very nice and warm. I took my time as I had noted that things didn't really open before 9 in the morning, if not 10. I had plenty of time. I packed up my tent and other things and put them in my car and I was off towards my first desired stop, the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre. It really is a slick looking building. However, once again, it is very new, just as the centre in Haines Junction. That meant that there was ... read more
A Mini Train
The Copperbelt Mine Property

North America » Canada » Yukon » Whitehorse July 8th 2012

Apparently the weather has been terrible in Whitehorse for the past couple of years. I've been told it's been cold and rainy a lot of the time. So far, I haven't had that experience. It's been quite nice aside from the little rain shower my first night here. And it was nice again today, if a bit chilly. For all the sunlight they get around here in the summer, it hasn't really warmed this area up much. But I can deal with that. I was at the visitor centre just after they opened. I wanted to get a good start on the day, so I could visit as many of the stamp places for my Yukon Gold passport as I could today. Then I could decide whether to stay yet two more nights, or just one. ... read more
Opulent Quarters
The Log Cabin Church
Giant Short-Faced Bear

North America » Canada » Yukon » Kluane National Park July 7th 2012

After looking at the schedules for the ferry from Haines to Skagway, I found that there is only one a day, and not everyday at that, and that it is at an inconvenient time. It goes at 12:45 in the afternoon and arrives at 1:45. There seemed to me no way I was going to be able to check out Kluane National Park and Preserve, visit the local cultural centre, and be able to get down to Haines in time to catch the ferry. That was going to leave me in Haines for the rest of the day and then the next day would be spent getting to Skagway and not having the chance to do a boat trip to Juneau. So that would have to wait until the next day. That would mean three days. ... read more
A Grizzly Bear
Kathleen Lake

North America » United States » Alaska » Tok July 6th 2012

In the Tok campground, as the sun was setting late, late at night, the clouds got a funky shade of pink and orange. It was quite a sight and was great way to end my day. The next morning, I headed off to the east and back to Canada. One thing I have noticed about Alaska is that they seem to have things not quite sorted out for their highways. For instance, there are numerous scenic view turnouts that no longer have a view. I suppose it is environmentalism at play and having to leave trees be instead of cutting them down for the view, but many scenic view turnouts have no view because the trees have grown too tall and screen out the view. I understand if they have to let the trees grow, but ... read more
Canada-US Border
The Moose That Made Me Stop
The Moose That I Disturbed

North America » United States » Alaska » Denali July 5th 2012

There was still the lower visitor centre at Denali National Park that I hadn't seen yet. I headed over there after getting up and had a look. It was quite interesting with lots of displays of animals and their habitats. I am getting more and more impressed with the interpretive material put up in national parks in Canada and the US. I decided that I would stay around and watch the sled dog demonstration as well. Denali National Park is the only park in the system that has an active sled dog kennel. Indeed, it is still the case that they use sled dog teams to do the bulk of their work in the winter, from patrols in the park and preserve, to bringing in equipment for various projects and research studies. They also give demonstrations ... read more
Joe and I
Sled Dog Demonstration
The North Pole

The computer systems management for the whole process of visiting Denali National Park may be screwed up, but the actual visit to the park is quite easy. Voytek and I made our way to the transportation centre for our 9:00 shuttle bus that was to go up to the visitor centre at Eielson, some 66 miles into the park. It left a bit late, but that wasn't a problem. Our driver was JJ. He wasn't an interpreter or a ranger. He was just more or less the driver. But he knew a great deal about the park and the animals and was able to answer everyone's questions. He also clearly loved his job and being able to be out in the park everyday. One of the interesting things about the Denali National Park and Preserve is ... read more
Denali National Park
Dall Sheep
Grizzly Bear Mother

North America » United States » Alaska » Denali July 3rd 2012

The tallest peak in North America is in Alaska. In the early 20thCentury it was christened Mt. McKinley after the then president, who had never set foot in Alaska. Almost immediately the cries went up that that was a ridiculous thing to do. I don't know how the First Nations reacted to this. They didn't have a strong voice at that time, so their reaction was likely ignored. I suspect they wouldn't have been pleased. But they had a name for the mountain, too. They had a name for almost everything around, including lots that the new guys (us whities) didn't even know was there, or just listed as being there without a name. Their name for the mountain was Denali. Roughly translated to English, it comes out as “the High One” or “the Great One.” ... read more

North America » United States » Alaska » Anchorage July 2nd 2012

I selected a nice spot along the river. It was quite a good spot and nobody seemed to be particularly interested in it. There were a lot of cars passing back and forth along the road in front of the spot I had chosen. It was secluded and close to the river. But the walk to the river dredged up a bunch of mosquitoes, so I only went once and I didn't end up staying that long as a result. But the spot was quite nice and I spent a very pleasant night. Because of the long nap in the evening, I ended up sleeping not very long at all. But the deceptiveness of night and day in the north left me thinking it must be quite late. It was quite light outside. But it turned ... read more
Seward's Fjord
Grizzly Bear

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