We Made it to Alaska!

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July 6th 2010
Published: October 22nd 2017
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Young GrizzYoung GrizzYoung Grizz

A quintessential view of the Al-Can Highway
Geo: 63.3357, -142.984

It was quite a drive through the Yukon into Alaska yesterday! We covered another 500 miles and encountered the roughest stretch of road yet, especially the last 200 miles before the border. There were frost heaves six feet high, invisible potholes that appeared just as you were crashing into them, and whole stretches of road that were missing altogether. We'd speed up and slow down, rise and fall, speed up and slow down, and rise and fall. It was like a free roller coaster that stopped being fun after twenty miles, except for the stunning scenery that somehow made it all worthwhile. Now we understand why they make bumper stickers that boast, "I survived the Al-Can!" (The best part is we get to do this stretch of road a second time when we return to Haines in a couple of weeks to catch the ferry.)

We drove through the small town of Destruction Bay that had a plywood cutout of a cop car on the side of the road; it looked so real that it made Sean slow right down! When we got up to it and saw it was just a decoy, we had a great laugh.

We also
Grizz FaceGrizz FaceGrizz Face

Look at those eyes!
picked up our first hitchhikers, a young couple from Germany who traveled to Canada to backpack through Kluane National Park. We had stopped for ice in Haines Junction (not to be confused with the port city of Haines farther south), and offered them a ride. Kaia was all too happy to share her space with new people! It was only about 50 miles to the park from Haines Jct. so we compared our experiences in Canada so far. Timo and Tina (“and these aren't just our traveling names!” he said) had had their tent ripped by a black bear in Jasper NP and were really hoping it wouldn't rain too much. When we arrived at the Kluane NP Visitors' Center to drop them off, Tina spied a skinny blonde woman walking down the ramp of the building. “See that blonde girl?” she asked. “She's one of the ones who WOULDN'T give us a ride.” We laughed as Tina scowled at her through a grin. They had been waiting for 4 ½ hours before we came along.

We saw another bear yesterday, bringing our total count to four. We think it was an immature grizzly, but I'll let you be the
Frost Heaves and FlagsFrost Heaves and FlagsFrost Heaves and Flags

Not sure any photo can really do justice to the road, but I think you get the idea...
judge from the pictures. What a thrill to make eye contact with such an icon of the wild!

Today we're headed for the Denali Highway, a very remote, 150-mile stretch of dirt road that connects the Delta Jct. to Denali NP. Most people opt for the paved northern route through Fairbanks, but apparently we are gluttons for bad roads that afford spectacular scenery. The adventure continues!

Additional photos below
Photos: 7, Displayed: 7


Alaska/Yukon Territory BorderAlaska/Yukon Territory Border
Alaska/Yukon Territory Border

At the border (quite literally!)
And if I were a cartoonAnd if I were a cartoon
And if I were a cartoon

One of those things you've just gotta do as a tourist...

6th July 2010

So far it sounds like the kind of trip that Connie and I would be enjoying too!I'm sure you have many fun adventures and experiences ahead of you. Congratulations on surviving the Alaskan Highway...I did it in 1969 when it was all gravel f
or 1500 miles...and I hitchhiked the whole way. In fact I started in San Francisco and wound up in Anchorage...5 days and 27 rides later. I know that feeling of standing at the side of the road waiting for a ride...and waiting for a ride...and waiting...All our best,Gary and Connie
6th July 2010

hey e and s, CONGRATS!!! you made it!!Nothing like alaska roads. nothing! and, from what i'm told, the alcan is much better than it used to be. hope the van is holding up to the challenge.great bear shot - very cute, in a wild sort of w
ay.good karma for picking up the hitchers. somehow it seems more appropriate there.thanks for taking the time to share - again. love, dad
6th July 2010

So fun to be included in your trip. Keep up the story and the pics. What a great adventure! Be safe - we know you "be happy"! Hugsandkisses.

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