Is Alaska That Scary?
~Thursday, June 23, 2022~
Day 739 (Travel Day)
Day 3 of Alaska Trip
Darn it! Woke up to a splitting headache this morning, and I even sacrificed having a margarita last night. I guess it’s time to get hydrated! With it being a travel day, at least we didn’t have to break down in a forecasted downpour, only a slight drizzle. Our diesel fill-up today was the highest so far at $195 (Canadian). Ouch!
Everytime we look at a map, we’re just stunned at how much driving there is in the Canada portion versus what we’ll be driving in Alaska. In talking to people about our big plans for the summer, the response has generally been met with, “Wow, are you sure you want to DRIVE up there? It’s so far!!”, or the “Are you sure? It’s so remote.”, or the “Are you sure? The roads are really bad!” There’s something about the Klondike that makes people think it’s unreachable. Rather than listen to the people who have never done it, we prefer to go by those that have, especially RECENTLY. Our response would be, yes, SOME of it is remote where I don’t think “winging it” would be the best idea which is why we worked so hard on a plan. In fact, most of Alaska is only reachable by plane. To put things in perspective, Alaska is bigger than California, Montana and Texas combined, but the region that is most accessible and visited is the south central/interior portion which is more like the size of California and Montana combined. More than half of Alaska’s residents live in the south central region. It’s hard to believe we only have about a week until we cross its borders! 😝And yes, SOME of the roads are bad, but have improved tremendously in the last decade. For the most part, many are actually very well maintained. And as far as distance, it’s not as far as you think. Before our research, we thought Fairbanks would be the furthest we’d be away from home at 2,942 miles (home being Napa). But there are 2 destinations we’ve been to, that were even further……Key West at 3,223 miles, followed by Acadia National Park at 3,339 miles. With that being said, knowing what we know so far, we’re very excited for what’s about to unfold as we go “chasing the midnight sun”.
Today we drove west, leaving Alberta, headed into B.C. to West Lake Campground in Prince George. Prince George will likely be the biggest city for us until we hit Anchorage, Alaska. Along the route, we drove through the adorable town of Jasper, even passing a familiar campground we stayed at years ago. But with all the rain and cloud cover, we were unable to see much of the dramatic peaks, leaving a visual of the lower, forested areas which were equally gorgeous as they peeked in and out of sporadic clouds of mist. How appropo to pass a body of beautiful water named Moose Lake.
It was on the drive we learned a valuable lesson……before driving to the next destination……CHECK THE ITINERARY!! We worked so hard on this months ago, researching points of interest and listing them on our spreadsheet. But it’s likely that much of our journey will encompass those little gems ALONG the way, not necessarily only where we STAY. With the daylight lasting well until 10:00 p.m., if there’s something we want to see along the way, we have the option to do it. It wasn’t until we were close to approaching our campground, that I realized we were already 90 minutes away from one of those jewels………the Ancient Forest Boardwalk in the Chun T’oh Whudujut Provincial Park. This 3.7 mile loop trail gives you a close look at the unique temperate rainforest of B.C. The park protects a portion of the only inland temperate rainforest in the world. Evidently, along the scenic trail, there are thousand year-old western red cedars, mosses, and a huge variety of plants. Ugh, I could cry for missing this!! From now on, we look at our itinerary the day before a drive to make sure we don’t miss anything! Maybe we’ll catch it on our way back, though the weather will be a little dodgy then.
While at a rest stop, with its many bear warnings, we were cautious when letting Sadie out, something we’ll have to be mindful about from here on out. It was then that we saw the tool box attached to the underside of the trailer, OPEN. It would have been quite a disaster for anyone, including us, to have gotten a flat or a cracked windshield from what could have fallen out. It’s quite shocking that in our 2 hours of driving at that point, nothing fell out. Lesson learned…..check lock mechanisms more often! I think the man upstairs was telling us it was a good time to take a rest.
Upon arriving at our well-appointed campground, I was about to head into the office, when Wendy (the owner) eagerly came out to greet us and offered us several site options. Even though we had already paid for a non-service site, she offered upgrades, none of which we took. There really was no need with the decent weather, and the fact they had a water/dump station facility. We actually prefer dry camping, though it’s nice every once in a while to “reset” at a full hookup site, things like cleaning which require more water and sewer or fixing things that need electricity.
Our campsite is just lovely in its very private forested, grass setting. Sadie is quite happy with her new backyard. And let me tell you, the mosquitos are in full force which we’ll encounter at least through July. They don’t seem to like Jeff quite as much as me, so will have bug spray at the ready most of the summer. For Sadie, we use a eucalyptus spray called Cedarcide which is DEET free, though she isn’t thrilled when I apply it. And oh yes, there’ll also be the biting flies we’ll encounter in Alaska. It looks like our attire from here on out will be long sleeve shirts and long pants, until Fall.
It was our first night (finally) having the pie we purchased at Hidden Acres and came to find out it wasn’t quite what we thought we purchased. With a slight mislabeling, instead of blueberry, it was huckleberry. But we loved it all the same. How often do you get a huckleberry pie? It was absolutely delicious with its not too sweet filling, flaky crust and granola topping. Reflecting on the day, it was one filled with meeting nice people, learning valuable lessons, and eating delicious pie!