Moving to Alaska – Day 12.

We headed into Alaska. They did not build a wall here, but they did cut down all of the trees.

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We uneventfully crossed the border and stopped at the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. That is when we realized how much empty space exists in Alaska.

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 12.04.08 PMWe stopped in Tok because we saw a purple food truck selling Thai food with a line of people in front. It was as good as we thought it would be.

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We stayed in Glenallen at the Ranch House Lodge. By now, we were completely spoiled with real beds. We also needed wifi to starting looking for places to live in Anchorage. We enjoyed homemade brownies and Craigslist.

Moving to Alaska – Day 11.

Continuing north, we drove slowly looking for wildlife. We didn’t get up early or stay on the road late. This reduced our chance for seeing the big game. We also heard that spring and fall are great times to see lots of animals. Lake Meziadin was a recommended stop and turned out to be gorgeous, but also very crowded.

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We did take a turn and head west towards Hyder Alaska. The attractions are glaciers and bears. The glaciers were impressive and very close to the road.

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Waterfalls were everywhere and the creek rapidly turned into a rain river as you drove downhill beside it. We saw many black bears on the side of the road. It made us have one person keep an eye out while the other made sandwiches out of the cooler in the back of the car.

One of the big attractions while taking this road is that past Hyder is the Fish Creek bear viewing area. We heard a few negative things about this place. The first is that you have to pay to see the (hopefully grizzly) bears. Now that just kind of feels like a zoo. Paying to see animals, even wild animals, is not something we like to do unless there is no other option or it isn’t safe otherwise. We turned around before the border and were happy to see the black bears on our own.

Back on the Cassiar Highway, we watched out for wildlife, but didn’t see any large land mammals. None. There were signs every mile telling us to look out for elk, moose, caribou, speed bumps, potholes, and other cars. The road deterioration was the only thing that we saw. And maybe a couple of other cars. Now as we got further north, it was interesting to see the towns that were just getting electricity wired to them. There were towns that were running in diesel generators to power everyone and everything still. But then again, aren’t most of being powered by big generators? Is it better to be wired into the grid? Pondering these questions, we stopped and let the dogs run through the beautiful flowers.

We passed by the fancy Bell 2 Lodge where you can stay in a brand new cabin that was made to look old for a couple hundred bucks a night. I heard that their coffee and pastries are really good. I bet anything not instant is delicious on this road. The idea of not having to cook dinner was creeping into our heads. And then it started raining. And thunderstorming. Our tent in the back of the car was still wet from last nights thunderstorm. We started to feel sorry for ourselves and booked a motel. We tried to get a cabin, but the smell of a packrat home inside  meant that we knew we would have mice running across our face in the night. We had a television, wifi, and a restaurant. Dinner was delicious that night. We stayed at the Tatogga Lake resort and highly recommend it. Here is the view if you walk down to the water from the lodge.

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Moving to Alaska – Day 10.

Breakfast at the restaurant was delicious. The decor was amazing. It was a great place to stay.

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The place was run by a guy and his three boys. One boy got a fishing hook in his thumb and had to go to the medical center to have it removed. Another boy had to drive him. The other was probably still sleeping. That left just dad to make breakfast, take orders, check guests in and out of the resort, and collect money. It was amusing to watch. The hook came out of the sons’ thumb and the resort continues to survive. Across from the resort we walked to a trail that went straight uphill.

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There was a possibility of seeing sheep, but after 2000 feet in elevation in just a few miles, we were sweaty, out of breath, and disappointed that the sheep were not around. We kept thinking that we would see lots of large land mammals, but it just wasn’t happening.

The view from the top was well worth it. the hike felt straight up and straight down.  The dogs did not seem to mind.

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We hurried down the hill (if you stop the mosquitoes carry you away) and back to the car. We drove over many creeks and passed many lakes. If this were a fishing trip, it would take months to get through British Columbia. We crossed another famous fishing river, the Stikine. Rivers like the Stikine, Babine, Kispiox, and Skeena, are famous for fisherman. It was nice to see them all, even if I was too early for steelhead fishing.

At the recommendation of the kid at the fly shop in Smithers, we stopped at Cottonwood Creek to fish. He had no idea where Cottonwood Creek was, but he said when we crossed it, there would be a sign, and we should fish there. He was correct on all accounts. We knew that we were far north as we caught our first grayling here. We had never caught grayling before so it was fun to check that species off the list.

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We arrived to our destination of Boya Lake tonight. We made a short video of us setting up camp here.

Boya Lake is a nice blue color. With all the expectations, I thought it would be more blue. Maybe because the weather wasn’t perfect, the water wasn’t quite as blue. We walked around the lake and thought it was beautiful, but we were starting to get excited to be in Anchorage.

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Moving to Alaska – Day 1.

We left Seattle on a hot summer day. It has been hot in Seattle, so this was nothing new. We have semi planned a route, but it mostly was “keep the ocean on the left” and “stop when we feel like it”. We hit the border where we declared that we had an illegal firearm. Oops. I guess you can big a large canister of bear spray into Canada, but a small pepper spray on your key chain is not allowed. We were detained, and the dogs were put in a kennel while they searched our meticulously packed car. The border patrol made sure to take things out and let us repack the car we had just packed a few hours ago. Not being deterred, we witnessed an amazing sunset and moonrise (at the same time) as we drove through Vancouver.

We arrived in Squamish around 9:30 or 10 at night. We had heard about the world famous rock climbing and hoped to camp near the crag. We arrived on a Thursday and thought that the weekend crowd from Seattle and Vancouver might not be there yet. Boy were we wrong. An international crowd of typical climbers were at the campground by the hundreds. Now I love vagabonds, gypsies, and dirtbags as much as the next climber, but arriving late, it just didn’t feel right. We left a small circle of didgeridoo players in the rearview mirror and we proceeded back to the privately run campground we had passed just a couple of kilometers before.

See ya Seattle.

Leaving the United States.

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