I recently posted our Favorite Alaska Memories so now it is time to post our favorite memories of traveling through Alberta, British Columbia, and the Yukon Territory. We spent 23 nights in Canada and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, abundant wildlife, and friendly Canadian people.
We started our travels in Canada by spending almost a week in Alberta in Banff National Park and Jasper National Park.
Elk by the side of the road in Banff National Park
Elk on the Bow Valley Parkway
Peyto Lake is a much deeper turquoise than the other lakes along the parkway
Elk near our campsite in Jasper
We saw lots of wildlife as we drove through British Columbia on the Alaska Highway before arriving in Alaska for the first time.
Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway! in Dawson Creek, BC
Stone Sheep on the Alaska Highway
Caribou on the Alaska Highway
Moose on the Alaska Highway
Bison herd with calves near Liard River Hotsprings
After a week in Alaska we drove through Canada to Dawson City, Yukon and across the Top of the World Highway before returning to Alaska.
Black Bear beside the road in British Columbia
Panning for gold in Dawson City, Yukon
View on the Top of the World Highway
Our journey back to the lower 48 took us along the Cassier Highway through British Columbia.
Sunrise at Burwash Landing, Yukon Territory
Salmon Glacier in British Columbia about 17 miles past Hyder, Alaska
Bear Glacier near Stewart, BC
For a map of our entire journey be sure to check out Our Route. And for a list of all the campgrounds where we stayed check out our Campground List.
The most exciting and most memorable experience of the entire trip was the South Face McKinley flight-seeing tour and landing on Ruth Glacier with Talkeetna Air Taxi.
We loved all of the boat trips we took.
Driving to the Coldfoot, sixty miles north of the Artic Circle was a drive to remember.
Catching Halibut and watching the sunset in Ninilchik, Alaska.
Denali National Park.
Driving the Top of the World Highway, panning for gold, going for a train ride on the Alaska Railroad, watching for wildlife on the side of the road, seeing the Fireweed blooming everywhere, seeing glaciers off in the distance and up close are all highlights of the trip we will never forget.
Every day was memorable, every day was special, every day we saw something spectacular.
Today is Day 90 of our great adventure, Tuesday, August 13, 2013. It’s been a week since my last post from Tok, Alaska.
Our journey from Tok to the Yukon border on the Alaska Highway was uneventful. When we stopped at the border crossing in the Yukon we handed the border agent our passports and his first question was “Are you heading home to Georgia?” He had not even opened our passports but he knew we were from Georgia when he saw our Georgia G license plate on the front of the truck! He is a fan of American college football and he and Henry talked football for a minute. Of course he asked the required questions and we were on our way.
As soon as we got past customs the road was terrible. We waited for a pilot car to take us several miles through a construction zone and the rest of the way was full of potholes and frost heaves. It took almost four hours to travel the less than hundred miles from Beaver Creek to Burwash Landing, our stop for the night. Our campsite was right on the lake and Blondie even got to go swimming. I woke up in time to take some sunrise pictures before we continued on down the road.
We enjoyed watching a Bald Eagle in our campground in Teslin, Yukon Territory before we turned south onto the Cassiar Highway into British Columbia. Although the Cassiar is paved, it is narrow, winding, and full of pot holes and frost heaves. The first part of the road had no lines painted on it and no shoulders. The going was slow but beautiful. Our one wildlife sighting was a red fox on the side of the road.
After a restful night in Dease Lake, BC our next stop was Stewart, BC and Hyder, Alaska. To reach Stewart and Hyder we turned off of the Cassiar Highway onto the Glacier Highway for the forty mile drive down to Stewart and Hyder. It was one of the most beautiful drives we have been on and we saw two bears along the road.
After setting up camp in Stewart, we drove the three miles into Hyder, Alaska. We drove through town where there are a few stores, most of them closed, a hotel, bar and restaurant, an RV park, and some houses. Just on the other side of Hyder we were in the Tongass National Forest where there is a nice bear viewing platform on Fish Creek. The salmon are running through the creek to spawn and bears are frequently seen going after the fish. As soon as we got there we saw a black bear in the creek.
Salmon in Fish Creek
Black Bear fishing for salmon in Hyder, Alaska
The next morning we went to the creek early to watch for bears at Fish Creek. We missed three grizzlies and a black bear that were there earlier. The most excitement we had was watching a wolf go after fish. After about two hours we decided to take the 17 mile drive on a gravel road to see Salmon Glacier. We reached an overlook where we looked down for a spectacular view of the glacier. After stopping again at the bear viewing platform with no sign of a bear we returned to the campground to get ready for the rest of our trip.
Wolf going after salmon in Fish Creek
Salmon Glacier in British Columbia about 17 miles past Hyder, Alaska
Early the next morning we were on the road again. We stopped at an overlook on the way out of Stewart for a close look at Bear Glacier.
We turned off of the Cassiar Highway onto the Yellowhead Highway. The road is good and we traveled through several towns before stopping in Houston for the night. We went out to a pizza restaurant for dinner and called it a day.
The going is slow on most of the roads we have been on since we first got to Alberta in June. We have been averaging about 45 miles an hour most days so the going is slow. It’s even slower on some of the mountain roads.
We are on roads now where we will be able to make some time. If all goes as planned we will be in Washington state on Thursday.
The day was overcast with a chance of rain but it was our last opportunity to take a cruise so off we went on the Glacier Spirit with Stan Stephens Cruises. The boat had a nice, warm comfortable cabin and plenty of viewing areas outside. We left the Valdez Harbor about noon for our 6 hour cruise.
We went out on the Glacier Spirit
One of the crab boats from “Deadliest Catch” tv show
A boat heading out of the harbor
Foggy day for a boat ride
The scenery was breathtaking and there was plenty of wildlife. As we cruised close to shore we saw too many eagles to keep count. A pod of Dall Porpoise bow surfed for a while. They’re too fast to get a picture but beautiful to watch.
Sea Otters on Columbia Glacier tour from Valdez
We stopped to watch the sea otters on our way out into the bay
We spotted this pair of Bald Eagles as we cruised by on a wildlife and glacier cruise from Valdez
Henry enjoying the view from the bow of the boat
Hundreds of juvenile Stellar Sea Lions
Puffins on the Columbia Glacier Cruise from Valdez
The highlight of the day was seeing a pod of Orcas with a calf.
Pod of Orcas with calf
We finally saw Orcas!
A pair of Orcas on Columbia Glacier tour from Valdez
The captain navigated through huge chunks of ice to get into Columbia Bay for a close up look at 10 mile wide Columbia Glacier.
Chunk of ice from the Columbia Glacier
The Columbia Bay was full of ice as we approached the Columbia Glacier
We were about two miles from the Columbia Glacier when I took this photo
This piece of ice from the glacier is big enough to be called an iceberg
A small sailboat sails around the ice
A chunk of ice from the glacier
The ride back to Valdez was just as spectacular.
We saw waterfalls as we went by
An oil tanker leaving Valdez
A couple of the small rocky islands we passed
Do you see the profile of a face on the right side of the rock?
This waterfall looks like it is coming out of the clouds
I love Valdez. It is a quaint fishing village with about 4500 year round residents. It is not too commercial or touristy and everything here revolves around the water. The harbor is surrounded by mountains and is the northern most harbor in Alaska that doesn’t freeze in the winter. The Alaska pipeline ends in Valdez.
Valdez is all about the fishing
View of the bay across from the campground
The sign says it all
Boardwalk next to the harbor
Really nice fish cleaning tables
Looking into the bay from the small boat harbor
A barge going out into the bay
Love the old wooden boat
Wooden boat at the Valdez Museum
Valdez Small boat harbor
On our drive into Valdez we descended a long steep grade on the highway past several glaciers and waterfalls without stopping so we took a drive back up the highway to do a little exploring in Keystone Canyon and at Worthington Glacier.
Horsetail Falls waterfall in Keystone Canyon
Bridal Veil Falls in Keystone Canyon
Bridal Veil Falls is next to another smaller waterfall
This old railroad tunnel was never finished when a feud interrupted progress and a gun battle took place
Near Thompson Pass on the road to Valdez
Beautiful green valley on the road to Valdez
Up close at the Worthington Glacier. With a state recreation area parking area and paved trail to an overlook, this is Alaska’s most accessible glacier.
The lake at Worthington Glacier
Henry and Blondie at Worthington Glacier
On the way back into town we took a drive to the other side of the bay to stop by the fish weir next to the hatchery to see if the salmon were spawning. There were fisherman on the banks catching salmon. At the fish weir by the hatchery the water was filled with thousands of fish.
Fishing for salmon across the bay from Valdez
Kids trying to touch the salmon as they swim upstream to spawn. You can see fins sticking up in the water.
Thousands of salmon in the water
The Fish Weir
Fish Weir at the Solomon Gulch Fish Hatchery
We arrived in Valdez during their Gold Rush Days celebration. The Klondike Gold Rush is an important part of Valdez history and the residents celebrate for several days with events for adults and kids. Friday night was the Wine Walk and start of a street fair. The ladies were all decked out in the 1890’s outfits having way too much fun!
Valdez Gold Rush Days
Gold Rush Days in Valdez during the Friday night Wine Walk around town.