Favorite Canadian Memories

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.

We saw lots of wildlife as we drove through British Columbia on the Alaska Highway before arriving in Alaska for the first time.

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.

Our journey back to the lower 48 took us along the Cassier Highway through British Columbia.

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.

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Favorite Alaska Memories

Although we left Tok, Alaska almost a month ago, our memories of Alaska will never leave us. Here, in no particular order, are a few photos of some of our favorite places and adventures.

Our favorite place was Oceanside RV Park in Haines, Alaska where we could sit and watch for whales, watch eagles fly by, and watch the ferries and cruise ships sail by.

Cocktail hour whale watching with Ted and Ruthy
Cocktail hour whale watching with Ted and Ruthy
Bald Eagle at Chilcoot Lake State Park, Haines, AK
Bald Eagle at Chilcoot Lake State Park, Haines, AK
Deadliest Catch!
Deadliest Catch!

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 went really close to Mt. McKinley
We went really close to Mt. McKinley
Loving every minute of our time on Ruth glacier
Loving every minute of our time on Ruth glacier

We loved all of the boat trips we took.

Whale Pectoral Fin on day trip to Juneau
Whale Pectoral Fin on day trip to Juneau
Stellar Sea Lions on day trip to Juneau
Stellar Sea Lions on day trip to Juneau
Seeing ice calving on Aialik Glacier on the Kenai Fjords trip from Seward
Seeing ice calving on Aialik Glacier on the Kenai Fjords trip from Seward
A pair of Orcas on Columbia Glacier tour from Valdez
A pair of Orcas on Columbia Glacier tour from Valdez
Sea Otters on Columbia Glacier tour from Valdez
Sea Otters on Columbia Glacier tour from Valdez

Driving to the Coldfoot, sixty miles north of the Artic Circle was a drive to remember.

Wandering Dawgs at the Arctic Circle
Wandering Dawgs at the Arctic Circle

Catching Halibut and watching the sunset in Ninilchik, Alaska.

Four of these fish are ours!
Four of these fish are ours!
Mount Redoubt Sunset
Mount Redoubt Sunset

Denali National Park.

Moose beside the road on the way out of the park
Moose beside the road on the way out of the park
Lukor liked it on top of his house
Lukor liked it on top of his house
Beautiful green valley at Polychrome Overlook
Beautiful green valley at Polychrome Overlook
Another group of Caribou up on a ridge
Another group of Caribou up on a ridge

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.

Traveling South through Yukon, British Columbia, and a side trip to Hyder, Alaska

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.

Sunrise at Burwash Landing
Sunrise at Burwash Landing, Yukon Territory

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.

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.

We stopped to look at Bear Glacier after we left Stewart
We stopped to look at Bear Glacier after we left Stewart

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.

Day 81: Wildlife and Glacier Cruise from Valdez

Day 81: Sunday, August 4, 2013

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.

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.

The highlight of the day was seeing a pod of Orcas with a calf.

The captain navigated through huge chunks of ice to get into Columbia Bay for a close up look at 10 mile wide Columbia Glacier.

The ride back to Valdez was just as spectacular.

Day 79: Waterfalls, glaciers and salmon in Valdez

Day 79: Friday, August 2, 2013

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.

 

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.

 

Solomon Gulch Hatchery Fish Weir
This sign explains the Solomon Gulch Hatchery Fish Weir

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.

 

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!

 

If you haven’t looked at them lately, check out the maps of our journey.