North to Alaska
Oct 4, 2011
|What a journey! So glad we decided to take it!
We left Pagosa Springs, CO on September 6th. Dropped off good friends Barbara & Roswitha in Denver, following their ultimate sacrifice to visit us. And, officially, began our journey north on September 7th. We arrived in Anchorage, AK sixteen days and 4,100 miles later on Thursday, September 22nd.
In between we visited another good friend in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; spent a few days in Jasper National Park; and took a detour to Haines, Alaska.
We had the unbelievable luck of perfect driving weather for the entire journey (except one rainy day in Haines), no traffic or crowds (stop laughing, it gets busy in Jasper and, believe it or not, on the AlCan!), and peak foliage along the way. Surprisingly,the foliage was quite impressive with very deep, forest green spruces and shades of yellows on the hardwoods that were brilliant and spectacular. Throw in the reds of the ferns and other ground cover and the effect was stunning even for us privileged New Englanders used to our multi-colored fall extravaganzas.
Dan was in his element as "Marathon Driver", happy to cruise along and, somehow, always spotting the wildlife along the way first. I had come prepared with books to read, and travel plans to make, and accomplished nothing as I just sat, comfortably, in my passenger seat and watched the show unfold before me. Hours and hours of nothing but spectacular landscape; side roads to remote wildlife refuges; short breaks at lakes and streams for Dan to fish through the Yukon; and jaw-dropping vistas of first prairie, then the western mountains.
As you see in the pictures, wildlife was plentiful, healthy and beautiful. Watching grizzly bears, from the side of a road, gorging on salmon, was just remarkable and indescribable. And, best of all, free! Well, except for the drive of course. Sorry the pictures aren't clearer, our day in Haines was the only rainy, cloudy day we experienced.
Miraculously, the Honda Odyssey lived up to its name and delivered us without incident! We patted it each night and gave it words of encouragement each morning ... and were very, very relieved to leave it in our son's Patrick hands to sell in Anchorage!
We enjoyed an excellent visit w/Patrick in Anchorage. And, yet another drive with him (in his car, didn't want to push our luck) through the Kenai Peninsula, to Homer, Alaska. We can now say, in our first year of travels we travelled from the eastern most point in North America (St. John, Newfoundland) to its most western point, Homer, Alaska! Incredible.
I am writing this from a comfortable and quiet hostel in Nadi, Fiji and will look forward to letting you all know about island life in our next posting.
In the meantime, take good care of each other and keep me posted on "doings" of home. It helps keep the homesickness manageable!