Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Trip Home July 16 – July 21, 2016, Days 77 - 82

Cassiar Highway - British Columbia
“To the lover of the wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world” 
John Muir
“For sheer majestic geography and sublime scale, nothing beats Alaska and the Yukon”
Sam Abell

Impressions…” the things we carried”
The beauty and majesty of the Great North is bewitching.  Given sufficient time, it seeps into your pores, wraps around you, and holds your heart like a tentative lover.  The further one
Cassiar Highway - on the way home
travels from the populated enclaves, the more beautiful she becomes and the more precarious is the path on which she leads you.  Winter, I’m certain, adds yet another dimension to her beauty…and uncertainty.  Having lived in the north in years past, I recall how beguiling the beauty could be…and how dangerous.  In the lower 48, mistakes without contingencies can be an inconvenience…in the north they can be fatal.  Even so, the risks might be worth it.  Those that I’ve met living off the grid in the north, possessing incredible resourcefulness, are content with their lives and fully recognize and accept these risks.  Nature, outside forces, circumstances, all can change in an instant. 
 
Cassiar Highway...Chip rock, no lines...major link to U.S.
Andrea, Maggie, and I are aligned in our conviction that sharing this adventure together has been a highpoint in our lives.  Seemingly never cramped for space while living and traveling in our 25-foot RV for 80+ days added to this adventure.  Torrential rains, winds, sleet, with the added risk of snow posed little inconvenience as we snuggled warm and content in our little home.  Taking side trips in our dinghy (tiny 2-door Toyota Yaris) allowed us to see and do so much more than if we had been constrained to the RV alone.  For those considering such a trip, should you own your own RV, I have kept meticulous records and such a trip can be done with little or no inconvenience for less than $110 per day.  This includes, camping fees, fuel, food…the whole works.  If interested,
Iskut, British Columbia
we would gladly share this information with you.  Of the things we carried, we focused on the following:  Good RV with the bugs worked out, new tires equipped with tire pressure monitors, small RV compressor, 160-watt solar cell, up-to-date records for our dog Maggie, passports, toolkit, maps (Milepost and Traveler's Guide to Alaskan Camping were extremely useful), GPS, SPOT (pinpoints exact location for family following your trip), and a willingness to expect the unexpected.  WE CAN GUARANTEE THAT YOU WILL HAVE AN EXPERIENCE LIKE NO OTHER!!!

Alas, leaving the north…
Andrea...pretending to be bear bait
Leaving Whitehorse after servicing vehicles, washing laundry, and restocking supplies, we retraced our earlier path along the Alaska Highway until catching the Cassiar and Yellowhead Highways to Prince George.  Then it was on to Highway 97 to Cache Creek and then Highway 1 to the U.S. Border.  The Cassiar Highway was not completed until 1972 and it, from our observation, seemed more a little unlined, two-lane backroad than a highway.  Beautiful, paved with chip-rock and possessing a minimum of potholes/washboards, it was fun but slow traveling.  The area brims with wildlife but
Bear Glacier - Near Stewart, British Columbia
there are minimal amenities due to the “highway’s” relative newness.  This seems to be the route taken by those in the Lower 48 who reside on the West Coast.  It is a shorter route, compared to the Alaska Highway, and therefore popular.  It is remote!!  Our first stop was in Boya Lake Provincial Park, followed by a private campground (Mountain Shadow RV Park - Iskut, BC), and then Meziadin Lake Provincial Park that we used as a home base for a visit to Sterwart-Hyder on Highway 37A.  This side-trip abounded with resplendent natural beauty: tumbling waterfalls, glaciers, rivers, and wildlife.  Hyder, Alaska, NOT monitored by a U.S. Border crossing, is popular for its brown bear (grizzly) monitoring platforms where one can watch these bruins feeding upon the migrating
Waterfall everywhere on the road to Stewart, British Columbia
salmon from mid-July until August for a modest fee of $5.00 per person.  We were too cheap to spend the money watching bear when we have been seeing them for free all over the north country and avoiding them on trails.  Bear and moose sightings are no longer a rarity for us.

Once leaving Meziadin Lake we truly were hit with the realization that our North-Country travels were coming to an end.  The Yellowhead Highway was modern, loaded with amenities, and screamed of “you really are going home…ugh!).  Beautiful nonetheless, our stays in Beaumont Provincial Park (Bulkley-Nechako, BC) and Lac Le Hache Provincial Park (Cariboo, BC) were filled with beauty and interesting fellow-travelers.  On Highway 1 we were able to visit the Thompson River, wh
ere 20+ years ago I had one of the most harrowing and wonderful kayaking trips of my life.  In those days I was a pretty good kayaker and viewing the
Thompson brought home just how good I must have been because this was HUGE white water on a monstrous river.  At the time I remember seeing hordes of migrating salmon in the “raised” eddies, watching rafting groups tip over in their rafts, and yet being able to kayak this proficiently.  Oh, those were the days!!


In conclusion:  What a trip!!  Our advice…VISIT ALBERTA, BRITISH COLUMBIA, THE YUKON, AND ALASKA…have fun, be safe, and enjoy.
"You all come back now...and maybe I'll meet you on the trail."

4 comments:

  1. Sad to see the blog end but grateful you are back closer to family. Lots of beautiful and interesting pictures. My favorite is Andrea and Maggie on Thompson Pass. I think that is a framer!

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