Gladlee of Guernsey
America 2013 Page 3 - May/June
16th - 17th May. Tyhee Lake Provincial Park. Telkwa.
For us a fairly long drive in excess of 140 miles. Even on the way here things start to improve. We see a Black Bear foraging alongside the road, we see a community of Mennonites and we see deer along the road. The Park is a little bit bigger and we find a really nice site on the lake shore. Better hiking here even finding a trail to the site of an old town, Aldermere which is no longer there - just indicators of what building was where. Apparently the town was deserted in 1915.
18th - 19th May. Meziadin Lake Park, Meziadin Junction
A long trip today of nearly 200 miles sees us truly heading north and we are now on the Stewart - Cassiar Highway in Meziadin Lake Provincial Park. We are also in amongst the snow. There is actually snow in the campground. Looking north there is a lot more!!!! The drive today is into some fairly remote country and we are seeing much more wildlife. Two Black Bears today- fortunately from the confines of the RV - and a Porcupine - unfortunately a little squished on the road. Another unfortunate is that there are no hiking trails within the park. The Park Operators advise us that the reason is that there are too many bears - both Grizzly and Black. The black are fine as they tend to run away but the grizzlies are about three times as big and more aggressive. So - looks like rest time for a couple of days.
20th May. Bear River RV Park, Stewart
A slight side trip off our route to the small town of Stewart. Was it worth it or was it worth it!!! As you can see from the photographs we had a "close encounter" with a black bear (from the safety of the RV), parked close to the end of the Bear River glacier and had totally stunning scenery all the way. Stewart also has a border across to the very southern part of Alaska at a very small town of Hyder. You can't actually go anywhere else from there except back to Stewart but in their wisdom the Canadians have a border control post (the Americans don't). So we went to Alaska today. Drove across, spent five minutes there and then drove back where we spent ten minutes at the border getting back to Canada. At least the officials were polite to us which apparently they were not to some Canadians who did the same thing. Apparently did a full search of their RV. Anyway, a really good side trip for us.
21st May. Meziadin Provincial Park
So here we are back at Meziadin after our little side trip to Stewart and Hyder. What an amazing drive. On the way back we see the Marmot pictured above, an otter crossing the road and another black bear. We came back here as it was only 500 mtrs off our route and we have a "fairly" long drive tomorrow. We have decided that over the next few days we will speed up and get into Whitehorse in the Yukon so that we can arrange a replacement windscreen for our cracked one (we'll have it fitted on our way back through as it takes a couple of weeks to order) and then get into Alaska before the July onslaught when the kids are out of school.
22nd May. Kinaskan Lake Provincial Park.
120 miles further north today. It is showing. We pass lots of still frozen lakes and creeks. We have piled up snow on both sides of the road which thankfully is still clear. Best of all is the fact we see not only four more Black Bears but a Moose on the road. Admittedly it looked a bit thin but after the winter living out there!!! Another nice park to stay in on the banks of the lake. This is very remote and the host who collected the fees was chatting about having a pack of 13 wolves in her back yard at some point during the winter months.
23rd May. Boya Lake, Provincial Park.
170 miles further north today and yes - things are still frozen. Half of Boya Lake is but the other half is amazing. The water is turquoise and crystal clear. On the way here we don't manage to see any more bears but what we do see is an Elk and three Caribou. Julie nearly talked us out of using this place. The highway is getting to be a pain in the rear end and she wanted to continue just to get off it. Very rough road now we are in the north. However, Boya Lake prevailed - thankfully. We have had to devote an additional page of photographs to cover what we saw and what happened. This includes photographs of a beaver that swam right past our site, a Grey Jay being fed by hand and two new birds for Julies list. Click HERE to take you to an additional page of photographs.
This place is just so strange. The lake is frozen solid apart from a few bits round the edges. Yet the weather is warm enough for us to have dinner sitting outdoors. Free firewood also allows us to have a nice fire to sit round. This campground is the Yukon equivalent of the Provincial Parks we have been staying in but as Yukon is a Territory and not a Province they are now Territorial Parks.
25th May. Robert Service Campground, Whitehorse
A means to an end. This is a sort of City Campground ten minutes walk from the city centre. Whitehorse is the largest town in the western Yukon at about 25,000 people but it really does feel like a small town. We managed to get some shopping done including a couple of spare bits for the RV. The very rough and bumpy road is taking its toll. Also worth noting is the fact that we are still one month away from the longest day. Here it was broad daylight at 11.30 pm and is again light by 3.30 am.
26th May. Congdon Creek Campground, Kluane Lake, Just south of Destruction Bay
So how about this guy (the one above that is). We just happened to see him crossing the road in front of us and he was good enough not to run off. A very rare sighting. Yet again we are camped on the edge of a totally frozen lake - bear in mind these lakes at 20 - 30 miles long and 2 - 3 miles wide. That's a lot of ice cubes for the rum and cokes!!! Again this is a Territorial Park - our next to last. Tomorrow sees us at Beaver Creek which is the border with Alaska and then on Tuesday we will be actually there.
27th May. Snag Junction, near Beaver Creek
Our last stop in Canada on the outbound leg anyway. Another lakeside Yukon Government site. And of course the Grey Jays are out and about as you can see from the below photo. Guess who has the biggest smile in Canada plastered all over her face??? Not in the photo but a few minutes after this shot the two baby Jays joined us screaming at their parents for food. We wondered where all the bread was going.
And here we are "ALASKA". Made it through immigration (just) and we are in the first town along the route to Fairbanks. Tok is pronounced Toke by the way. This is a private site so we have electric and water so it is a catch up on the jobs day.
29th May. Birch Lake State Recreation Area, just east of Fairbanks
On our way through to Fairbanks, this was our first State Park in Alaska. It seems like "the times they are a changing" by the looks of the above photographs. It was incredible to the the ice melting so fast. At one point in the afternoon a teenage girl was walking on the ice next to the dock. Julie in heaven of course with another new bird for the list - the Red Necked Grebe.
30th/31st May - 1st June. Savage River Campground, Denali National Park
We had actually planned to go to a State Park in Fairbanks but the simple fact that we couldn't find it saw us continue on to Denali - our ultimate destination. WOW. INCREDIBLE. AMAZING, STUNNING, BEAUTIFUL, BREATHTAKING. Ok so that gets rid of all the superlatives in one go. This really is a spectacular (one I missed earlier) place. On our first full day we take the shuttle bus up to the Savage River for a gentle 2 mile hike up one side and down the other. Mount McKinley is visible from various places - mainly due to the fact that it is the highest mountain in North America at just over 20,000 ft. Our second day we really get into the park. There is a Park Road that you can only drive so far up (15 miles), if you want to go further you have to take a Park Bus. Well worth it. We went as far as possible right now which was 66 miles up to the Eielson Centre. So much wildlife and so many views that are just impossible to describe here. Please don't miss the extra page of photographs by clicking on the "HERE" just below these photos.
Here's our wildlife summary for Denali:- Grizzly Bears, Moose, Caribou, Arctic Ground Squirrel, Red Fox, Porcupine, Willow Ptarmigan, Spruce Grouse, Northern Wheatear, American Tree Sparrow, Golden Eagle, Northern Harrier, Spotted Sandpiper, White Crowned Sparrow, American Robin.
For more photos please click HERE
2nd June. Riley Campground, Denali NP
An overnight here at the park entrance so that we can walk to some shops to buy T-shirts etc. Weather having been pretty good up to now deteriorates somewhat and is windy and overcast. Out on an evening walk and Julie gets a new sighting with the Spruce Grouse.
3rd June. Willow Creek SRS
So here we are at Willow Creek. We shouldn't be but for the second time we completely missed the park we were heading for which should have been Denali State Park - not the National but the State Park. Drove by it without realizing it. Anyway, Willow Creek turns out to be nice and quiet, simple but with a nice short walk along the Sulitna River. It also turns out rather good for Julie who gets another new sighting with the Redpoll as pictured above.
4th June. Bird Creek, Chugach State Park
We have passed through Anchorage just stopping long enough to go to the Walmart for a few necessities such as beer and .....can't think what else. Bird Creek is one of three in the Chugach State Park but the real campground is closed for repairs so we are in the overflow car park. Not to worry - Julie gets yet another new bird as pictured above.