We are heading to Alaska, “The Last Frontier”!
Celia and I are making our way north through Utah, Idaho, and Montana to find the road to Alaska.
View from our camper in Provo, UT.
In Montana, we will cross the border into Canada. Our plan is to spend the summer in various areas of the 49th state. We are very excited about this new adventure, especially since we can do it at our own pace and not rush back to the lower 48. This is something we have discussed for some time and hoped to do. We have become friends this year with two camping couples that have recently made this trip and encouraged us to “go for it.” They shared itineraries, photos, places to see and stay, but most importantly encouragement.
Everyone has an opinion about the condition of the roads as you travel to Alaska. While some have a sad story about a friend who had issues, the majority say “nonsense”, just take your time. Those blogging who travel this way, say the roads are paved and good to go. There is the inevitable road construction and repair since there is such a short season to perform such work. Here again the advice is to slow down.
We have both been to Banff and Calgary so we are by-passing these towns, especially the heavy traffic in Calgary. We decided to travel on the west side of the Rockies and cross over to Jasper, Alberta. We will be spending multiple days in the Jasper/Icefields Parkway area before travelling to the beginning of the Alaska Highway.
Dawson Creek is “mile zero” for the “ALCAN” Highway. The Alaska Highway was built during WWII in a herculean effort to connect Alaska with the lower 48. The 1,700 mile road was open to the public in 1948. Because of improvements, it is now less than 1,400 miles long. We decided to snag reservations for Dawson Creek during the Victoria Day holiday weekend in Canada, especially since we could not book any camping sites for that same weekend in Jasper.
Upon entering into Alaska after travelling through the Yukon, the first crossroads town is Tok. Everyone going to and from Alaska via the highway must travel through this town. We are planning to continue north to Fairbanks and then go south to Denali National Park. After a few days there, we are heading past Anchorage to the Kenai Peninsula. That area seems to generate the most positive reviews and is a “can’t miss”. Peninsula area towns such as Kenai, Soldotna, Homer, Seward, and Valdez are on our “must see” list. We hope to spend as much time there as possible. We plan to return south via Haines/Swagway, the Cassiar Highway, entering Washington state at Bellingham by September.
Of course, the full timer’s catch phrase for “plans” is that they are written in “Jello”. The majority of the planning recommendations we have received is “don’t” make reservations, except for in Denali National Park. Alaska seems sparsely populated until you reach this park – think Yosemite, Yellowstone, or Zion in season.
Wish us luck as we piddle around in the north.
The view from a cloudy Interstate 15 north of the Idaho/Montana border today.