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BC, Yukon, Alaska Road Trip – Photo Journal

May 14, 2009

(There are about 200 pictures in the gallery attached to this post)

In the fall of 2007, my friend Terry and I took a two week road trip from the lower BC mainland north to Williams Lake, Prince George, Chetwynd and Dawson Creek in Eastern British Columbia, where we caught the Alaska Highway.   Then north and west through Fort Nelson and into and through the Northern Rockies where we encountered caribou, bison and black bears, then to Watson Lake and the Signpost Forest and then Whitehorse, Yukon.

IMGP0279Along the way, we made a stop at Liard Hot Springs where we found a short hike along a boardwalk through the swampy woods to a small paradise, with changing rooms and all.  Later in the day, we made a stop at a great river side and pulled out the grill to cook up some chops for lunch.

From there, we went west to Haines Junction, then through Kluane National Park Reserve and north to Alaska and stopped in Tok for food at the famous Fast Eddy’s.  We then headed west and north to Delta Junction where the Alaska Highway ends; we felt quite the accomplishment having traveled the 1,398 miles since the beginning of the highway in Dawson Creek, BC.  To Fairbanks and then south to Denali National Park where we spent a couple of days.

IMGP0588An adventurous and spectacular drive east across the Denali Highway (135 miles, 22 of which were paved) was next.  It’s a brutal drive but well worth it if your car can take a beating.  There are times when you truly feel on top of the world.  At one point, I stood on the road and turned 360 degrees around and counted seven different storm systems in the distance.  Different mountain ranges and glaciers in the distance leave you in awe of how big an expanse you can get in an eyeful.

IMGP0780We headed north to Tok and from there, north on the Taylor Highway which turns into the Top of the World Highway.  We made a stop in Chicken, AK and then on to a very remote border crossing back into Yukon and to the gold town of Dawson City.  We started heading north on the Dempster Highway to the arctic circle but this unpaved road left me feeling very apprehensive.   The road is full of shale and I couldn’t help but think my tires would never survive and although it would make for an awesome story later, the last thing I wanted was to be stranded in the arctic.  That does sound pretty cool though.   “Oh hey, this one time, when I was stranded in the arctic…”  Anyway.

So, we turned around and started heading for home, back through Whitehorse and into BC again.  But the adventure wasn’t over, we checked road conditions for an alternate route home, the Cassiar Highway and decided to take a chance.  It turned out to be one of the most scenic roads yet.  Most was paved but we encountered over a hundred miles or so of gravel road.  Three or four places were washed out and work crews hastily constructed somewhat precarious detours while they worked on the main road.

PICT1035On a hunch, we took an exit for Stewart BC and saw Bear Glacier at the road side on the way and discovered a quaint little town.  We drove through Stewart and right into Hyder Alaska, no border stop or anything.  This is the only place you can drive into southeast Alaska.  It’s less than 100 miles to Kethikan as the crow flies, but alas, you can’t drive to Ketchikan.

Hyder looked liked something out of the 19th century, they call it the friendliest ghost town in Alaska.  Driving though Hyder and into the wilderness and up the mountains, we stopped at Fish Creek where salmon spawn and bears feed.  Then on up the mountains, back into BC, no border stop again, and up to Salmon Glacier, the 5th largest in North America.  It’s only 26 miles from Hyder, but it took almost three hours to get there.  What a spectacular site though.  Stewart and Hyder actually turned out to be the highlight of the trip.  Who knew?

IMGP1154After a stop for seafood lunch in a school bus and being chased by a grizzly, we decided to drop our visit to Prince Rupert and we drove the final leg home, stopping for the night in Williams Lake, BC, back through Prince George and south to Chilliwack; back in the world.  An awesome trip it was.

Some of the below pictures were taken by Terry, not sure which ones though.


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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 15, 2009 10:35 pm

    Maggie,
    this is such an exquisite travel story, it should be published in a large daily, if not in the National Geographic itself! Thanks for sharing the exquisite pictures taken by Terry, they are truly a joy to look at. I wouldn’t know how to select favorites: the images of Liard Hot Springs are smile-inducing, the houses in Dawson City look like taken out of a movie scene.
    Thank you so much for going through all that work of writing about your experience and uploading all those beautiful pictures!
    I greet you with a cup of morning tea from faraway Vienna!

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