Vernon flew up to Anchorage on July 10th. We saw
a lot of sights, including the Portage Glacier:
We camped at the end of Swanson River road on the Kenai
While driving back from camping, we saw a lynx cross the
road a couple of hundred feet in front of us! We thought it was a
mountain lion, but after talking to a ranger and finding a photo of a lynx
in its summer fur (they get a lot skinnier), we were convinced it was a
lynx. We took a picture of its pawprints by the side of the road
(with Alison's hand for scale):
We stopped at Tern Lake, a good viewing spot for seeing
Dall Sheep in the mountains around it - but we didn't see any sheep.
On the way north to Healy and Denali National Park, we camped again, this time at Denali View Campsite. While we were setting up the tent, a grizzly bear walked between our campsite and the car. We didn't see it, but as we went back to the car to get our last camping items, we noticed the "camp host" had posted a BEAR WARNING sign. Nevertheless, we slept well, and in the morning went on our way to Healy.
We spent a couple of days in Healy, including going on
a rafting trip on the Nenana river. You have to wear a full-body
"drysuit", because the water is only slightly above freezing (about 36
degrees when we were there). We then drove up to Fairbanks and took
the "Riverboat Discovery" tour on the Tanana and Chena rivers. This
tour includes a lot of information about Native Alaskan culture, and the
boat stops at Susan Butcher's dog training area, and she actually comes
out and talks to the tourists for a while. One of the things she
uses to train dogs in pulling things is a kind of dog carousel:
We also saw many interpretive panels in Alaska. One of them described
how the first ascent of Denali (Mt. McKinley) was "FUELED BY DONUTS":
The next day, we started our drive back to Sunnyvale.
The first day, we stopped in Delta Junction, then the next day we started
on our first long day of driving. On the way down, we stopped for
a short break at another wonderful lake in Alaska, and Alison went wading.
Notice the float planes in the background:
After the brief stop, we continued into the Yukon Territory,
which was possibly the most beautiful part of the trip. We saw
a black bear (he didn't wait to be photographed), and stopped a couple of times to enjoy the scenery:
That night we got to Haines, AK, after crossing back into the U.S. There we caught the ferry to Prince Rupert. The ferry left at 6:30am (later than scheduled), and it was a 36 hour trip from there to our final stop. Along the way we enjoyed great views from the boat:
We arrived in Prince Rupert Monday night, and drove through
British Columbia to Spokane, which included one day that consisted of 18.5
hours of driving. We visited with Alison's pseudo-stepmother
Kaye in Hayden Lake, Idaho, then drove back down to Salem, Oregon.
We spent Thursday night in Ashland, Oregon, visiting Alison's sister Anna,
brother-in-law Steve, and their daughter Shoshana. Then Friday we
coasted into Sunnyvale!
All photos copyright 1999 Vernon Lee, Alison Anne Barsley.