So after nearly a month of travelling we decided it was time to start our trip south – by heading further north! Leaving Homer, we breezed through Anchorage again – mostly because the museum we intended to visit was closed. We’ll do some ‘culture’ another day???
On to Talkeetna, a small, pretty town close to Denali NP mostly frequented by those wishing to climb the mountain. For us it was perfect for laundry doing and beer tasting on a grey day. Denali NP is 6 million acres and the 3rd largest park in the USA, home to the highest mountain, Denali, 20,000+ feet. (formerly known as Mt McKinley).
As a wilderness experience it takes some beating, it goes on forever. The wildlife viewing was amazing – though it required 8 hours on a bus as no private vehicles are allowed beyond mile 15 of a 96 mile road. (Rach cried wolf, she meant it – we saw one!) Grizzlies, Elk, Caribou, Moose and Dahl sheep. Denali itself was only semi elusive, apparently 70% of people who come to the park don’t get to see the mountain because of cloud cover – we must have been lucky to see 70% of the mountain with bits of cloud!
Having finally reached our most northerly destination of Fairbanks we have finally begun to head south, via some quirky little towns; North Pole, home to Santa during his quiet season, Chicken, population 6 in winter, 30 in summer and Nugget City . Although everywhere, no matter how small, seems to be referred to as a city!
Having reached the end of the Alaska Highway at Delta Junction to head back to Canada we veered off to take the ‘Top of the World’ Highway – an unpaved road that runs for the best part of 200km through utter wilderness. Only one town en route (Chicken) and a few hardy gold miners still searching but otherwise nothing but trees, hills and blue sky as far as you could see… which at one point was through to a perfectly clear view of Denali a few hundred km away! Oh, and the road is not a lot paved… yay for our tires!
As I write we are sitting overlooking the Laird River in the sun, wishing we had not run out of beer 500km ago! We are now back across the border in British Columbia on the Alaska Highway, next stops Dawson Creek and onwards to Jasper and Banff.
Saw our first bison today, and 3 more black bears. Canadian wildlife is much more sociable than American – I blame Trump.