|Saturday, August 6
We have arrived!!! Safe and sound, we made it to Alaska! We are in Tok, Alaska, 5703 miles from Danville, New Hampshire, including some side trips of course.
Our day began at Pine Lake Campground in the Yukon, which was a very, very nice campground. Situated on Pine Lake, as you might guess - with a view of the Elias Mountains. Some "Third Nation" (Inuit) people were at the campground, serving breakfast to anyone who chose to eat with them. They served eggs, cooked in a large iron fry pan, over a wood stove, bacon, home fries, sausage, toast and coffee, in a covered pavilion. In the afternoon they were having activities, including "stick gambling".
Then began our 295 mile journey to the Alaska border, which we thought we would accomplish fairly easily and quickly. However, it took us about 6 hours! The road was terribly rough, due to frost heaves, and unfinished construction. We were delayed by current construction as well.
Stopping at a wildlife viewing area, we were able to watch Dall Sheep on Sheep Mountain with our binoculars and a spotting scope set up by the Yukon Parks employees. The sheep were right at the very top ridge of the mountain, and without the scope or a quality pair of binoculars, we wouldn't have been able to see them. What a surprise we had when we were leaving. A young man came up to me and said, "Aren't you Brett Seastedt's aunt?" Well, he was Weston Forsblad! We had a nice chat with him. He and a few others were on their way east to a town in British Columbia, to participate in a marathon. He has been in Alaska for a few months, doing a semester at the Univ. of Alaska, and is working for the state of Alaska this summer in their Fish and Game Dept. He will be leaving for home in Danville, NH in 2 weeks, to begin his senior year at Keene State. He has been in the environmental science program there. He took our photo as we did his. He wanted to show his folks that he met someone he knew in the Yukon.
The ride became prettier as we went west. The mountains were higher, covered with snow at the top, and the peaks were very jagged. There were clouds covering the summits, and a beautiful rainbow appeared as the sun came out from the clouds. We saw Trumpeter Swans swimming in a river, and a beaver in "Beaver Creek".
AT LAST we passed the Canadian border control, and in 15 miles, finally the Port Alcan U.S. Customs and Border Protection Station. We stood in front of the "Welcome to Alaska" sign happily, having our photos taken by some motorcyclists who were there for the same reason. We have been very surprised to see quite a few motorcyclists and even some bicyclists!
Our first stop in Alaska was the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge. Ed was hoping to visit with the staff at the office, but due to the time of day, he had to forgo this. The visitors' center is a log building with an adjacent log meat cache building of the kind used in Alaska to keep food from the bears.
Another 70 miles and we arrived in Tok, Alaska, where we are camping for the night. We chose a campground where we could do laundry and send email. I will attempt to sign on to the wireless internet here and update the travel journal. Goodnight all.