Thursday, August 23, 2018

August 23, 2018

We have been running really hard since our departure from Valdez on the 17th of August. We did some serious mileage:

Valdez to Tok

Tok to Whitehorse

Whitehorse to Watson Lake

Watson Lake to Ft. Nelson.

Ft. Nelson to Dawson Creek

Dawson Creek to Edmonton.

The roads and conditions have really deteriorated. For some reason they ripped up around 100 KM of the highway from the border to Whitehorse. The road was muddy and gravel. I thought the condition was good on the way up in May.

From Watson Lake, the smoke from the fires has been horrible. According to the AQHI Canada, conditions are 10+ Very High Health Risk. I cannot believe we cannot get through this smoke. We decided to spend an extra day in Edmonton to chill and relax a little due to the hard running. However, it is a 10+ here also.

We did see a little wildlife including 5 more bears putting the official count at 63 for this trip. The last one was literally out the front window of the RV at the Triple G Hideaway Campground.

We are going to run hard for three more days until we stop in Osseo, WI where we will stay for 4 days.

Fall is in the air. Kluane Lake.

Near Destruction Bay

 We had the Roll Call ( stapled to our board we put on our dash while camped. There was space above our 2016 Board to screw this in at Watson Lake Sign Post Forest.

 The Colorado License Plate is ours from 2014

Lots of thick smoke.

Poor Bison in the smoke.

 Bear 62 from Ft. Nelson to Dawson Creek.

 These deer near Muncho Lake could barely make it across.

 Very thick smoke.

Bear 63 across the highway from Triple G Hideaway.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

August 14, 2018

I think we scheduled too much time in Valdez. With the constant rain, I really am getting that feeling to move on. Our plan is to depart Valdez Friday morning, and quickly move through Canada to Wisconsin where we plan four days at the Stoney Creek RV Resort. After that, depending on how we feel, go home or look for something else. Having been in this RV since May 2nd, I am leaning toward going home.

Over the last week, we had one nice day with only a little rain. That day we went up to the Wrangel St. Elias National Park. We had planned to go all of the way to McCarthy, but the road was washed out at about mile 60. We drove to the other side of the Kuskulana Bridge and had lunch.

We did get good lighting for pictures of Horse Tail Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.

We also spent a few hours at the two museums documenting the 1964 earthquake. It was very interesting as I learned that Valdez was the epicenter and there really was no tsunami here. The other interesting thing was that the buildings at the original town site were actually burned down after they moved the town to the current site. I had previously thought they washed away with a tsunami.

We took a short hike out to the bay on the homestead trail. No bears, but the pink salmon are still running.

I will say that summer is short. The trees are starting to turn already, the Salmon Berries are ripe, and the fireweed is wrapping up. I am definitely ready to start moving south.

 Horsetail Falls

 Liberty Falls on Road to McCarthy

All of the rain is causing this type of road damage

Bridal Veil Falls

 If there are any Deadliest Catch fans out there, you will recognize Saga. Jake Anderson is the current Captain. The boat is much smaller than it appears in the show.
This is the Cornelia Marie from Deadliest Catch. I actually have a picture of Casey MacManus, but his back was to us as he was watching the crew unload.

Chris is showing her pictures to her new bear friend

This is a section of the Exxon Valdez Hull. Pretty thick, but not thick enough to rip apart when they ran aground.

Video of Pink Salmon running up Mineral Creek.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

August 8, 2018

Oh my gosh!! It has been raining non stop since we arrived here in Valdez. Today the 8th, it is finally letting up a little. We really have not done much hiking because of the rain, but we did fish one more day. Again, we limited ourselves to 4 fish because of the size of our smoker setup. On our way back  to camp after fishing, we discovered a large brown bear near Lowe River off of Dayville Road.

Today, the 8th we decided to go ahead and drive around in the rain looking for bears. We got lucky as we found a black sow and two cubs over by Mineral Creek, and a fat black bear near the fish hatchery.

With those five bears, the official count is at 58 this trip. A new world record!!

 Near Lowe River

 After all of the rain, the waterfall near the Hatchery is really flowing.

 Sea lion near the Hatchery

 A brown bear!!!!!

 Valdez Glacier

The lone black bear near the Hatchery

Saturday, August 4, 2018

August 4, 2018

We have wrapped up Seward and moved on to Valdez.

Our final hikes around Seward were hiking up to Grayling Lake, Marathon Mountain, and walking the waterfront downtown.

The hike up to Grayling Lake was pretty easy with most of the hike in the woods. I really thought we might see another bear, but no luck.

I need to back up a little as I have not mentioned that while on the Kenai Fjord Boat, the people we shared our table with had colds.  Well three days later we all had a cold. We have been trying to take in easy as the hike up to the Harding Ice Field really exasperated the symptoms. So all of our hikes after that were pretty easy. After several days, we thought we were ready for a harder hike, however, half way up Marathon Mountain, we decided to turn around as we all started coughing up the cold. Oh well.

Walking the waterfront was easy and educational. I had not realized that the campground the entire length was actually the old downtown before the 1964 earthquake. Interesting. However, I cannot understand why they do not install a sewer system at the campgrounds.

Our trip over to Valdez was pretty easy other than rain. We drove around halfway for the night back to Palmer then got up early to get to Valdez (Eagles Rest) around noon.

As usual, Mallory got into something and she developed some sort of sore on her left paw. It looked pretty infected. The vet in Valdez thought she might have gotten poked by something or maybe a bite.  Mallory is back on antibiotics. And keeping a sock on her paw is a real challenge as she really wants to lick the sore. What a PITA.

So once we were settle in at Eagles Rest, we decided to run over to the fish hatchery and get a few pink salmon. The rules say you can get 6 per license per day, but we did not bring any canning supplies. Pink Salmon do not freeze well. Thank goodness our freezer is filled with Silvers. Within 5 minutes we got 4 fish. Wow that was quick!!

Chris is going to cook us Salmon Patties and grill us a little for dinner. The rest she will cook in brine water. I think next time she want to bring a pressure cooker and some mason jars.

Grayling Lake

Falls up the Marathon Mountain Trail

This is near the Valdez Fish Hatchery

This is why they call them Humpies

Friday, July 27, 2018

July 27, 2018

Over the last several days, we have done quite a bit of hiking and took a tour of the Alaska Sealife Center.

We also finally met another couple that are on the website. They are from Texas staying here at Stoney Creek.

Our hikes started out at Bear Lake which had quite a bit of bear scat, but no bears. However, I can see why the bears like this area as there were quite a few salmon spawning.

We then hiked around the 1st and 2nd Lakes. It was an easy hike with nice views of the small lakes.

Our big hike was yesterday up to the Harding Ice Field. Wow that was a pretty tough hike, but well worth it. Over all it was 10 miles with over 3,000 foot vertical gain. The views were spectacular. However, we are paying for that hiking today! I really hate hiking downhill as it hurts my knees and toes.

We also were blessed with four more bears. A mom grizzly and her two older cubs, and a pretty large black bear. That puts the 2018 total bear count at 53. Woo Hoo!! I now suspect a new world record as we still have the drive down the Alcan.

1st Lake

2nd Lake

Salmon in Bear Lake

 Pano of Bear Lake

 Lunchtime view from the Harding Ice Field

 Harding Ice Field

 Emergency Shelter near top of Harding Ice Field

 Mom Griz and her two very large cubs

 The cubs see us!!

 Black Bear with Exit Glacier in the background

We had to cross a dozen snowfields like this