Not to copy from armyRN, but with the help of my motorhome, the YJ is making the expedition North. I won't be driving mine the whole way thank god, it's just for day trips and maybe a couple overnighters away from the rv.
The summary. I live in Missouri. I will be driving the entire journey through the US and into Canada, and eventually a loop through Alaska and back through Canada and home.
In retrospect or just in general here are a few tips for anyone doing this:
Food: The further north you get the more expensive things get. Just in general everything regardless is higher priced in Alaska. For example grade A large eggs in Valdez were like $5.00 a dozen. Here they are $1.80. Take as much stuff as you can. I had an advantage of having a good sized refrigerator and freezer and only one person. I brought frozen meat home I took so much. I had to buy very few groceries. The main thing I bought along the route was lettuce where available. I buy chopped and bagged romaine lettuce, it ran about $3.00/bag. If you have room for canned goods take plenty as well. No sense in spending 2x as much unless you don't have room or can't bear the weight. I did not ever eat out in the 53 days I was gone. Partially to save money and partially just because I like to cook for myself. I cannot attest to the prices of commercial dining, though I did notice a cheeseburger somewhere for $12 and a halibut dinner somewhere else for $30. Those may be on the high end of examples, I'm not sure, but be prepared to spend if you eat out.
Fuel: It was the majority of my expense. I haven't refueled the RV since I got back, so I don't have that calculated in yet, but on average for the whole trip I paid $4.55/gallon. I paid as little as $3.059 in Sioux City, IA on my way up and as much as $5.901 in Dease Lake, BC on my way back. If you have a large enough tank you can use a little strategy and maybe only do a partial fill at a high price area if you know that will get you to a cheaper area. I ran all my fuel through on a plastic card. I never paid cash for it. Be sure to read "Foreign Currency" on below.
Camping: There are tons of places to camp, and you see everything from people with nothing but backpacks and tents, to the big motorhomes and giant fifth wheel trailers. I don't care what you have you can make this trip. Every thing has it's trade offs, but you can do it. I think I paid to camp 17 nights out of the 52 nights I camped. I might have missed writing a night or two down, but it couldn't be much. From my notes I spent $255 on camping fees. Most of these are $10-$15/night campgrounds. I did end up spending two nights in Valdez toward the end of the trip at $30/night with electric hookups, but other than that it was boon docking. For me that doesn't really mean I was without modern conveniences though as I have a 4 panel solar array on the roof and 4 very large batteries that provide ac power through an inverter as well as dc power of course. I do also have an integrated generator which I put about 5 hours on over the course of the trip, which I think is minimal considering I have an electric oven that is a pretty hefty consumer of electricity when I use it. How did I spend so little on camping and avoid paying for so many nights? You're probably thinking I just didn't pay. I always paid camping fees when applicable. To not is theft and just plain bad karma. If you read my log you'll see on my way up and back I stayed at Wal-mart often as I was just passing through. Also there are free campgrounds out there, often unmaintained and probably no water, but maybe an outhouse. Then there are just plenty of places you can camp there. In my opinion if it doesn't say you can't camp, then you can. Just make sure you're not trespassing on private property or blocking a drive or road or anything. I never got run off or told I couldn't stay anywhere I did. Also a key to success in free camping, even if perhaps you're not technically suppose to be there is to be low key. If you're not causing a scene or being a nuisance you're likely to have no issue, in my experience. Just in case you don't know you're not permitted to haul firewood into Canada. They will confiscate it.
Foreign currency: Credit cards; Be aware of the credit card companies exchange rates and fees for Canadian purchases in advance. I was and knew that my PayPal debit card has a good exchange rate based roughly on what the currency is trading at the time, plus no extra fees. In checking of some of my transactions on the way up I was actually benefiting as the rate was 101.5% give or take, but I was getting charged less in USD than the receipt was for in CAD. On the way back the value of the US dollar had dropped some and I was seeing a 98.5% rate give or take. Also,some issuers charge like a 3% fee on the entire foreign transaction, which would really add up. Also you might get a reward for using your card. My PayPal debit card earns a flat 1.5% on every dollar spent, credited monthly automatically.
Cash:You will probably need at least some Canadian cash. Government campgrounds in Canada, in every case I encountered, needed to be paid for in cash. I'm sure some private RV parks take plastic, but the self-registration campgrounds won't. The government camps ran like $16 in BC and $12 in YT (with free wood to boot, in YT only). On top of that I paid for small things in cash on occasion, like an item or two at Walmart or an ice cream bar at a gas station. It's just handy sometimes even when not necessary. I don't have my receipt handy, but when I do I'll verify this, but I exchanged about $300 IIRC in Saskatchewan at Moose Jaw. I got a good exchange rate of 99.24% , plus a $3.00 fee because I wasn't a customer. I was happy with this. I think you'll get much lower (worse) exchange rate typically at one of those currency exchange places, but I didn't even check their rates. You can also get cash from ATMs with debit, but be aware of the fees you might be charged, both from the ATM and your bank. I came home with $79. I meant to spend it at my last fuel stop, but forgot. So you can see somewhere along the way I spent about $200 in Canadian cash on various things. $76 of which I can account for in camping fees. The other to various things like museum fees, small grocery items, a and a few drinks. I can also account for about $50 to Yukon Brewing in Whitehorse. They do a tour by the way, which is $5.00, but ends up costing you more, haha. Not to deviate from the subject, but I was surprised how small their facility is.
Generally preparedness: I am the type generally to be over-prepared. I wouldn't call myself a prepper necessarily, but I like to go into things with my *** covered. This is true wilderness country; you really are going to be hundreds of miles from nowhere at times. Realize that. Be prepared to improvise and deal with things. There is not going to be a magic line you cross into no-mans-land where a guy stands and makes sure you have everything you might need. Many people are so use to a nanny state where someone is there to tell them what they need, make sure they have it, force them to get it if they don't, and save their *** later when they didn't. I'm sure I don't have to tell folks on this board, but make sure you have some basic tools and supplies in case you do get stranded, including food and survival gear. If you go to real remote areas off the main roads it may be days before someone finds you. If you are in BFE stranded there is a great probability you're not going to call anyone on a cell phone for help. I would not recommend going without a spare tire, though luckily I never needed one. In fact I took two spare tires for the RV. Make sure you actually have the tools you need to change a tire if necessary. Make sure you can get the lug nuts loose. For pete sakes make sure the spare tire is the same size as the other tires. Also basic things like duct tape, zip ties, and para-cord can help a lot of minor problems in a pinch.
Firearms: When I inquired to some people about the process for taking firearms the response I often got was "it's not worth the hassle". I don't care what they think. A week or so after I left Denali [National Park] they had the first fatal bear attack in Park history. Now I don't know all the circumstances or if they even know, but I do know the guy apparently had a camera in his hand instead of a gun. Now the guy might have been too close or provoked the bear, but even if you do what you're suppose to you just never know. People might be convinced bear spray would do the trick, but I'll pass. On that note you should be aware that in Canada pepper spray (OC Spray) is a weapon. It will not be permitted through customs. Now Bear spray might be if clearly labeled as that, up to the agent's discretion. Only 1% spray is allowed for bears in Canada. Obviously this may not matter if you're not driving through Canada, but I was. Of course you can buy spray in Canada or Alaska. I was under the impression that if spray is bought in Canada it will be clear what it is and it should have no issues with customs. The guy attacked was a hiker or a backpacker is my understanding. I took a shotgun, because it can travel through Canada, but I had no intentions of carry that around as I had plenty of other things to pack around. If you want to take a long gun into Canada you need a form RCMP 5589 in triplicate and a pay $25 Canadian at the customs office when you enter (they take plastic). You can pre-fill the form to expedite it, but do not sign it in advance. Make sure what you are taking is permitted, but long guns are not too tricky (no "high capacity" stuff). Check their website, don't take my brief overview as the complete details. I like to hike, so I shipped a 44mag 3" revolver to myself in Alaska. A bit of a pain and it does cost to get stuff shipped. I think overall it cost me around $150 by the time it went both ways and any fees incurred. I concede my life isn't as valuable as some peoples, but it's worth that to me. In my opinion it's the perfect gun because its powerful, light enough to carry day in and day out without excess burden, and easily concealable for a 44mag.
Resources: I took three books (AMAZON). Must have is the "Milepost". Around $20 If you're not familiar this is put out every year and has virtually everything along the road systems logged including every trash can. The amount of information in here can be overwhelming at times actually. It is almost 800 pages.
A book I consider optional, but was valuable to me is "Backroads of Alaska & the Yukon" For $10 I figure I got that out of it. From the title you might expect it to be just a book about literally back roads, or trails even. It is really not that at all. It covers all the major roads that the Milepost covers really, but it's much more summarized at only about 200 pages. It does not have every little thing on the road listed. What it has is summaries, general information, and major highlights along routes. For me this was valuable particularly in the planning stage. If you're just trying to figure out what's along the roads, what you might see, and stuff like that this is an easier way to get a grip on what is there without being overwhelmed by the enormity of the Milepost. The enormity of the Milepost does accurately reflect the enormity of this trip and planning for me was a daunting task. Even just the basic planning I did. I did not, or would not even consider, planning on being on any sort of schedule. I never do. It would never work out.
If you are camping you must have (in my opinion) "Traveler's Guide to Alaskan Camping: Alaska and Yukon Camping With RV or Tent" . This book is almost 500 pages of campgrounds in Alaska and YT. It has descriptions and services for each one along with GPS coordinates. It also shows a handy bar chart for fuel prices as observed along routes so you can get an idea what towns might be less expensive or more for fuel. I used it extensively in deciding where to stay. It also gives prices for the campgrounds and of course includes official camping areas that are free too. It is absolutely worth the $15.00
Denali National Park: I'm going to write a bit just about this because for many people it is a major attraction and even a sole destination for some. If you are camping here I would not go without reservations. This is the one and only thing I reserved and scheduled on the trip. A good thing because when I checked in that day all rv sites were full or otherwise reserved. If you get reservations you are not assigned, nor can you specify a specific site. You are merely reserving a site in a specific campground. If you are picky or a big unit get there early in the day for the best selection. If you are staying several day and want to go throughout the park I highly recommend staying at teklanika river campground at mile 29 of the park road because you can get a TEK pass (for the bus) at only $26-27 or so. This isn't even as expensive as a regular day bus ticket (all the way in) and you get to ride as much as you want anywhere you want for the duration of your stay within the park. (Do not go back outside of mile 15, Savage river crossing, towards the entrance or you must buy a new ticket back in). The Tek Pass, with the exception of your first scheduled bus seat, is "standby" or on a space available basis. This was never a problem for me and I never had to wait on a bus with space. If you had a large group it might be more of an issue. For one or two I don't think it would be. The buses I'm referring to are Shuttle buses (school buses). They may not be yellow (they're green), but they ride like school buses. I think most if not all were air ride rear axle, but you know what the seats are like. There are "tour buses" which look kind of like school buses there (not greyhound bus appearance, but with motorcoach type seats), but they are more expensive than a "shuttle bus" and are not included or available for use with a Tek Pass. If this whole thing is not for you, there is no issue driving your vehicle, but only to mile 15 of the park road (the Savage River crossing) where traffic is restricted to bus traffic only, which the exception of RVs traveling on to mile 29 at the Teklanika River campground. If you do stay at the Teklanika River Campground, keep in mind you drive there, but once you're there you are not permitted to drive anywhere else, beyond, or back towards the entrance unless you are departing. You are permitted one trip in and one trip out (to leave) only.
There is plenty of hiking to do in the park, both on-trail and off-trail. Short loops, day hikes, and backpacking for as long as you want I suppose. If you are backpacking (anywhere in the state) keep in mind you'll need bear resistant food storage containers to carry unless you are staying in a camping area with a food locker (big tool box). Food storage containers are available for loan at no charge from a National Park office about anywhere. There is an $80 deposit, but you can return the thing to any office. They take credit card, but don't run the charge unless you don't bring the thing back.
Keep in mind there are NO services in the park of any kind. I think this catches people off guard. At the area around the park entrance there are stores and shops, and near the park campgrounds at the entrance there is Riley Mercantile. Here is the dump, water fill, convenience store, and campground check-in station. Once you go into the park there is nothing available for purchase. This means no food or drinks. There are water fountains at Eielson Visitor Center at mile 66 of the park road, but other than the campgrounds perhaps, there is no place to get a drink. You must be prepared for this. Don't expect to ride to the bus all morning and buy a sandwich at Eielson, or anywhere else for that matter. There are no concessions inside the park. Take food and drinks you need to get yourself through the day or days you intend to be there. There is nothing to purchase at Teknilika River Campground at mile 29 either just to be clear. If you need to buy firewood you can buy it at Riley Mercantile when you check in, but past that you're out of luck. (It's outrageous at like $10/bundle by the way so bring it from somewhere else if you can).
Phone coverage: My carrier is "US Cellular" for what it's worth. They operate on CDMA technology (versus GSM that some carriers use), not that it makes a difference as far as that one is better than the other, but other CDMA carriers might experience similar coverage to what I got, whereas GSM coverage may be different, depending on what is up there. I did not attempt to use my phone at all in Canada. I shut it off just before I got to the border and turned it on a little ways after I crossed back into the US. I do not know if it would have worked. I did not want to incur fees for using it. I'm not even sure if I would have or what they would have been. I didn't care I didn't want to talk on the damn thing anyway. In Alaska I turned it on so I could occasionally text some family so they could sleep once in a while knowing I was still alive. I had good coverage along most of the highways, with some dead spots in places I'm sure. I was surprised actually of how often I got signal (and a little disappointed in ways that I did). You will not get signal inside Denali national park. You will not get signal up the Dalton Highway, but there is signal at Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay. All of the big towns have signal. Some decent towns in BFE have signal even if the road leading to there does not. I didn't plot all this out specifically, but along the paved roads coverage did seem reasonably good. I'm sure it varies from carriers, but I was not able to get data coverage in Alaska. It might be my carrier doesn't have a roaming agreement in Alaska for data, I'm not sure. So that made the "smart" portion of my "smart phone" useless. Of course it could still use wifi where available. Wifi could really be a separate topic, but I'm not doing a whole write up on it. I could usually find at least on free wifi place in any decent town. Some remote towns would even have a commercial wifi vendor. Often the phone company would put one access point at their satellite station and you could, for a few dollars, log on for an hour, or longer subscription if desired.
I'll try to think of some other useful things to add. If you plan on taking this trip, now or later even, get a hold of me to talk. I'm sure I can thing of a thing or two more to mention.
TRIP LOG STARTS HERE**************************
I'm going to fastforward you a bit. Today is (the end of) day 3 of my journey. I suspect this is going to take longer than anticipated. Right now I'm in Moose Jaw, SK. I rolled through Iowa, South Dakota, & North Dakota to get here. There is a variety of ways to get to the start of the Alaska Highway from where I live, but this is how my route took me.
For anyone who has ever been through Iowa, that isn't exciting. South Dakota is only exciting if you like cheesy tourist traps that would be on par with something Clark Griswold would visit. I didn't think North Dakota would have much to offer either, but there was a bit of decent scenery before I got through.
For whatever reason after my border crossing into Saskatchewan I failed to stop and get a picture by a sign.
Now for the excitement getting here. Was going to leave Monday, but I shuffled some things around and pushed that back to Saturday. I didn't get left until like 14:00 because of a lot of last minute things that had to be wrapped up. Hundreds of hours have already went into planning this between getting routes planned in BaseCamp (garmin) and reading about things to see, etc and getting equipment ready. It seemed like every day of prep that went by I thought of a few more things I needed.
Along the way I stopped in Omaha, Nebraska to ship a handgun to myself in TOK. That didn't go so smoothly and I got into it with them over policy and told them to shove it I'd go somewhere else.
Parked for the night in Mitchell, SD Wal-Mart. You'll find I tend to utilize this free opportunity while in route to a destination quite often. It's just a place to catch some sleep, not for scenery. The next morning I went to make breakfast and I found a pantry shelf had collapsed. Anyone that knows about campers knows they are not built durable. Anyway took half the morning to straighten that mess out and hit the road again.
2nd day, by luck stopped at a visitor center to stretch and found out Highway 212, which runs NW through South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana, was closed due to wild fires. I was going to cut up across this way to Great Falls, MT. I plotted out a different course that would take me north faster into Canada through North Dakota, a state I have never been in. I have been in both Wyoming and Montana. I ended up staying in Belle Fourche, SD. It was a nice little town. I didn't drive real late because there was no rush as I needed to be in Williston, ND no earlier than 16:30 because that's as soon as their UPS facility opens. Belle Fourche (french for beautiful fork) is a nice little town north of Spearfish. They did not have a Wal-Mart, but did have a Pamida (which was closing to become a Shopco or something). Anyway I parked there and before the night was over another camper did to. No problem there. Spearfish did have a Wal-Mart, but I passed it up.
3rd day I made entry into North Dakota.
The first part was boring, but after I stopped for lunch the scenery changed for the better.
Somewhere I had entered Mountain time the day earlier and changed my clocks, but when I got to Williston, I noticed on a receipt it was an hour later than my watch. Idk wtf happened or where I got confused but I did. Luckily it was still within the window of hours for UPS (16:30-18:00). I went to the UPS place to ship my handgun, no problem. Very courteous staff and had no issues. This town is a mad house though. Oil boom central I tell ya. I was glad to get left from there. From there it was not far to the border and that went fairly smooth. The agents were nice enough and handled my shotgun without problems. I already had triplicate copies of the unsigned paperwork. I paid my 25$CAD with mastercard and on I went. They did search the vehicles fairly good. A few hours later I landed in Moose Jaw at a Wal-Mart. I found my shower drain is leaking! yeah FML. I'll tore it apart and I'll deal with it in the morning. Wish me luck!
10:30. Finally ready to leave Moose Jaw. Apparently the fittings are a bit special for the RV. Thanks to Field Plumbing and Heating here. They hooked me up with a ball of plumbers putty, graciously accepting $1 USD. I made a bead of and stuck around the fitting and screwed it together. Seems to have worked. The lip was cracked. That reminded me I needed to get some CAD money so I drove to the Royal Bank of Canada where I exchanged money for 99.24% rate plus a $3.00 fee. Also thanks to South Country Equipment LTD (Local John Deere dealer) for a free hat! If you hadn't guessed from my screen name my line of work is production agriculture.
12:12 Wednesday. Finally West of Edmonton, AB. Spruce Grove actually. Got in late as i spent an hour or so at a roll over wreck since I was the first ems on scene. Long ways out of my territory, but I don't think it matters. Nothing exciting to see really today, but more fields of canola. Oh and the damn mosquitoes have found me already and I'm far from Alaska. They seem to be biting good here in Spruce Grove. Bed Time! I have some pictures, but it's late and the internet is really sucking right now.
18:20 Thursday. Made it to Dawson Creek, BC. Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway. Sitting at Walmart to add this, but not staying here tonight. The real journey begins tonight. Not taking much time to add pics or a lot of detail today, just want to get to enjoying my trip.
21:00 setup camp at Kiskatinaw Provincial Park 17 miles north of Dawson Creek. This is on a short stretch of the Old Alaska Highway that is now bypassed. It is down by the old Kiskatinaw river bridge, which is still in use and the road loops back to the new highway on the north end. If you drive the road you must take this detour. It is not very far out of the way and this bridge is a magnificent work of engineering and and a artwork. It is all wood 531 foot bridge built on a 9 degree curve from 1942-43 and the only remaining wood bridge on the highway still in use. The campground is nice too.
took some more pictures of the bridge in the morning when it wasn't so busy with tourists. Took a side trip down 10 miles of gas field gravel road to Sikanni Chief falls. There is a staging area (not really marked as such) at the beginning by the highway. If you have a trailer or a towed vehicle you don't need to take I'd recommend dumping it or whatever. This isn't a good road, though i did take the rv and jeep both for some stupid reason. you could camp back there if you wanted there is a large open gravel area. The hike was about 1.5 miles round trip to the view point. You are far from the falls, but they are large and easily viewable. Some of the hike goes along a steep ledge, so beware. Worth the trip though. On my way driving out, just near where I parked I saw my first black bear of the trip. So beware this is bear territory and it could have easily been around the trail. If you come this way in the summer make sure you buy the 40% deet spray or the highest concentration available and also a bottle of the 100% spray (actually 99.?%) Particularly near water the mosquitoes are terrible. On this hike along the stream to the falls if you stopped for a minute you were surrounded. I'm writing this well after the fact, so from here on bug spray is used in excess and just plan on smelling like it until you take a shower. Some people where the mosquito net hats, but I didn't buy one because I couldn't handle that. A regular hat though will help keep them off the top of your head.
setup camp at Prophet river airstrip. well not on the airstrip, but just past it there is what use to be a Provincial Park, which is no longer maintained. That means its free. Also brushy, etc. but there was a couple other rigs there and a bunch of tent campers with canoes. The pull through sites were overgrown so i just parked across about what was 3 back in sites so I didn't need to unhook or anything.
Day 7 Friday 13 July
Made it to Liard Hot Springs. It was a Friday and this campground is popular so it is full. I'm not surprised. There is a rest area waside across the road you can camp there for free. If you want to use the hot springs i think it's $5/person or $10/vehicle. The campground is $30, but includes access to the springs. By the time I did supper and walked back down the the bridge to take pictures it was 21:30 and it closes at 22:00. This bridge over the Liard river is the only suspension bridge left on the route.
Day 8 Saturday 14 July
Just leaving Liard Hot Springs. I drove the jeep north to a couple side roads to see some waterfalls. Good thing neither roads were appropriate for an RV or anything with a trailer. Both were very short hikes and worth the time. If you are traveling this and want details of these locations at some point I will provide my entire .gpx file for the trip which shows my every move. I also drove a side road south of Liard hot springs, but north of the river that went off east. If you want to drive it requires a 4x4 vehicle and doesn't really go anywhere useful though. I saw a couple "trappers cabins" not too far in, but don't waste your time going beyond that.
Camp setup at Watson Lake Yukon government campground. Yes I'm in the Yukon Territory now. This is just past the city of Watson Lake. These campgrounds are $12 and include free firewood (as long as they're not out). It was a decent campground.
Day 9 July 15
Made it to Wolf Creek Campground, Yukon Government. It is just not far (5mi?) before Whitehorse. It again is a nice campground and close to town if you want to stay here and run in and do some stuff. I ran up the road to Miles Canyon and checked it out. The river narrows up and runs swiftly through a vertical rock-walled canyon here for a ways. Worth seeing. There is a footbridge that crosses the river, and some hiking you can do on the other side. It goes to "Canyon city historical site". Unless you're looking for exercise don't waste your time. You won't see anything but the river and trees. From there I took the old road on into town, which goes by where the float planes dock. If you have never seen float planes (I hadn't) this is kind of neat. I went ahead into town and did some recon work and some picture since it was still light out though it was late in the day.
Day 10 July 16
Leaving the campground. I took the morning to tour the SS Klondike sternwheeler in Whitehorse. It is restored and is a great tour. Self-guided and $6.05 CAD for admission. Well worth it and very interesting. Glad I did pictures last night because today was overcast/rainy. I also did the Transportation History Museum. It was $6.00 CAD and worth the time and money. They had a large variety of stuff and information there.
22:00 (alaska time)
The highway between Whitehorse and the US border is bad. Terrible frost heaves and wavy as hell. It gets much better at the US border.
Made it to Alaska. I don't recall the exact time I crossed, but at this point I'm at "Deadman Lake" campground, which isn't too far into the state. It's run by the Fish and Wildlife, there is a volunteer host on site, and it's free. You can't beat that. There is only 10 sites I think, but there was plenty to pick from. I had no problems going through US customs. He asked me the normal questions about guns, alcohol, and tobacco. It was a yes to guns, no to the rest. He asked if I had the Canada in-transit I said yes. He said ok. He looked at my passport, scanned it or whatever, and said "have a nice day" 3 minutes tops. At the campground i talked to a couple of people on bikes (with pedals) they were from Australia. They flew into anchorage, road up to fairbanks, and back down the alaska highway and were going clear down the west us coast eventually. This was my first conversation with fellow travelers on my trip. it was quite interesting.
Day 11 July 17
21:30 I'm parked 22 miles up the Dalton Highway about 100 miles or so North of Fairbanks. When I left the campground I wasn't far from Tok, which is where UPS left my 44mag at Three Bears Outpost. I picked it up paid them the $20/25? fee for holding my shipment and went on my way. I'm the kind of guy who normally has a gun strapped to his hip so I felt better at this point though the weather was rainy and dismal for the first time on my trip. This probably expedited my arrival in Fairbanks because there weren't photo stops. From Fairbanks I actually intended to go up the Steese Highway towards Circle, but missed the turn, so I ended up on the Elliot Highway towards Manley Hot Springs, which runs into where the Dalton starts at Livengood. I made a rash decision to go ahead and do the Dalton and get that out of the way. So anyway after driving the rig for a while on a crappy road and getting late I decided it was time to find a parking spot. There are tuns of turn-outs and way-sides on this road. I found a spot out of the way that was a dead end. Pulled in and unhooked the jeep and the RV. The RV is to be left here for a few days while I do my Dalton run in the jeep. Just make sure you're not blocking something, and definitely not parked on a pipeline access road. Where I parked was a drive that went off the road, right into trees. It clearly went no where.
Day 12 July 18
I pissed away the morning at the camper. It was still overcast/gloomy Left there after lunch. Had packed up the jeep with the supplies I would need for at least 2 days away. I have a small 12 volt fridge I brought that is normally in a truck I drive. That way I could carry cold sandwich stuff for one meal and I would eat MREs for the other meal of the day. I wasn't taking cooking gear I didn't have room or want to hassle for just a few meals.
On the route up there you will first get to the Yukon River crossing where there is a fuel, food, and lodging if you wish. Along with a small shack that is a "visitor contact center" where you can get info and a map.
The next major thing you hit is the Arctic circle, where there is picnic, camping, and of course a sign.
I think it was around 18:00, but I didn't document, I arrived at Coldfoot. It was still rainy. I fueled up at the truck stop and went to the Arctic Inter-agency visitor center. This is a really nice place. Fairly new I'd say. They'll put on any movie they have in their nice theatre for you. I watched a 60 minute flick about the pipeline. I milled around there for a bit and got the weather forecast. Rainy and clouds. At this point it was 19:00 so I decided cannot turn back tonight. Went 4 miles up the road to Marion Creek Campground ($8) free wood if someone hadn't stolen it all. There is a host there, and hand pump water and vault toilets as usual. I got my tent setup and went back to the visitor center for the free show at 20:00 which is a presentation they put on about various topics. Tonight was caribou. That lasted about 30-40 min. I went back to the tent and called it a night. My first night in the tent. Glad I brought the sleeping mask. )My rv is equipped with blackout shades and I can make it virtually dark in there thankfully.) BTW, gas at Yukon River crossing and coldfood is $5.19.
Day 13 July 19
Tent packed up. Not raining, but still very cloudy/overcast. Kind of slept in a bit after I got woke up initially at 6:30 by some ******* running a generator. this trailer was clear across the campground. i can only imagine it was a "champion" brand the way it sounded. If you know anything about generators you know they're about $200-$300 (ultra cheap) for these and loud as hell. I can only imagine they were doing something important like microwaving breakfast or making coffee because they don't know what a percolator is. I ran back down to the visitor center to get a weather update. More clouds and rain for a few days. I made the decision to do the 150 mile journey back south to where the camper was at. I wasn't waiting this out in a tent with nothing to do. Keep in mind I'm here for the scenery and to take pictures. Clouds ruin it.
Day 14 July 20
Spent the day in the camper. Rainy and foggy. That was OK though it gave me a chance to do some desperately needed housekeeping. Vacuumed my small carpet area and swept the rest of the floor. Cleaned other stuff. Watched probably a dozen episodes of "Alias". I have all the seasons on DVD. I love that show. I have a large battery bank that is maintained by solar panels when the sun shines, but under light load it is fine for a few days without sun.
Day 15 July 21 Saturday
11:00 left the camper after eating lunch. Headed north again towards Deadhorse for the last time. Still light rain here, but the forecast was Sunny on Sunday (tomorrow) for the north slope.
I stopped at Coldfoot and called to make reservations for the Arctic ocean shuttle on my way up by the way. If you are not familiar, you can drive to Deadhorse and around town all you want. But you cannot actually drive to Prudhoe Bay/the ocean. To get there requires you to pass through the active industrial zone where the drilling and all the work goes on. You have to book yourself on a shuttle, which cost $45 and is ran by the security company. They make sure you're not on the no-fly list. (I'm serious). They have morning (9:00?) and afternoon tour at 15:00. You are suppose to reserve minimum 24 hours in advance. I called right before 15:00 from Coldfoot for the tour the next day. The lady on the phone would have had no problem booking me for either tour. Though she was sure to inform me it wasn't really a tour, just a security guard driving a van, which I knew.
21:00 Setup my tent just past mile 297 on the Dalton. near Oksrukuyik Creek. This is just a pull out parking area near the bridge. Temp at this time was 45 Degrees Fahrenheit. At this point I'm only 100 miles from Deadhorse, which should be an easy drive tomorrow. Don't forget about time/travel here. It always takes you about twice as long as you'd think so plan ahead.
Day 16 July 22 Sunday
07:30 Temps are back up to 45 degrees again, but at some point last night got to 30 degrees and I about froze my *** off. My sleeping bag is rated to 32 degrees. If you are not familiar with sleeping bag ratings, their advertised rating is more like survival temperature, not comfort temperature. So this bag is really good to about 40 degrees probably and still sleep well. Needless to say I woke up in the middle of the night. Luckily I had a blanket in my jeep, which i wrapped around me then zipped myself up in the bag. It helped tremendously and I was able to sleep again. I'm heading out at this point.
11:30 arrive at the edge of Deadhorse. Pull out to make lunch.
13:00 Roaming around "town" checking it out. Made it to the general store. If you haven't ever been here everything is industrial and modular. There isn't permanent residents and no residential style construction. Everything looks similar. Metal buildings. Often trailers, modulars, or on pilings off the ground. I got gas ($5.40 i think). There are actually 2 "gas stations" in this town. They are a bit nontraditional. One interesting thing i learned (on the arctic shuttle) was that if you see a building built on a concrete pad (not on pilings) like a shop or whatever, their foundation is refrigerated constantly to prevent the permafrost from thawing which would cause structural failure.
16:40 Returned back from the Arctic ocean shuttle. I was actually impressed with what I got. The driver was just a security guard, but he did narrate the trip. You drive around town before you go through the security point and eventually to "east dock" where you get to walk out and spend some time at the ocean. The driver (native from the NWT in Canada) was very knowledgeable and informative. If you drive clear to Deadhorse you might as well pay the $45 for the shuttle to the ocean. I'm heading back south.
23:20 Tired of driving i pitch the tent about 30 miles north of Coldfoot. I could have went on to the Marion creek campground, which would have been about another 45 minutes, but there was no point and where I was at was free, versus $8.00 for nothing special. So i picked a way-side and setup and went to bed asap. At this point it was still very much daylight out.
Day 17 July 23
09:35 I got the tent packed up and put a couple extra gallon of gas in the jeep to get me on into Coldfoot. It only got to 52 last night here so I slept very well.
refueled in coldfoot. there was a squeaking noise coming from the engine compartment. I figured it was the power steering or water pump. hopefully not water pump i need that!
stopped at the arctic circle wayside to do lunch. after lunch on my way from the trash bin i noticed a huge puddle of oil underneath the YJ. I knew right way it was power steering fluid. I'm just glad it wasn't antifreeze or something else. Sure enough on leaving I no longer had power steering. Oh well things could be worse.
15:30 made it back to the RV. hitched up the jeep and headed south towards fairbanks.
19:00 made it to Wal-mart at fairbanks. went to do laundry and wash the thick coat of Dalton highway mud off the jeep. This is day 17 and I haven't done laundry yet. I brought several clothes and i still had pants and jeans and shirts plenty. getting low on underwear and socks and I change those more often than pants. But i had plenty of dirty laundry and time to kill so i go to laundromat, where it cost me $9.00 to run this large washer. I thought that was high, but so is everything here. I think the drier only took $2.00 to get stuff dry. It took $20 at the car wash in the mean time to get the **** off the jeep, and that wasn't a spectacular job, but its better. On the way home I stop at O'rielly auto parts to see about power steering pump. Not to bad at $65.00
Day 18 July 24
09:15 Called Gabe's auto repair about the fixing the jeep. If i realized they opened at 07:30 I would have called earlier, but I didn't realize anybody opened that early. Anyway they could probably work it in today. They gave me an estimate, told me they'd have to check about the part, I told them don't bother I'll be over with the jeep and the part.
15:00 Been milling around town. It's rainy/cloudy again today. Gabe's called and the jeep is done. The labor was $160, plus another $20 in misc crap, fluids, taxes, etc. I thought that was a bit high, but again so is everything here, and that is what I was quoted before hand. I have power steering again. That's a godsend for parking.
20:00 Another night at Wal-Mart and heading to Denali in the morning. I'm going to have to skip the trip to Manley hot springs (the rest of Elliot Highway) and the trip out to Circle (the Steese Highway). I talked to a guy who filled my propane for probably 45 minutes. He lives here, but we got to talking about where I had been and where I was going. He said I really wasn't missing much not going to Circle and hadn't been to Manley, but we talked at length about my trip up the Dalton, because he was thinking about going soon. He has a jeep compass and wasn't sure if that was appropriate for the road. Anyway we talked, i mentioned the highlights and gave a few pointers. By the way you can drive that road in almost anything. It just takes time. Small and lighter is better because you can travel faster. If you think your YJ rides ruff, try a 12k pound motorhome on springs. It didn't take me long to ditch it. I could go about twice as fast in the YJ. There were plenty of folks driving cars. There was a bit of construction in a few places, lots of gravel, and some areas that were a downright muddy, though passable. Don't expect to make a fast trip on that road if you go. I had no problems, it just takes time. I'd take time to do those other side trips, but I have reservations at Denali, so I'm going that route.
Day 19 July 25
10:00 Leaving Walmart in Fairbanks, on my way to Denali
13:15 Leaving Ester. Spent about 1.5 hour walking around taking pictures and for lunch. There isn't a lot left here. The tourist attraction "Ester Gold Camp" is closed down. All that remains are residents living the old way of life. The town doesn't have running water, though some residents may, I'm not sure. There was a well which was marked Closed (failed inspections?). No sewer, which is not uncommon in Alaska. Everyone had outhouses. I did find some ripe raspberries and picked about a cup full. If you don't stop here you're not missing much.
15:15 Leaving Nenana. This is a nice little town. They take pride in their town and it shows. It is not run-down like so many villages. They have a small visitor center. It is the site of the completion of the Alaska Railroad where President Warren Harding drove the golden spike at the end of the bridge. It is also host to the famous "Ice Classic" where bets are placed a specific date and time when the river ice with break up.
17:00 Arrived at Denali Park entrance.
19:00 Camp setup @ Teknilika River Campground. Mile 29 of the park road. The road is closed to regular traffic at mile 15. To get to drive here is a privilege.
22:00 Taking a few minutes to reflect on today and write a bit more detail. I only made quick notes earlier as I was rushing to get here. It's a good thing I made reservations because every site in the park for RV's was full tonight. Though you reserve a spot you don't get a specific site assignment. This means it's first come first pick. It would be advantageous to arrive early, say noon, to possibly get a prime spot. Most of the spots are equally decent and the one I ended up with was fine. I would guess there were about five spots open yet in this campground with fifty-three sites. They claim to accommodate up to forty foot units, but that would be a select few sites. If you had a big-rig you'd want to get here early for a good selection and hope they're not all taken. I kind of rushed [my drive] through the park to get to the campground. Hopefully the bus ride further into the park tomorrow will be promising. I have a pass [Tek Pass, $26.50 IIRC) that permits standby riding the duration of my stay (through Sunday). Hopefullt the nice weather holds out too. Today was great out. It's hard to think about going to bed when it's so light out yet, but I should so I'm rested for tomorrow's adventure.
Day 20 July 26
09:30 Didn't rush to get around this morning because the shuttle reservation isn't until 10:40. Oven is preheating for cinnamon rolls. It got down to 35 degrees F overnight. It's already back up to 70 degrees F and a gorgeous day. Sunny and clear blue skies. Couldn't ask for much more. Hope it holds out. Plan to ride the bus to Eielson Vistor Center (Mile 66 of the park road). This is about 3 hours from the campground or about 4 hours from the Wilderness Access Center (where most people board the bus).
19:15 Back from the bus ride.I got on a slightly earlier (10:25) shuttle that went clear to Wonder Lake. It was a long ride (about 5 hours one way from my camp), but a good day for it. We got pretty good views of t Mt. McKinley and saw two brown bears, one very close and walked right beside the bus. Also saw a dahl sheep and got real good view of it. Saw caribou (aka reindeer) and elk as well. Heading to the ampitheatre for the 19:30 presentation, write more later.
22:00 Evening presentation was decent, about caribou. I had already learned a good bit from the presentation at the Interagency Visitor Center at Coldfoot. Supper done and cleaned up. Awaiting hot water for a shower. Looked at some of my pictures on the computer and I'm disappointed and frustrated with the lackluster image quality and lack of vibrance. Some almost seem as if not in focus, which has been an issue before with this camera (canon 60d). It has been sent in for warranty wark twice actually. Hoping for something better tomorrow. They say the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I don't know what I'm doing different tomorrow, but tomorrow is a new day and a fresh start. Thinking about the early morning shuttle to see what's out.
Day 21 July 27
21:00 Took a late morning shuttle after an early lunch. Jumped off at Eielson Visitor Center for a while and walked a short bit, though not far. Had an interesting talk with a couple from Indiana and a more interesting talk with a gal from Australia with Alaskan heritage. Caught a bus back to camp and had enough time to whip up and bake a cake and warm up some pizza before the ranger program at 19:30 The day turned out fairly decent though not good for landscape shots. Saw plenty of wildlife on the bus. The images are still not of the quality they should be, but I'm at a loss for what to do. Hopefully tomorrow is a good day, as it's my last full day in the park. Hoping to get around for the real early bus tomorrow, but we'll see how that works out.
Day 22 July 28
Time apparently irrelevant because not noted. Got on a mid-morning shuttle. The weather today was fabulous. Great views of the mountain were obtained from several locations including Eielson Visitor Center deep within the park. I went clear to Wonder Lake, but there were a few clouds by then and the view was not great. Got back [to camp] just in time for the 19:30 ranger program. Tonight was about bears and was interesting. Heading out of the park tomorrow. Camera still acting up and frustrating me.
Day 23 July 29
10:30 Getting ready to pull out of the campground. It's only 29 miles back to the entrance, but I wouldn't be shocked if that doesn't take me two hours.
18:00 Made it to Wal-Mart in Wasilla. There are "no overnight parking" signs. I checked with management and rv's are ok so long as they leave in the morning. (They don't want you setting up camp in their parking lot like the chaos I saw in Whitehorse, YT where it seemed some people lived there). There are about half a dozen other units here too. I hear though you cannot overnight at Wal-Mart in Anchorage due to a city ordnance. I'm heading south towards Anchorage tomorrow.
Day 24 July 30
10:40 Got left from Wasilla about 45 minutes ago probably. I'm setup at Eagle River Campground about 12 miles outside Anchorage. It's a decent state park campground with lots of trees and space. I'm getting ready to run into Anchorage and scope it out. Currently raining.
Day 25 July 31
22:14 Getting ready to pull out tomorrow. I think I have most everything packed up. I'm not really sure where I'm going. Either toward Seward or Homer. It sounds to be rainy though. Today was a great day. I spent the morning at the laundry mat. Afternoon I went out and hiked Flattop Mountain. It was about 2.5 miles one-way to the summit at 3510 feet elevation. The last section was pretty steep and rugged. The views were spectacular. It was worth the time. (a very popular destination btw) Moving on tomorrow rain or shine, but hopefully the rain doesn't linger forever.
Day 26 August 1
12:48 Left the campground mid-morning. Just finished with my lunch on the way towards Seward. Weather is rainy and overally crappy. I have my sights set on some free camping near "Exit Glacier" but that is pending availability.
Day 27 August 2
21:00 Ended up camping at a pull-out on the road to "Exit Glacier" last night. Rainy and cloudy all day today. Spent most of the day in the camper. Baked cookies and rolls and buns. Watched a lot of "Alias" episodes (on dvd). The weather forecast doesn't sound real promising. I will probably run on into Seward with the jeep tomorrow regardless of weather. I don't know what matters as my camera is not working right anyway. Planning to watch a few more episodes of the "Alias" and go to bed I guess.
Day 28 August 3
09:32 Sun and could mix today. Not bad out. Going to on up to "Exit Glacier" then into Seward.
11:45 Finished with lunch at the RV. Trip to "Exit Glacier" went pretty quick (but worthwhile). Hike was not too long or strenuous. Going into Seward now.
19:00 Just returned to the camper. Seward was ok. Their little museum was the most interesting part to me. After I finished in the town I drove about 20 miles back towards Anchorage to some jeep trails I had plotted on the Garmin. I started with "Crown Point Mine Road". Part of it on the map was actually referred to as "crown point atv trail". The first part of the trail was pretty overgrown with light vegetation (shrub like things). It would be better suited for atv travel. I pushed on through the bushes were rubbing down the sides of the jeep. Eventually it got a bit better width wise and at some point you got above tree line and it was just a rocky path with lots of switchbacks. Overall the road was probably easy to moderate drive. Most of it was one-lane with a few pull-outs, though I never met another vehicle. The road was fairly accurately mapped on Enhanced Topo maps from Garmin (though you couldn't get lost anyway on it). Actually the main obsticals in the road was man-made water diversion humps (quite sharp and tall). The trail is about 5.5 miles one-way from the Seward Highway. I'd allow 3-3.5 hours round trip from the highway. It goes almost to the old mine. The last 1/4 mile (guestimate) of the road has been wiped out by rock slides. The entrance, though caved in, is easily accessible by foot. Near the top of the road you will notice some remnants of wood structures in places as well as a large cable near and across (cut) the road. One could conclude their was an aerial tram system. After I got back down I drove a short distance back south to the entrance to "Fall creek trail". I think this was marked as an OHV trail in Garmin. It is actually a forest service [maintained] trail or something it is posted as a trail where it starts. Hiking, snow machine and ATV (to mile 3) is acceptable. It would not be possible to take a jeep down it if you wanted to. I assume at one time it was a road. There was actually a gate with a "road closed" sign on it. Appearance would suggest the road was allowed to grow up intentionally to restrict it tio hiking and light ohv use only. I did not proceed to hike the trail.
Day 29 August 4
10:30 Another rainy & overcast day. Getting ready to hook up the jeep and pull out frommy camping spot here along the road. I'm heading back towards Wasilla. I had two things I wanted to explore near there and one back north by Trapper Creek. Hope the weather gets better.
Day 30 August 5
17:00 Settled into the campground. Paid for three nights at ten dollars each. I'e probably been here a couple hours. As soon as I got the camper setup I fired up the (charcoal) grill for a late lunch. It was probably 11:00 by the time I left Wasilla this morning. I spent last night at the Wal-Mart. Also yesterday evening I drove Knik-Goosebay Road. It's about 15 miles to the road end. Beyond that I took Cameo Drive (narrow 4x4 trail) back around to Point MacKenzie Road. Cameo drive isn't tough terrain, but isn't suitable for wide vehicles due to brush overgrowth. Point MacKenzie Road runs back into Knik-Goosebay Road. It should be noted that Knik-Goosebay road runs by the old townsite of Knik. Not virtually a ghost town, little remains of what once was a thriving city of 10,000 people. They do have a nice little museum in an original building I toured ($5). It was very informational. It also houses the Iditarod dog race museum (upstairs, all-inclusive). The whole point of driving Knik-Goosebay road was to visit an abandoned military facility off of Cameo Drive. Not surprisingly the road leading to the facility was gated and posted. Initially it scared me off. When I returned back around from Point MacKenzie road I ran back down there. I parked at the gate. There was clear evidence of four-wheelers bypassing the gate through the trees. It was not possible to get a jeep through there. I hiked the final mile on foot. What was there was remains of several cement walled buildings. A couple small bunker like buildings with what appeared to have been large steel hinged doors (long gone). There were two other quite large cement structures with two bays each of some sorts. Each bay had rails leading out the door. There was a cable system to presumably pull whatever was on the rails outside. I would presume the facility is a relic of the cold war or possibly WWII. (If someone knows more I'm curious). You can tell by what's left of some wiring the facility had three phase power coming into it from the grid. It's quite odd to see these large three phase overhead lines going down a road to absolutely no where when you hardly see power lines anywhere here. There wasn't much left at the site, but it was eerily empty and shot-up by vandals. However if you were nearby and into this sort of stuff don't let the signs scare you away. I can't see any way to do any harm here. I imagine the signs are covering liability.
On my way north form Wasilla this morning I stopped and visited the Museum of Transportation and Industry located near the airport. Admission was $8 and well worth it for the two hours I spent there. They have a lot of stuff on display. a real nice indoor display of old vehicles (restored) of various kinds from cars, to trucks, to planes and snowmobiles. Outside there is an extensive display of old construction equipment and rail equipment. If you are into machines of any kind it's worth the time.
I ended up at the "South Rolly Campground" which is an Alaska State Park facility. A large campgroudn with 98 sites. I was lucky enough to get one on the lake. I was sitting here relaxing and I hear a racquet next door. This lady backed her Lincoln Navigator off the side of this soft bank where the campsite was built up (like all the rest of the sites along the lake). She was very stuck and the passenger side against two trees. I pulled her out, first warning her she was going to hit those trees when I did so. Not surprisingly the passenger side mirror quickly became detached and some scrapes down the side were created. She was grateful for my assistance in the matter none the less.
The day turned out to be real nice with partial sun after (another) overcast morning.
Day 31 August 6
10:00 Getting ready to take out in the jeep for Hatcher Pass Road. Slightly overcast and 53 degrees F right now. Hoping for clearing skies.
21:30 Arrived back from today's outing. I spent a good amount of time on two side roads and two hikes. It was overall a good day with excellent scenery. It did start raining slightly toward the end. I didn't spend much time at Independence Mine Site, which is the tourist attraction near the Palmer Side. It was getting late and rainy. I might go back on my way through to Tok [.....The longer of the side roads, Craigie Creek Road, took a good while to drive. I'll try to post more details about this road if anyone wants it later, I didn't log it. It leads to a mine area and got quite difficult (for me) towards the end and I almost got hung up on a rock, but managed to back myself back off of it. At that point, being alone and fearing tearing something up, I parked and hiked the rest of it, not that much further to the mine. Did a a good bit of hiking beyond there. I didn't log it all real well, but I can retrace my steps with the gps track later.]
Day 32 August 7
09:20 Leaving in the jeep for Petersville. About fifty-some miles north on good highway to Trapper Creek then turn off there.
18:30 Back from my adventure to Petersville. It was ok, but not fabulous. Like a lot of roads mapped in Alaska, they don't all exist, go where they show on the map, or as far as the map shows. Roads have a tendency to disappear. The trip to the "town" of Petersville is no big problem (easy). There was about four cabins there. Beyond that the rest of the way to the "recreational mining area" is no problem. Rough and lots of pot holes as usual. Unfortunate it was a bit cloudy today. I should have seen Mt McKinley, but could not. There was a good bit of [small-scale] active mining along the road. I took some side roads, but they all dead ended.
Day 33 August 8
21:00 Left the campground a decent time this morning and spent all afternoon at the Independence Mine [State Park]. I did the guided tour [13:00 & 15:00 availability @ $6.00/person] and it was well worth it. There are plenty of interpretive signs for a self tour, but with the guided tour you get to walk through three buildings you otherwise wouldn't. It is surprising how good of shape most of the structures are in for being built in the late 1930's thru 1940's. The exception is the mill structure which has suffered extreme decay, damage, and collapse. The facility is quite elaborate for a remote mine camp. Clearly the influence of large commercialized industrial mining. All of the buildings had running water and electricity supplied by massive Atlas-Imperial diesel fired generators on site. They said they used 1000 gallons of fuel a day to operate. The buildings were surprisingly intact from a historical aspect as wel. In the cookhouse/mess hall the massive industrial oven/grill (diesel operate as well I think) still remained as well as the steam powered dishwasher, massive stand mixer, and other artifacts. There are also several hiking trails that originate from near the mine. I did the hike to Gold Cord Lake, which is about 2.5 miles. I plan on returning tomorrwo to do more hikes. I took the RV down the mountain far enough to leave the state park and pulled out on a gravel spot for the night.
Day 34 August 9
09:15 Heading the few miles back up the mountain to the Independence Mine [State Park]. There are a couple more mine sites nearby I want to visit today. One will be a relatively easy hike and the other quite strenuous on the unestablished trail gaining a good bit of elevation. Right now the weather is nice with sunny blue skies and scattered cumulus clouds. Lets hope it holds out for the day.
16:30 Preparing to leave Independence Mine [State Park] after a late lunch. Hiked over 5 miles and 5 hours across the mountain today. I went from the parking area up to Gold Cord Mine and up to the summit (5000ft) of Gold Cord Mountain and somewhat across the ridge to the Martin Mine and back to the parking lot. Most of the hike was off-trail and very rugged. The only part with trail (informal) is to Martin Mine, and to Gold Cord mine. Between the two is treacherous in places, steep in sections, but very pretty throughout. Certainly not an adventure for amateurs, but I'm no pro either. One could visit the two mines on separate hikes and that would be technically easier, but physically more work (in my opinion). The highlight would be the summit of Gold Cord Mountain, though that is an extra journey on top of either mines. The views were spectacular until the fog (clouds) rolled in this afternoon. I had to locate the Martin Mine in the fog (you couldn't see 100 feet). That could be a bit of a daunting task, luckily I had it on the Garmin topographical map, which was fairly accurate to it's location and did locate the building and remains of others. Not sure exactly where I'm headed from here, but generally speaking towards Valdez then on to Tok and towards home.
Day 35 August 10
14:00 The camper is parked on the gravel bar beside Copper River near Chitna. I was headed for Valdez, but got side-tracked on a trip to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. This isn't a place I had on my agenda, but after my visit to the Park Visitor Center south of Glenallen I decided I couldn't pass it up. The paved road ends at Chitna and sixty miles of gravel continues ot the Kennicott River very near (0.4 mi?) McCarthy. Beyond that it is foot traffic. There is a pedestrian bridge across the river. I don't understand why the public cannot use the (nearby) vehicle bridge, but perhaps with time I will see. Anyway there sounds like a lot of nice hikes in the area, several going to old mines. I'm going to unhook the jeep and run into Chitna and check it out. Tomorrow I'll drive the jeep to the road end at Kennicott River.
21:00 Getting things in order for tomorrow. I ended up moving the rv across the highway to the correct campground. I cannot see the river from here, but it doesn't smell like dead fish. I have readied my pack with the rations and supplies for three days. Right now my plans are to hike three trails once I reach the Kennicott area, about five miles beyond the road's end. Let's hope for good weather; it can be turbulent.
Here is an overview map of my actual route. I'm not sure why some segments are in different colors, so just ignore that as it doesn't have any real correlation.