The Place Is Just So Damn Beautiful!

While traveling the road from Anchorage to Tok to Haines, sometimes I would lift my eyes from the Road From Hell – gasp – and then pull over to the side to just sit and gaze into the distance. I’m sure people that have been in Alaska for years don’t really think much about it as I was already letting the mountains and sky and forests melt into the background only to be slapped with the realization of just how beautiful this place is.

I’m creating a Photo Album for July 9 that is just scenery. It’s sad that the photos can’t fully recreate the magnificence of the place but it’s the best I can do.

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After Donna and Matt flew out on Wednesday, July 6, I had a couple of nights in Anchorage before I needed to head out to Haines to catch the Alaska Maritime Highway Ferry to Bellingham, WA. The ferry leaves Haines on Monday, July 11 and gets into Washington Friday morning. During that time, I will have no internet access so I won’t be able to post any updates unless we pull into port for a few hours and I can get to an internet cafe. Unfortunately, it looks like most of our port stops are for loading and unloading vehicles and people and last just an hour or two.

My boat - the MV Columbia

The positive part of that is that the path we’re taking is supposed to be breathtaking:

There are supposed to be whales, glaciers, porpoises, and all other types of marine animals – not to mention the natural wonders. I’m sure I’ll be wearing out the camera trying to capture it all – should make for a great photo album when I get back on the web.

So, after they left, I had a quiet day to recover from being tour guide and swapped the rental van out for Big Red (who I’m sure appreciated the break). We put nearly 1200 miles on the van in the 10 days we had it. Lots to see and do and this is a BIG place! How big, you ask?

I awoke Friday morning to a gloomy, overcast Anchorage sky. First dark day since I had arrived. Then, on the road to Tok, I went through a few rainstorms – I figure it was just Alaska’s way of saying how sad it was that I was leaving.

In Tok, I stayed at a lousy motel with very little internet access so I was glad to hit the road Saturday morning for Haines. Sadly, it was a 10 hour drive from Tok to Haines. Happily, there were bears, great weather, and beautiful scenery.

Bear #1 - My First Grizzly!

He's a big one!

Bear #2 - Good sized Black Bear

Not sure what he found to eat, but he was frolicking around and really enjoying the grub!

Bear #3 - medium sized Grizzly. Just as I stopped the car and pulled out the camera - he turned his back on me.

Another frontier church just inside the Canadian border from Alaska

And then there was the view:

Imagine taking these for granted?!

I was at the highest elevation for the Haines Highway (the road from Haines Junction down to Haines) at 1100 ft. Even at that relatively low altitude, there was plenty of snow around just off the highway – apparently it didn’t know that the sun was out and it was 60 degrees – just refused to melt:

There were lots of little critters playing chicken with me the whole way – seems like they would sit by the side of the road and just wait for me to get close before bolting across the road:

I imagined them like in that commercial where the squirrels are high-fiving each other when they make a car swerve

Overall, the trip wasn’t too bad. I was zoning out a little between Tok and Haines Junction because it was part of the Alaska Highway that I had already driven coming up. Once I hit the Haines Highway, it got more interesting with the new scenery.

Did I mention that the whole place is just so DAMN BEAUTIFUL?

Wait’ll you see little Haines, Alaska. Next Post!

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Total Travel In Anchorage: 1173 miles

Travel Anchorage to Tok: 318 miles

Travel Tok to Haines: 440 miles

Total Travel To Date:  6,721 miles

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