Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Alcan and Cassiar

We've driven about 1400 miles since the last post. Neither Corrie or I had driven the Cassiar Highway before, so we took a right turn about 250 miles southeast of Whitehorse and found a scenic winding road with little traffic and no lane lines.
Our route so far (blue) and my traditional route (grey) down the Alcan.
Looking up the valley from Kluane Lake in the Yukon.
Looking across Kluane Lake at the Kluane Lake NP and Preserve which border the Wrangell St Elias NP in Alaska. Nearly 100,000 sq km of wilderness lies between here and the end of the road in Nebesna. 
Lots of mountains and no road lines. The Cassiar is my kind of highway. 

Kinaskan Lake where we stopped for dinner and coffee.
Late evening rain in the mountains.
We saw 10 black bears yesterday.
We saw several cubs, but they didn't cooperate for pictures as well.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Ready for our summer adventure

Corrie and I arrived in Tok tonight and are heading down the Alcan tomorrow for our summer tour of western national parks. We have both been busier than usual for the last six weeks and it's good to be on the road. 

I had some extra design time in March and started designing a platform for the truck topper with a six foot drawer for our camping stuff. Five versions later I had designed a complete insulated camper shell. I also had lots of new billable work to do.

I dialed the design back down to just a platform and I started looking for taller shell on Craigslist. I found this micro camper instead.
It's an A-frame design and is more than 7 ft tall in the center when it's open.
Corrie and I took it our for a test run Memorial Day weekend. We found a quite spot along a random creek for the first test night. The wind was blowing pretty hard and the temperature dropped below freezing, but stayed warm enough inside.

We decided to explore the Nebesna road in the Wrangell St Elias National park since neither of us had driven it before.
The road is scenic and mostly gravel. It was originally built to access a gold mine on this mountain and this is as far as you can drive in without an ATV now.
We hiked in the rest of the way to the mine. This is looking across the valley from the side of the hill.
One of the old mine shafts near the base of the mine.
Corrie took this cool picture reflecting off the glass of the mining cabin. 
There isn't a lot to see, but it would be interesting to tour with someone who knows more about old mines. 

We camped the second night next to a lake that was still half frozen. It's the only official camp ground on the road and quite nice. There were also a few unofficial places that looked nice. I don't think we will see another national park this empty all summer. 

Sunset on the lake. 

In the morning we found a lot of cranberries from last summer which are much tastier after a winter under the snow. We shared some with a couple from Texas who were launching their canoe into the half frozen lake.

Having a convenient lunch break anywhere is another of the perks I'm hoping for with the camper.

About 10 days ago I took the camper on a second test trip to go dipnetting on the Copper River. I didn't take a photo of the camper in the blowing dust and high winds, but I was really happy not to be in a tent. The weather was much nice at 4:30 the next morning when we got up to go fish. 
It was a beautiful day, but the fish just weren't really running. We sat on the rock above 12 hours and caught 8 fish worth filleting when we got done.
The Sea Gulls just hang out here waiting for the fish to be cleaned.

Looking up the Copper River on the way out.
Only in Alaska... We were in Girdwood for a conference Corrie was attending and someone left dog food in the back of their truck next to the Fit. A bear climbed in to eat the food and then fell onto the car when it got spooked. I'm thankful the damage is minor> I have no idea how to explain "a bear fell onto the car" to the insurance company... 



It's still a couple days before solstice, but since we are heading south tomorrow today is the longest day of our summe! I think we made the most of it. If I hurry I can get three hours sleep before the sun comes up again.