Alaska, "The last frontier", well that is what they say and how they sell it. Alaska promised us wilderness and wildlife and that is what we hoped for. The problem for Alaska is that there are very few areas that you can get to without a plane or boat and lots of people go to see Alaska, so with so many people and so few places they can get, and such a short tourist season because of the weather, then there aren't a whole lot of places you can go and feel like you are in wilderness. And whether we were unlucky or whether it is because there are so many hunters in Alaska, we don't know, but we saw less wildlife on land than we have in other Canadian provinces. Having said all that though, we did see some incredible sights and because we took a cruise around Prince William Sound we did get to see some animals we would have otherwise missed and we did get to see magnificent wilderness. Unfortunately they can't guarantee what you will see on these cruises, but we did see a humpback whale, from a distance, sea otters with their young, harbor seals, bald eagles and numerous other birds. We did also witness a glacier carving, where the ice breaks off and falls into the ocean, the noise is something else and needs to be heard. Prince William was truly magnificent. From Anchorage we headed south to Homer, a place that didn't impress us much, though it did have some magnificent snow capped mountains around it that offered great views. We were however very taken by Seward, a lovely little village with a great bay, mountains and an aquarium, Julie was particularly happy because she got to see some Puffins! On the way back to Anchorage from Seward we stopped at Exit Glacier, you can walk very close to this glacier. A disturbing point is clearly made here, they have markers showing where the glacier used to come too and it was very disturbing to see how much it has receded in the last 16 years alone! In Anchorage we stayed with an American lady we had met in Mongolia, it was so great seeing her after so long, she also got to see some of the sights of Anchorage with us. From Anchorage we headed north through Denali National Park, on the way we passed Mt McKinley, America's highest mountain at 6193m. We were able to see the summit, which apparently is a rare sight. Mt McKinley is in the Alaska Range, so we were treated to many magnificent views as we rode to Denali NP. We only spent one night in Denali, it was too expensive and busy for us. Next stop was Fairbanks, here we were going to make up our minds whether to head north to Prudhoe Bay or not. Prudhoe Bay is up the Dalton Highway, a route that lots of bikers do each year and it is considered a very challenging ride. We spoke to some people that had either been up or where planning on going up, we then looked at the weather and decided to give it a miss. Forecasts for Prudhoe were 2° and we had heard there was driving snow, and it was pouring rain in Fairbanks. On top of all that, it sounded like it was going to be way too busy for us. So after getting an oil change done on the bike we headed southwest to Tok and rode for some five hours in the rain. On the way we met an Australian from Darwin that was cycling to South America, he had just spent eight days riding to Prudhoe Bay and back and said it had been fine and that the road was good, later we spoke to some Americans in a pickup that said they met bikers that had taken six days and had had numerous falls. So who knows? We will probable never know. From Tok we had fine weather all the way to the boarder, we were on the Taylor Highway, this was a dirt road from just before a funny little town called Chicken. This is an old gold mining town and was very unique. From Chicken we followed the highway to the boarder where it becomes the Top Of The World Highway, but I'll tell you more about that in my next blog.
Jan Mac This blog makes me think of the tv series, Northern Exposure, set in Alaska. Great show. Interesting the different, even contrasting, reports on the highway you decided against. Do you know if there was a story to Chicken's name?
Mum/Marion Interesting again Michael - not so sure about the cooler conditions though. Now Jan and I will look at the photos
Denise Granger WOW! WOW! You certainly are having a good trip From the gang.