Backpacking Bear - Copyright ©1995 Jim Morris Environmental Shirt Company and Scott Knauer

This is part three of my three part trip to Alaska - HEY! I finally made it! Part one was the Pacific Northwest in 1996, part two Idaho, Montana and Banff/Jasper Canada in 1997.

A valuable tool for planning this trip was a guidebook called The MilePost . This book is updated and published every year in April. It contains a mile by mile road log for all the roads a tourist would want to drive in western Canada and all of Alaska. If you are driving to Alaska, you need this book! You can order it on-line from the publisher, from Amazon.com or from BarnesAndNoble.com.

The summer of 1998 I made a bee line for Glacier National Park, Montana, then into Canada with a brief stop in the Banff and Jasper areas where the weather was a bit drizzly. I continued to Prince George, BC and then to Dawson Creek, BC - the beginning of the Alaska Highway.

Traveling the Alaska Highway was a breeze - generally good road, fine scenery and camping, light traffic and no problems. The following log, created from edited e-mail messages that I sent to Jim and Jean Giilbreath during the trip gives you all of the gory details. Numerous side trips from the Alaska Highway took me to points of interest in Canada and Alaska.

After crossing into Alaska, I visited most of the main attractions, including some friends who lived in Homer, Alaska. I saw many glaciers on this trip. Having a clear view of Denali (Mt. McKinley) four days in a row was a real highlight. They say the mountain is only visible (out of the clouds) about sixty days during the year.

It had been a relatively dry winter for the area and I enjoyed relatively good weather. Having the flexibility of a "plan" but "no schedule" allowed me to wait out bad weather or revisit an area during better weather. Forest fires in Canada smoked things up a few days but were not a major problem

I enjoyed a fair amount of wildlife viewing - grizzly (brown) and black bears, moose, caribou, muskox, reindeer, elk, eagles, fox, mountain sheep and goats, salmon - colorful flowers - lots of history (particularly of the Klondike gold rush) - etc.

My 1997 GMC Suburban was again a great travel/camping vehicle - comfortable and reliable. With a 42 gallon gas tank and around 17 miles to the gallon on the highway, I could travel about 600 miles between gas pumps - it was actually never more than 100 miles between stations. I drove about 14,400 miles and took 2,000 pictures - a sampling of which are included here.

  1. Toms Place, California To Waterton Lakes National Park, Canada with visits to Glacier National Park
  2. Waterton Lakes National Park, AB to Kootenay National Park, AB with visit to Crowsnest area
  3. Kootenay National Park, AB to Jasper, AB with visits to Banff National Park, Yoho National Park and Jasper National Park
  4. Jasper, AB to Prince George, BC to Dawson Creek, BC with visits to MacKenzie, Hudson's Hope, Tumbler Ridge and Monkman Provincial Park
  5. Dawson Creek, BC to Watson Lake, YT via the Alaska Highway with visits to Fort St. John, Fort Nelson, Signpost Forest
  6. Watson Lake, YT to Carcross, YT via Alaska Highway with side trip to Atlin, BC
  7. Carcross, YT to Whitehorse, YT via side trip to Skagway, AK
  8. Whitehorse, YT to Tok, AK via the Alaska Highway with side trip to Haines, AK and visit to Kluane National Park
  9. Tok, AK to Valdez, AK with visit to Chitina
  10. Valdez, AK via Anchorage, AK to Portage, AK with visits to Palmer and Hatcher Pass
  11. Portage, AK to Homer, AK with visits to Seward and Kenai Fjords National Park
  12. Homer, AK to Fairbanks, AK with visits to Denali National Park, Alaskaland and University of Alaska Museum
  13. Fairbanks, AK to Denali National Park via loop trip to Delta Junction and Paxson returning via Denali Highway - with visits to Gold Dredge #8, Rika's Roadhouse Historical State Park, Mile 1422 marker, end of Alaska Highway, Alaska Pipeline
  14. Denali National Park
  15. Denali National Park to Dawson City, YT via Fairbanks, Tok and Eagle, AK
  16. Dawson City, YT (Klondike Gold Rush Country) to Watson Lake, YT with visits to Gold Dredge #4, Grand Palace Theatre, Commissioners House, Bear Creek Gold Camp, Keno City, Ross River, South Canol Road
  17. Watson Lake, YT to Prince Rupert, BC with side trip to Stewart, BC and Hyder, AK and visits to Kitimat, Port Edward and a cannery museum
  18. Prince Rupert, BC to U.S. Border via Prince George and Kamloops with side trips to Barkerville Historical Park and Wells-Grey Provincial Park with visits to Ksan Historical Village and other First Nations villages, Fort St. James Historical Park, Cottonwood House Provincial Historical Park
  19. U.S. Border to Tom's Place, CA with side trips to North Cascades National Park and Crater Lake National Park with visits to Mt. Baker and Harts Pass
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