Alaska Road Trip

Sometimes when bad things happen you can turn them into experiences of a lifetime. I was relatively young when the plant I was working at as Quality Supervisor shut its doors after over 100 years of operation. I took my severance package and seeing that I was not tied down to returning at a given time I packed up the van and headed to Alaska from my home in New England. I took my elderly parents with me since they had both recently retired paying them back for all of the family trips they took us kids on when we were young. We headed north up through Vermont passing over the border to Montreal. You can click the links for more in depth posts on each attraction. In Quebec we picked up the Trans Canada Highway and headed west averaging 600 miles per day.

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Ontario brought us to the north shore of Lake Superior.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

We entered Manitoba stopping for the night in Winnipeg before passing the longitudinal center of Canada.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Saskatchewan and the open plains are next up.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Into Alberta and a visit to the West Edmonton Mall.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Heading north out of Edmonton we finally made our way to the Alaska Highway. The highway starts at mile zero in Dawson Creek British Columbia.

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Ranging rivers, mosquito infested forests and many trading post style shops like the “Trappers Den” highlight the start of the trip.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Summit Lake Provincial Campground was one of the best sites on the trip even though it was quite cold, at least no mosquitos!

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At milepost 613 is Watson Lake, Yukon Territory with its signpost forest.

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Whitehorse, Yukon is a spot for car repairs or upgrades before heading deeper into the wilderness.

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The SS Klondike National Historic Site and the canyon are nice visits.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Passing the Northern Beaver Post Kluane National Park offers expansive views.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Into Alaska and the end of the Alaska Highway at Delta Junction and then on our way to Tok where a meal of caribou sausage and salmon chowder in a bread bowl was our welcome to the state.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Making our way down state passing Wrangell- St. Elias National Park to Valdez.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Heading north and west we went through Anchorage and down to Homer and Chugach State Park.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Back north brings us to Denali National Park.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

We visited Fairbanks and after a short detour up the haul road towards Barrow we headed back via the Top of the World Highway.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Coming to the Yukon River you board a ferry across to Dawson City, Yukon.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Back through Kluane we took the South Klondike Highway towards Carcross, The Carcross Desert, Emerald Lake, Bove Island,the Venus Mill and back into Alaska to Skagway.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Instead of repeating the route south along the Alaska Highway we took the Cassiar Highway south. We passed by Bear Glacier and made our way to the charming communities of Stewart, British Columbia and Hyder Alaska.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

We turned east heading into Jasper National Park in Alberta,

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

and then along the glacier highway to Banff National Park.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Out of the parks and back into the plains by Calgary.

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Back into the United States brings us to Glacier National Park with its Going to the Sun Road and Many Glacier Region.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Further south is the Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Heading towards the western entrance to Yellowstone National Park we passed by Earthquake Lake.

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The highlights of Yellowstone include The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and its waterfalls,

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Old Faithful,

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numerous other Geothermal features,

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

but most of all the wildlife. Having just returned from Alaska the wildlife viewing here is even more spectacular.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Grand Teton National Park was just a short jaunt south of Yellowstone.

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Continuing east were stops at Wind Cave National Park, Mount Rushmore National Memorial and The Crazy Horse Memorial.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Badlands National Park was next on the agenda. This again was one of my mother’s favorite parks as it was a setting of many of her historical fiction novels she liked to read.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Into Minnesota with a stop at Pipestone National Monument.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Down to Iowa and Effigy Mounds National Monument.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Some heavy miles going east we made one final stop at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park.

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A visit to my aunt and uncle in Cohoes, New York and then home. It was good to see New England and home after many months on the road but the memories of the trip will last a life time. My parents would both pass in a few years and I was glad I could give them this trip in their final years.

Yellowstone National Park – Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is America’s first national park and one of its crown jewels. This park has so much to see and do you could spend a week here every year and still find something new each time. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone with its waterfalls, Old Faithful and the bubbling mud pots and other geo-thermal features. In addition to the physical attractions Yellowstone is a prime location for viewing wildlife. Because of its national park protective status the animals are not hunted and are not nervous around people or traffic. Wolves, bears (both black and grizzly), and any number of ungulates are easily seen.

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Yellowstone sits atop a supervolcano which means the fiery molten core of the earth lies dangerously close to the surface. This results in numerous geo-thermal features throughout the park,

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

the most famous of course is Old Faithful.

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The Yellowstone River cuts its way through the park carving out the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and leaving behind some spectacular waterfalls.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Although you can no longer fish at fishing bridge you can still observe the cutthroat trout spawning.

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Fires ripped through Yellowstone in 1988 and almost destroyed the famous Old Faithful Lodge.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Catch the sunset on Mount Washburn as you scan the horizon for bighorn sheep and rocky mountain goats.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Yellowstone Lake is ideal for fishing and boating.

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I have traveled from Maine to Alaska and found no place better for viewing wildlife then Yellowstone. Believe it or not one of the most dangerous animals in the park are the bison,

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

although the bears should not be taken for granted.

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The wolves will not bother you but are spectacular to watch looking down into the Hayden Valley.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Ungulates abound you can easily see elk,

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

moose,

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

bighorn sheep,

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

and other small mammals.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Yellowstone is a park that will suit any interest in the natural world.

Devils Tower National Monument – Devils Tower, Wyoming

Devils Tower is a butte composed of igneous rock in the Bear Lodge Ranger District of the Black Hills in Crook County, Wyoming. It rises 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River, standing 867 feet from summit to base. The summit is 5,112 feet above sea level. Devils Tower was the first United States national monument, established on September 24, 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt. The monument’s boundary encloses an area of 1,347 acres.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Leigh Creek Monument Historical Marker – Ten Sleep, Wyoming

The Leigh Creek Historical Marker is located in Ten Sleep, Wyoming and commemorates the memory of English nobleman Gilbert E. Leigh. Leigh, a lifelong big game hunter and outdoor enthusiast, went missing in the fall of 1884 during a hunting expedition, after a lengthy search his dead body was discovered where he had fallen from a cliff. A monumented was erected in his memory.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Grand Teton National Park – Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park is in northwestern Wyoming. At approximately 310,000 acres the park includes the major peaks of the 40-mile-long Teton Range as well as most of the northern sections of the valley known as Jackson Hole. Grand Teton National Park is only 10 miles south of Yellowstone National Park, to which it is connected by the National Park Service-managed John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. Along with surrounding national forests, these three protected areas constitute the almost 18,000,000-acre Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, one of the world’s largest intact mid-latitude temperate ecosystems.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos

Be sure to check out the cowboy town of Jackson Hole.

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New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos