DgsOregon's Blog

March 31, 2011

Good Bye to Dexter.

Filed under: Dexter,Friends & Misc. — dgsoregon @ 11:21 am

Dexter left us on January 12th, 2011. His cancer became too much for him ( or us ). We were so lucky to have him as long as we did, since he was given 6 weeks in March 2010.  He is missed by all that knew him.

Dexter Jones 1/17/2001 - 1/12/2011

Advertisements

January 23, 2010

Canada and Alaska Posts

Filed under: Canada and Alaska,travel — dgsoregon @ 12:38 am

Hole-lly Mole-lly, well thats what they said in their e-mail. What they wanted to know was how many pictures and how many words was the 7  sections on my trip. Well with 1 finger typing and retyping you could lay each word end to end and they would cover the 7700 miles I traveled and back. Ok,  maybe it just feels that way. Last count  there were 19, 077 words and 317 Photos. Anyway thanks for asking.

January 5, 2010

My Summer Vacation Part 7 (:>)! Yes, we are near the end!

Filed under: Alaska,Canada,Canada and Alaska,travel — dgsoregon @ 11:18 pm
Tags: , ,

Part 7 of 7 … Please see parts 1,2,3,4,5, and six. Part #1 starts as of May 26th, 2009. You might have to go to the Archives to locate Parts 1, 2 or 3.  Look in Sept for #1, October for 2 & 3, 2 may be hooked to the bottom of 3. I know, I’ll try to get it fixed. You might try this links it puts all the sections on one page : 

http://en.wordpress.com/tag/canada-and-alaska/

This part of my Alaska-Canada trip will be the last part of my travels, so far it has  been even better than I expected, maybe a little more rain than anticipated  and not doing the two bigger hikes, Berg Mountain and the Kilkoot trail was disappointing. Over all it was an amazing, interesting, fun, tiring at times anda little lonely at times. More on that at the end, but for now let’s get onto Prince Rupert.

June 18th,

As I travel farther south I notice that the nights are now dark from about 12 am to 4 am. That makes for a lot better sleeping.  Last night I pulled off the highway and really did get a good nights sleep, must be getting used to sleeping in a shorter bed, the mosquitoes were not bad here either. Up and on the road by 6 am and around  6:30 am I come to this building which seems to be the place to hang or place a sign. It is a  sign of the times and economy, the building across the highway is for sale too.  

 

A couple more miles down the road I come this small pond which had a very reflective view to it.  Than a few more miles I come this larger reflective pond which the photo does not really show its magic. I sat around here for a while snacking and drinking in its magic.

 

Next I come  to the small Indian town of Kitwanga at the junction of Highway 16.  Here I can go either east  to Prince George or west to Prince Rupert. After taking this photo of their church and the strange building next to it I go west towards Rupert.  The highway follows the Skeena River all the way to Prince Rupert.

 

 I arrive in Prince (Cloudy) Rupert around 3:30 pm and locate the tourist center. They have a wi-fi internet connection so set up and take care of some e-mails. After that I walk about the area a bit, but it is very crowded at that time as a Cruise Ship just docked and passengers were getting off to look around. I decided to go back up the highway and get a camp site at the State camp grounds that I passed on the way in.

 

After getting set up and having a bit of dinner I drove back into town. I tried to get on the internet by parking in front of the Information center which was closed now, but the connection was not on. Eagles were flying about town and tourist including me were trying to get a photo of them. It was a little hard with the dimming light and gray sky back ground, but I managed to grab  few good photos.

 

Later I picked up a few supplies at the local Safeway store, located a car wash for tomorrow and headed back to the camp grounds in the rain. It continued to drizzle all night, but it was dark by 11am so I slept well again this time in my tent, dry and no mosquitoes. http://www.bellsalaska.com/prince_rupert.html

June 19th.

In the morning I went back into Prince Rupert and walked about town while it was not raining. I  found the do it yourself car wash again and gave the Jeep a good cleaning. I asked about a full service car wash, but apparently they do not have one. Down by the docks again I took this photo of a small deer ( or reindeer) walking up the sidewalk across the street. The other photo is of Rupert’s main downtown street. After that I went to the library and used their internet connection.

 

It has been raining steady now for about 2 hours and I’m out of here. I going to head back towards Prince George, but first I stop at Port Edwards a very small town not far from Prince Rupert. There was Indian fishing (cannery) village a little ways out of Port Edward, but again I changed my mind, it now was pouring down rain. So I turned around, now I wish I hadn’t. Hind sight is always so damn good.  http://web.mac.com/andrewcthamilton/iWeb/NPC/welcome.html  Soon I was moving away from the rain. I stopped and took this photo of Skeena River again. ( I liked the cow on the right side). Stopped for a few minutes in Terrace for some photos and was able to get a cell phone connection so I called home, good to hear Anne’s voice and that everything was OK  there. We all have seen the colored cows from a few years ago, Terrace had this Colored Bear.

I came upon this church kind of sitting along the road side, clean and white enjoying its own view. A couple minutes later I stopped and helped a lady change a tire and felt lucky it wasn’t my tire. That tire was hot, she had driving  on it for several miles thinking she could get home, another 10 miles. Luckey she had a spare. The country side is changing to rolling hills and cattle land. I came through a small Indian town and saw this sad and shocking sign of  young hitchhiking girls being murdered. At around 9 pm I took the photo of the old farm-house,  I thought it looked best in sepia coloring.  Once again I drove until about 10 pm and then pulled off the road and slept in the Jeep. Out of Rain now and a bit warmer too. Total miles traveled as of tonight 6,546.

 

June 20th,

Weather looks great and I’m on the road early looking for breakfast place, but first I come the a small museum at the edge of a town called Vanderhoof, because of the early hour, it is not open yet, but I stop and look around and take a few photos. Highway #16 runs from Prince Rupert BC, Canada to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and is called the Yellowhead Highway.  

 

The Royal Bank of Canada building on the left, and a very interesting old road grader that was made to be pulled by horses. There were several other buildings and pieces of equipment. Next I had on my list to see was Fort St James first established in 1806  and headquarters for the  Hudson’s Bay Post for the New Caledonia district. (Lewis and Clark were just getting back in 1806, {1803-1806}). It was only a few miles North of Vanderhoof.

http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/bc/stjames/index.aspx

 

 

Top Left “Hudson’s Bay Flag”, right “The Old Warehouse”, bottom left pelts of fox, coyote, wolf, bear and many others for display. On the right is a room that a hunter, traveler or fur trader might use for a night. This was a very interesting place and super nice people running and caring for it. After spending a couple hours there I wanted next to see Stuart Lake which was supposed to be a very beautiful lake and has a couple camp grounds near by.  On the way I stop at Stuart River and the North West Mounted Police for pictures. No statue of Sargent Preston’s Dog, “Yukon King”

 

After driving about town for a few minutes I head for the camp grounds and I’m not disappointed in the beauty of the area. I was very lucky to find a campsite  right on the lakes edge.

 

The rest of the day I just relaxed, cleaned up a bit, walked and drove to a few sites around town. Canadians are tough people, they were fishing, swimming, jet boating and water skiing on the lake. The water was cold to me and the temperature was only about 60 to 65 degrees. A light breeze keep the bugs away, Yea.

 

 June 21st,

That was a very nice camp site, peaceful, quiet and very private, I really enjoyed my afternoon and morning there and all for $10.00. What a deal! On the way through Vanderhoof I stopped at a “Tim Horton’s” for a quick breakfast, very much like a Mc Donald’s. I had the egg and sausage like McDonald’s breakfast, I like McDonald’s better. Tim Horton’s uses a fluffier muffin or biscuit and their sausage is a bit spicier, much more like Burger Kings. The photo of the rock, this is called the talking rock. The locals  change the message from time to time,  you can see other messages at this link. http://www.stuartnechako.ca/gallery/fort-st-james/The%20Talking%20Rock/    A few more miles down the road and I spotted a deer in a grassy field, I went over to the fence and started taking some pictures, when I noticed this Doe had a very young fawn hidden in the grass. She kept watching me take photos, but finally decided to move. I got back in Jeep and went to the next intersecting road and stopped watched her again. Now I spotted another doe get up from the grass and move about 15 feet and stopped and stared at me.  The first photo is when the first doe started to move with her fawn behind her, the next one she was jumping over the grass. ( I call her the Kangaroo Deer ) and the third photo she is crossing the road ahead of me with her fawn. The fawn does not look like a happy camper.  Next the second doe and I had a starring contest, she did not move for 15 or 20 minutes, stood there like she was frozen to the spot, she than started to turn her head back and forth looking at me than right and then left. This went on for another 10 or 15 minutes. She than moved back the 15 feet she first moved from and I could see a head of a fawn between her back legs nursing. She still didn’t move, just watched me. I was able to get  another fair photo with the fawn near her front legs. I didn’t want to advance towards her and scare her with such a young baby. I’m guessing the baby fawn was born sometime during the night. Most of these deer photos were taken with my Zoom maxed out to about 300 mm.

 

  

 

A few hours later I at stop at an information site about Ft. Frazer and notice I’m being watched by these two beautiful work horses. I can now feel myself getting anxious to get home, only another day away if I step on it a bit. I am now on highway 99. I decided to take highway 99  because I liked the idea of coming by Whistler, north of Vancouver and not covering much of the same road I traveled on my first day from Vancouver to Hope.

 

The highway is now following the Frazer River and then the Lillooet River. Photo on the left is the Frazer and the photo on the right above is of the town of Lillooet. I stopped in Lillooet and gassed up and then continued to drive until about 8 pm. I then pulled off the road near the Lillooet River for my last night on the road. I have now traveled  7111 miles.

June 22nd,

Up early again and on the road to Pemberton at resort town for winter skiers and summer outdoor fans. I stopped for breakfast there at a small restaurant and it was very good.  This a small town of about 2500 people nestled in the  mountains not far from Whistler,  Canada’s biggest West Coast Ski area and where the 2010 Olympics  is going to be held. http://www.pemberton.ca/  The photo below is the Pemberton Lodge, and my last nights camp area. I continued south soaking up the beauty of the area. When I reached Whistler I could see they were working hard and fast to get things ready for the Olympics. I drove around for a short while in what I called Condo city, than continued on south. The  photo on the bottom right below is from a sign explaining about Whistler, and with Whistler Mountain in the background. The Photo on the bottom left was taken from Pemberton, notice there is still snow on the  mountain.   http://www.whistler.com/about/ 

 

    

Soon I’m on the freeway heading towards Vancouver, but I make quick stop at Shannon Falls and then I pull into a boat a dock and get a photo of Horseshoe bay.

  

I find my way into Vancouver, stop and get gas with all the Canadian money I had left and then head for the border. The line at the Blaine crossing was only about 15 minutes long. Soon I was back in the Lower 48.

 

I now know my way home, straight south down I-5  and by about 7:30 pm I was home again in Beaverton, Oregon USA having a nice glass of wine with my lovely wife.

I traveled about 7700 miles, over 500 miles on gravel roads and I would do it again without thinking about it. My Jeep held up as if it were new ( but it really has over 115,000 miles on it ) and I quess that’s why we have owned  three Jeeps in a row.  So that’s my great adventure for 2009, I enjoyed it and I hope you enjoy reading and seeing some of it. I really hope it inspires some of you to think about a trip like this, it can be done in many ways other than I did. Alaska and Canada our friends to the north live in a beautiful part of the country. I only touched a small section of either one, so get you map out and start planning for a great adventure. 

 A few more thoughts later. Please drop me a note or write a comment. Thanks

December 26, 2009

My Summer Vacation Part 6 (:>)!

Filed under: Canada and Alaska — dgsoregon @ 11:36 pm
Tags: , ,

Part 6 of 7…  June 14th. through June 17th.

Check out parts 1,2,3, 4 and 5… Part 1 starts as of May 26th, 2009

You might have to go to the Archives ( in the right side column ) to locate part 1,2 or 3

June 14th, 2009

Haines Alaska,  http://www.bellsalaska.com/haines.html )

 It  rained lightly mostly all night. First thing in the morning I drove around town for a few minutes to get the lay of the land. Haines is not very big, you can cover most of it in about 10 minutes. Those clouds were still hanging low on the bay ( Lynn’s Canal) and once again I thought about a boat trip to see some glaciers and Orca’s. It felt so good to sleep in a bed that I got up too late for the early boats, but I was still hoping for better weather, at least some clearing so I could get some good photos. I drove out to Chilkat Lake about 6 or 7 miles and took some photo’s. It is a big lake and very well situated between the mountains.

On the way back from the lake I came by the ferry docks and checked on  ferris to Skagway. Signed up for the 8:30 pm ferry to Skagway. The weather seemed  improving for a boat trip, but I was holding out for sun, plus I’ve  now missed the afternoon trip for a 4 hour boat ride.   By taking a ferry to Skagway I would save about 350 miles and 7 or 8 hours driving time. The cost was about $75.00. That turned out to well worth it. I than drove out to an Eagles nesting area to see if  I could get a few pictures of some eagles, other than the two or three I had seen flying overhead. One of  the reasons I came to Haines was to see Eagles, so far pretty much a big Zero as far as seeing any Eagles in Haines.  None out there either, but I did find out they are mostly there in September and October. So I headed back to Haines and looked about town.

 

 

Ft. William H. Seward  http://www.fortsewardalaska.com/  was active here from 1902 untill the end of the second World war. After that it was empty for a while and then several Private individuals ( Veterans )  bought it around 1947. It didn’t quite turn out as they had hoped, but most stuck it out and today it is a Historic Site, a Victorian Hotel and Restaurant. I had Lunch at a very nice restaurant down on the Bay, than wandered around for a few more hours and then drove back out to the docks and got in Line for the ferry to Skagway at 7:00pm, Ferry was to leave at 8:30pm. While waiting for the ferry, I met a couple of guys riding bikes through Alaska and Canada. They worked for the Norwegian Cruise Lines in Seattle and were from Holland. Very interesting fellows and I could see the girls thought so too, tall, blonde, blue eyes,  had an accent,  and the black leather suits helped fell in the look.

 

A Local Totem near the bay and a Nice Older Gardening Couple. (;>)

 

The only bird I was able to get a close up photo of  today. On the right is a War Memorial for the Local Native Indians.

 

A Carnival Cruise Ship cruising the Bay/Canal on the left and the ferry I was going to be taking to Skagway on the right  ( The Mariposa ).  Soon we were boarding and by about 9:00pm we were in the canal heading for Skagway. Most people stayed inside as it was pretty cool on deck. The photo on the right is the Skagway Docks.

 

The ferry ride to Skagway was interesting, but free of much excitement. We arrived there about 10:30 pm and I headed straight for the camp to get my tent set up. It had stopped drizzling now for several hours, but knew the camp area had to be wet yet. The Chilkoot Trail Campgrounds  and camp was about 7 or 8 miles out of Skagway near the old town of Dyea. After a couple drives through the camp I picked a spot,  got set up and hit the sack.

June 15th,

http://www.skagway.com/

Note; { I’ve enlarged some of the photo’s from this point forward if you click on them, Learning as I go}

Nice camp grounds with good privacy between each camp. Good table and Benches, fire pits and clean too. As I ‘m starting to pack the Jeep up to go into town the camp hosts come by to collect the fee. Small World, Jim and Judy are from Beaverton Oregon ( as I am ). This was their  third or fourth year of hosting . We talked about their work and my trip, plus what to see and not see in Skagway. They have hiked about 5 or 6 miles up the Chilkoot trail and told me where to go to register in Skagway. They also told me a Grizzly bear was wondering around the camp last night and they chased it out with the 4×4. I didn’t hear thing.

 

The camp hosts said not to miss the Forest Services talk on the old town of Dyea and told me how to get there, which was not far from the camp. The photo on th right above is where the old town built a dock going out into the Taiya River. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyea,_Alaska  The Ranger showed up right on time , ( 11 am) a very nice young man who really seemed to enjoy his job. About 4 people showed up and he walked us round where the Old town was built and made us believe we could still see it.  Dyea was a competing with Skagway for the gold rushers. By coming to Dyea by boat they could save several miles of hauling their supplies over the Chilkoot Trail to White Horse. When the railroad came to Skagway a few years later, they could take the train to White Horse. Much easier and then there wasn’t any need for Dyea any longer. The only piece of Dyea not claimed by the years is this Old Store front.

 

I stopped by the towns old cemetary on the way out, didn’t stay long. Not because of Ghosts, but mosquitoes, talk  about bad. The head stone for this fellow says 1898. On the way into town I stopped at the Chilkoot Trail head and walked up the trail a small ways. The trail head starts right near a bridge and while I’m over at the Trail Head Signs and Sign-In Box  about 25 yards from the Bridge and Trail, I glanced over to my right and here come  two Young Grizzly Bears running across the bridge towards me. I thought well that’s it they’re going to eat me, but instead they made a hard left and went running up the trail. Well of course my cameras were in the Jeep, so no picture, but any photo would have so blurry from me shaking , it most likely wouldn’t have been much anyway.  From that time on I didn’t leave the Jeep very far without with my Bear Spray! After I changed my underwear ( LOL ) I thought to myself,  if I  had been 10 minutes earlier I might have met those two bears on the trail! Glad I stopped by the cemetary to check it out.  As I start to leave a van pulls up and 5 hikers hop out with all their gear. I wait a few minutes, grab my Bear Spray and go over and talk to them. Two gals and three guys packed to the hilt with all the needed gear for the 33 mile hike. They figured to take 5 or 6 days to make it to the railroad pickup to get back to Skagway. Snow shoes, crampons and good rain gear was most important. After about 11 miles the trail starts up the mountain and then at 18 miles they come to what’s called the golden staircase. At about 15 miles from the start they will most likely be in snow and ice almost to the end. I told them about the two bears I had seen just a few minutes before. They had a couple of  bear bells attached to their packs and each person had two cans of bear spray.  I helped a couple of them on with their heavy packs and off they went up the trail. They all were Canadians from Alberta.   Next I  headed  into Skagway, on the way in I spot this Bald Eagle sitting up in a tree over looking the River. I finely get a decent photo of a Bald Eagle.

After taking  several photo’s of the Eagle I drove into Skagway. Skagway is not a very big town, has one main street mostly to serve the Tourist that arrive by car, van or ship. Their biggest crowds come from the Cruise Ships. When the cruise ships pull in for a 4 to 6 hour stop the town fills up fast. I got into town around  1:30 pm and went directly to Ranger/Forest Service office to get information on the Chilkoot Trail. One must register and pay a fee of  $53.50.  The Rangers discouraged me in going by myself, not because of the Bears, although they are an issue. Weather conditions are still considered almost winter this time of year with lots of rain and snow at the higher elevations.  A person might not see anyone for several days and any amount of new snow on the trail could make it hard to follow. They were aware of the 5 that just left today and said 3 were ahead of them three days and unless someone else walks in today or tomorrow, no one is pre-registered for the next 4 days. So  if I had to stop for some reason the next person or persons up the trail would be four days behind me.  They really did not want me as a single hiker out there, but would not stop me. I had till 5 pm to make up my mind today. So it wondered about town, and had some lunch.

 

I had some great food and beer at the Skagway Brewing Co and Pub, the 1964 Cad is for rent for guided trips around town.

   

The most popular place for food and beer was the Red Onion, Standing room only ( after you got in ). The Brother Hood Hall constructed with drift wood mosaic on the front was sort of interesting. The gals with the horses will taxi you about town for a fare. The old-time buses take tourists for sight-seeing trips around Skagway.

 

I spent about 2 hours in the Skagway  museum, a very interesting and fascinating place.  The picture of the Army trucks coming through I thought was Interesting since we think of Skagway mostly as the Gold Rush town. I continued thinking about  the Chilkoot Trail and whether I should go or not.   I was just not prepared for the weather and snow factor here or at Mt. Robson, but I would wait until tomorrow to make my final decision. As I drove back towards  the  camp and I spotted another eagle sitting in a tree top. Now have traveled 5040 miles.

 

June 16th.,

Drizzled all night , that helped me make up my mind about the Chilkoot trail. I just didn’t feel hiking for 4, 5 or 6 days in the rain in area I did not know well, besides I don’t take good Photos in the rain. Packed up a wet tent and headed into Skagway. On the way I came across three people on bikes, one man and two women. The man waved me down and wanted to know if I could take his mother back into Skagway. They had come in on a Cruise ship and decided to take bike trip to Dyea, but his mother was getting very tired. So put her bike on top of the Jeep and we headed for Skagway., she was from New York and about 78 years of age. On the way in she now spotted an Eagle so we stopped and took some photos. I never knew an eagle could turn its head 180 degrees, but look it the eagle in the left photo.

 

After our picture-taking I dropped her off at the bike rental shop in Skagway and headed north on Highway 2 towards Whitehorse the Capital of the Yukon. As I reach the summit coming out of Skagway I come to this beautiful small lake called “Tutshi” nestled in near pass. Still gray and drizzled all the way to Whitehorse. I tried the city library for an internet connection,  but could not get onto their system for some unknown reason.  I stopped at this Plane on a tower. This is the worlds largest weather vane, this DC3 airplane turns with the wind, amazing and it is fully refurbished  its original colors and numbers. Built in 1946 and flew until 1970, over 31,500 hours. Thats like flying 24 hours a day for  1.313 days.

    

After eating and getting gas I head back out on the road, I would really like to get out of this rain. After leaving Whitehorse I crossed the Continental Divide and then turned South on Highway 37  I drove until about 10:30pm.  Earlier  I had checked a BC camp site at Boya Lake, not very private, good views of the lake, but the misquotes were big enough to carry a child off and very hungry. So I pulled of the road and went up a small hill to get some breeze and away from the water, misquotes not  bad in this small gravel diggings area. I now seem to be out of the rain  so I layed out all my wet stuff from last night, eat dinner and crashed.   

June 17th,

Up Early and on the road again, I had been on Highway #1 ( Alcan )  since leaving Whitehorse and before tuning onto Highway 37.  That was a section of the Alcan  that I missed on the way north, because I took highway #4 out of Watson Lake.  The weather is looking much better for today. Suns out and it seems much warmer, ahead I  can see the Cassiar Highway Mountain ranges.  http://explorenorth.com/library/roads/hwy37.html

 

The Cassiar Highway is a gorgeous drive, Snow Capped Mountains, Lakes and Rivers around every turn.

 

The above Photos show a Jade Mine and the Cassiar Jade Store, Canadian Jade is very well thought of and can be very expensive. The Princess Jade Mine about 90 miles from this store supplies about 75 percent of the worlds jade supply! I didn’t know that, did you ? After spending lots of time and a little money at the Jade Store I continued south. In a few miles I came to a Cassiars First Native cemetary and found it very interesting.  I hope they didn’t mind me taking pictures. A few more miles and the very pointed Mountain came into view. Its name is Needle Point, fits very well.

 

The rest of afternoon was very scenic and pleasing to the eye, and an easy drive, but not good for photos. Too many trees close  to the highway and they blocked the view for good picture-taking. I’m not sure where I came upon the horse alongside the road, but he looked like a mustang , short strong and long, long tail. I think the white on his forehead was painted or dyed, still a pretty horse with a wild look. He was with several others, not tethered or fenced. The Photo of the Sign talks about the early days of a telegraph from Vancouver BC to Dawson City in the Yukon and it worked for about 30 years.

  

About 7:30 pm I come around a corner and there on the side of road is a beautiful Brown Grizzly bear. I had to drive past it since I was so close to the corner and was afraid it would run off, but it didn’t. I hopped out of the Jeep and started taking Photos, it moved fast across the road and started running up the hill-side when I noticed I had the camera set wrong. Damm, I had stopped earlier and had used the camera on a manual setting and for single shots only. I was now trying to use it as if it was on automatic. The best chance I have had for a great Photo of a Grizzly Bear. Bummer. But, these three are not too bad. That bear moved so fast all I got were  nine shots as fast as I could before it disappeared into the brush at the top of the road side hill.  

 

You can see how fast and powerful those bears are, that is a very steep hillside and it’s going full blast up it. I found a place off the road again for tonight, weather was nice today, but clouds are gathering as I get closer to the coast. Have now traveled 5809 miles and the  Jeep needs a good cleaning again. Haven’t washed it since Anchorage. Not only is it dirty on the outside and dusty on the inside, I think there about inch of mosquitoes that I’ve killed on the floor.  More photos at www.donsiebelphotography.com { New Section }

November 24, 2009

Part # 5 My Summer Vacation (:>)!

Filed under: Alaska,Canada and Alaska — dgsoregon @ 12:19 am
Tags: , ,

Part 5 of 7 …

Check out parts 1,2,3 and 4. Part 1 starts as of May 26th, 2009

June 10th, 2009

Suns out and looking like another good day. Soon I’m at a place called Coopers Landing, I am now on Highway #1 North of Homer about 100 miles. What beautiful country this is.

I came to a road that went to the town “Kenai” eleven miles off the highway and wish now I had taken that road to see the Kenai Peninsula. Well I just have to go back. There are a hundred places I wish I had visited or stayed a bit longer. But, I was a lucky guy to see and go where I did. I came to area that was looking over the Cook Inlet nearer Homer and could see Mt. Redoubt the Volcano across the inlet. I’ll put the best picture up here, but it is not very clear. Yes, there is a plume of ash rising from it. Look Hard.

 

Soon I could see Homer and the Famous Homer spit. The road takes one straight out on the spit where all the restaurants, shops, docks and fishing boats are. A bit windy that afternoon, but over all a very nice day. Thought I had better have a Halibut lunch since I’m at the Halibut Capital. Picked good looking restaurant and had very nice Fish and Chips Lunch. After lunch I walked around and took some pictures. The Salty Dawg Saloon was closed for some reason, so I didn’t get to check it out.  Watched some fellows cleaning fish for a while, looked like they each has a fairly good catch.

 

There were quite few people fishing in a small inlet off the Spit. I watched for about 1/2 hour but did not see anyone land a fish. http://www.akms.com/

Now here were some Halibut, they were weighing the big one and it came to about 150 pounds. The woman who caught it was standing next to it and she was about 5 1/2 feet tall and it was still bigger than her. You can see her standing the right of the fish in a Yellow sweater.  The record there is 450 pounds, I can’t imagine the size of that fish! I walked around a bit more and almost wished I was a fisherman. I can see this little town will really come alive when the fish start coming in soon.

  

The photo above shows people fishing the other side of the inlet. Than I came across this Ice Cream place, really liked the building. Stopped at a Russian church to take a couple photos. Not an Old Russian like you might find a little farther north say in Sitka. I enjoy the drive back North and then south towards Seward and find a nice camp just north Seward. On the way there I come by Kenai Lake, What a beautiful Lake. Miles traveled now 3946. Averaging 22.4 mph.

 

June 11th , 2009

After a good nights sleep I head for Seward and the Exit glacier. Weather is over cast, and it was doing the Oregon Drizzle, not great for taking photos, plus it is a bit cool ( 55 degrees and windy ). I was a bit disappointed with the glacier, maybe it was the weather. One was able to get up pretty close and there was trail that took one higher up on the glacier, but it was in the fog, so I skipped it. I should not have done that since I was right there and had the time. The Exit glacier is only one of a few glaciers that you can drive right to:  http://www.nps.gov/kefj/index.htm

  

After the Exit glacier I headed for Seward. Was thinking about taking a boat trip from there to see some Glaciers and hopefully some Orca’s. But again the weather was a bit on the low cloud side.  Once in Seward I went to an internet Cafe and got on-line to catch up my e-mails. After that I walked about town and took some pictures, Seward has many murals painted on their buildings. Seward is a very nice small town and looks like it is  depends on the tourist trade. I checked at the dock about the weather, but the forecast was not good. Tomorrow was going to be cloudy, windy and rain. I either had to go in the rain, wait it out or move on. Not being one for staying put I took off back North  towards Anchorage.

 

The photo of the fish above is a little out-of-place, I took this nearer Anchorage. I saw some natives fishing on the river and went down to see what they were catching with their nets. They called them hooligans (we call the Smelt here in Oregon) they look very much alike.

http://www.sewardak.org/

 

The photo above is of Jeremy Lake South of Anchorage. The weather there was beautiful and the scenery could not have more perfect. A few miles north again and started sprinkling and was very cloudy.

  

Another drop dead gorgeous view near Jeremy Lake. The last picture of the day was taken about 9:15pm of a glacier that I believe was coming from the Marcus Baker Mountains. I stopped briefly in Anchorage for gas and then headed east on highway 1 (ALCAN HWY) towards Tok. I pulled off the highway around 10 pm and slept in the jeep again that night.

June 12th, 2009

I awoke about midnight and took this photo of a Coyote standing in front of the Jeep. As you can see there was still was plenty of light. He wondered around a bit looking a bit like he didn’t see the Jeep. Than he slowly moved towards the back of the Jeep where my food chest was, so opened the window of the Jeep and yelled at him. I thought he was going to jump right out of his fur. I don’t think he came around again that night, but I still put the food chest up on top of the Jeep.

 

June 12th, 2009

I came upon the next three photo’s during the day at some point. All have a message for someone. Maybe that person will see this Blog/story and get a little smile.

  

Once again I was back in Tok Alaska, but now I was heading southeast not northwest. I think this is about where I really felt I was heading back home. Shortly after leaving Tok for the second time I came upon a fairly large pond that I spotted a beaver at work. He or she was not happy that I was there taking pictures. It would go to the far end of the pond when it could see me. When I moved around the pond to see if  I could  get a better shot it would slap it’s tail on the water, dive and swim to the opposite side.  Finely it went way over to a corner where I couldn’t see it. Thus leaving me alone with the mosquitoes who seemed to really like people from the USA.

 

Soon I was back at the Border again entering Canada’s Yukon.  Stopped at a couple of camping spots looking for place with shower but none seemed to be equiped with them and not very good spots for tents. They did have a lot of mosquitoes. Finally I pulled of the road into a Gravel Pit and crashed in the back of the Jeep. After killing a few thousand mosquitoes I got a pretty goods nights sleep. Total miles now traveled  4593.

June 13th, 2009

 

 

The photo above left is what the view looked like in the morning , than I came upon this Memorial to a First  Native Indian. This was a very interesting spot and the person doing the carvings was very good. These  three Photos are a small amount of stone and wood craving done or in progress.

 A few  miles afer leaving the Native memorial I pull over to check my map as I am now coming to a very large lake. ( Kluane Lake  Klune National Park BC . While looking at my map I glance ahead just  in time to see two small grizzly bears cut across the road ahead of me. They were moving towards the lake, but I was able to get a couple photos, not great but ok. The last bear spotted me and then sped up to the other and into the brush they went. I drove down to where they entered the brush and followed a 4×4 trail for  ways, but no sign of them.

 

Shortly after seeing the bears I met some people from Texas at a pull out. Wish I had taken a picture of the rig they had. A newer RV about 35 feet long with New Ford 4×4  3/4 or 1 ton four door pickup being pulled with two 4X4 off road vehicles stacked on the trucks bed.  They had three children and had been on the road for 3 months and planned on traveling for nine months. When I mentioned that I had just seen a couple grizzly bears about 1/2 mile back the lady rounded kids and made them get in the RV. These last 50 miles or so has been gravel again and one has to watch out for not only wildlife,  but wild gravel truck drivers flying down the middle of the road. Just south past Haines Junction where highway 1 and 3 meet I came to Dezadeash Lake on Highway 3.

 

A few more miles down the road I came to a sign that said;  Native Village.  Not sure of the name. I drove down the dirt road and could see small poorly constructed homes. I do not know how they would keep them warm in the winter. Income for this village looks far below average for the area. As I drove through the village housing I only saw a few people.

 

Back on the road and heading south towards Haines the town I once again cross from the Yukon in to BC Canada. As I approach some of the most Beautiful Mountain scenery I come upon the Moose in the above photo. I believe it thought it was a race horse, he or she even had that proud look of a race horse and this Moose could run. I was trying to get this photo as it ran about 25 to 30 miles per hour up the road. The next two photos are from the summit before dropping down to bay at Haines.

 I locate a Motel ( The Thunderbird ), check in and grab my dirty cloths and find a laundry. After a couple hours at the laundry mat I find the locale grocery store and resupply my food. Pick up an extra quart of milk and a package of raisin cookies go back to the motel, shower, shave, eat cookies and watch TV.  

Continues with part # 6

More Photos at www.donsiebelphotography.com

November 3, 2009

Part # 4 My Summer Vacation (:>) !

Filed under: Alaska,Canada,Canada and Alaska — dgsoregon @ 12:19 am
Tags: , ,

Part 4 of  7…

 Check out Part 1 , 2, and 3. ..Part 1 starts as of May 26th. 2009

June 6th, 2009

Don  I’m running a little behind getting this all posted, so please check back from time to time.  ( Oh Yes, I just turned 70 today, maybe that’s why I’m behind.)… Miles traveled now 2756.

Camp052006062009Blog Miningcamp026206062009blog

Stayed at a Alaska State Camp ground last night, cold up here and it did rain a little during the night.  A couple from Roseburg, Oregon or it might have been Grants Pass runs the Camp Ground during the summer. Only about 6 people camped here, mostly RV’s. Yesterday was a big day, Dawson City, Top of the World Hwy and Border crossing. Off to Chicken Alaska today and points Northwest.  First I come across several Gold Mining operations with BIG Signs saying stay out some with Skull and Bones. Most have  American Flags at the Road.  Soon I can see the town or buildings of Chicken Alaska.  http://www.chickenak.com/   The road since the USA border has been gravel again. ChickenAlaska

 chickenAlaska0268-6062009blog Chicken053206062009Blog

I had some breakfast ( a frozen waffel-ugh ) and looked around, not a really a lot to see. They were still getting ready for this years tourists. Talked to one of the fellows working there about the mining dredge. They brought this one down here from Fairbanks. As I was looking at the mining buckets I notice the name “Columbia” on many of them. Back in the late 50′ and early 60’s ( that’s 1950″s LOL ) I worked at Columbia Steel Casting Co  in Portland.  I might have helped  build  these  or parts for some of these buckets. The fellow I was talking to thought they were made in Columbia, South America.

Derage278Blog ColMiningbucket0531060609web

Most of the day it was drive and drive towards the road to Cantwell, but first I  have to go through “TOK”.  All Roads from western Canada and the Yukon go through Tok. Yes that is true and you can’ t drive out Alaska to Canada without going through TOK.  Now one would think that Tok would be a big busy hub, not so.  http://www.tokalaskainfo.com/ After Tok I head up the ALCAN  Highway #2 on pavement again to Delta Junction. Between Tok and Delta Junction I come the Robertson River still with Ice in it and then a Mother Moose and an older calf crossing the road. The next photo is one of my favorite Photos. This Moose MOM and 2 calves. I spent about 3/4 of hour waiting for her to trust me so she could take her babes across the road. When I first spotted them one of the calves was stepping out of the woods. I stopped the Jeep and began to watch, Mom came out shoved the calve back into the woods. They stayed there for about 1o minutes a few feet into the woods, than she came out again by herself, starred at me looked up and down the highway. She than went back in the woods and pushed the two calves out. Than she lead them along the woods ahead of me ( I was standing in front the Jeep). She stopped for a moment than turned to cross the highway, both watching me and for any other cars or trucks. The calves stayed right by her side or back. Once across she looked back at me and they moved fast into the woods. I understand they have twins fairly often, its known as one and spare. Wolves or big cats  will attack and sometimes Mom has to leave one to save the other. Sad but true.  

SnowRiver056106062009Blog MomMoose35906062009blogA

MooseMom2babys0304060609blog

That was really fascinating to observe. Several cars came by, but didn’t stop while she was making up her mind to get across the highway. At Delta Junction I got some gas and some food for the cooler and  me, a nice big deli sandwich. From Delta I now head south on Hwy 4,  North takes you Fairbanks, but I’m heading to “Paxson” and road #8 ” Denali Hwy” which goes cross-country to Highway #3 that will get me to Denali. Road 8 is another gravel road that is closed in the winter.  Just south of Delta Junction I see the Alaska Pipe Line for the first time. Amazing to see it go as far as your eyes can see.

pipeline0328060609Blog   OilPipeLine0556060609Blog

At about 6pm I reach the turn off for Road 8, not too sure how this is going to go. Earlier in the day I had met a couple from Seattle that had bad luck on the road. He said they had gone about 10 miles on the gravel when their first tire blows out and decided to not go any farther. Changed the tire and went about 5 miles back and out went the spare.  Cost him little more than $500. for two tires to be brought out from Delta Junction.  The problem as I saw it was they were driving a small Saturn with street tires? Off I go 136 miles to Cantwell, the first few miles are paved, but then it turns to rough gravel, not fine stuff, but baseball size rock. Speed was about 15 mph. I can understand why that couple blew their tires. After a few miles of playing dodge the big rock it seemed to get a little better. Had to watch for chuck holes deep enough to bottom in. Now I know why they say NO trailers or low cars. Soon I come to some of the most beautiful landscape scenery of my trip.

Paxton057306062009Blog First Photo taken at  at 7:15 pm. Next 8:15 pm and the last two at 10 and 10:15 pm.   AlaskaMtRange0373060609Blog

Landscape039106062009blog LandscapeP039906062009Blog

Earlier I came upon this little fellow in the road and then I spotted these two Caribou.

Ppine0385 060609 2caribou058306062009blog

That night I drove until about 11 pm and then pulled up on a small knoll and watched the sun go down. I told Anne I would get a picture of the sun about Midnight.  Didn’t get a lot of sleep that night, slept in the front seat of the Jeep. Took the  photo below about 11:45 pm. The mountain shows almost black, but look at the sky. It was still very light out.

MidNightSun0440060709Ablog

June 7th, 2009

Did not sleep a lot that night. The next photo I took was at 12:24 am and then again at 4:45am.

MidnightSun0454060709Blog MorningLight061306072009Blog

I was up and moving by 4:30 am, after the photo above I came to this Beautiful Trumpet Swan at about 6 am.

 Swan0472060709Blog DenaliMt0633060709Web

About 8 am I was at the end of road 8 and ready to go north on Hwy 3 to Denali. It was the first time I was able to see  Mt McKinley (Denali). I did a spot check since I didn’t do one last night. To see what they look like click on the link and then the next link. It will take you to Google Maps. Very Interesting way to let people know where you are. Spot check at  hwy 8 and 3 http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=63.3904,-148.901&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1    Back on pavement again and heading north towards Denali.  I drove to the Park entrance get my pass and get signed up for a 6 am Bus ride to Wonder Lake about 60 miles into the Park. You cannot drive your car any farther than about 15 miles into the park. From there I head north to the town of  Healy. There I had some lunch and my first beer since I left on the trip. Both were very good. I ate at the Salmon Bake restaurant. There are several large and very nice lodges to stay at  and they cater to the Ships tourists that come in at Anchorage and want to see Denali. I head back south towards Cantwell and find reasonable Cabin for about $65.00. A bit small, but very clean at the Grizzly Bear Cabins. The cabin door was about 5 feet high, But once in it ok. Showers and toilet were separate in a another building close by.

Town0641 (2)Blog Town064306072009  Logde064706072009Blog

That night I went to bed early, had to be up again about 5 am to get to Denali and my Bus by 6 am. I’m hoping the weather holds out and I can see Denali and the Wilderness Park.

CabinDenali0637060709web (2) Cabin065106072009Blog  Denali0649060709Blog

June 8th, 2009

I’m at the Park by 5:45 am and it starts looking like there will be a lot of people on the bus.  A group of European  photo tourists are lining up and look like trouble, asking the park person a new question about every minute. Two buses pull up and I’m the third person on so I get a pick of the seats. The Europeans  get on the other bus. Our Bus was about 3/4 full. I sat about two-thirds the way to the back on the left side and had a seat to myself. These buses are like old school buses with windows that slide down from the top, but only half way. The bus driver introduces herself and gives instructions of what we can do and not do. As she pulls out to start the trip everyone is excited like a bunch of school kids. The bus trip is a less expensive way to do the trip, you can take a sight-seeing bus with air,fuzzy seats and guide. It was suggested to me by several people to take the school bus and go early and that was excellent advice. Yes, it was warm and sometimes dusty, but the driver made up it. She is not a guide like the fuzzy seater, but she has been doing this for over 10 years. She did try and fool us right of the bat. She said this was her first solo trip, and then said something like ” did anyone see if that sign said Wonder Lake? “. Later she as we came to a very sharp turn on a scary hillside she yelled out, My Glasses, My Glasses anybody know where they are. Than quickly its OK I’m wearing them. She was I’m sure one of their better drivers and would have to prove it a little later.  

http://www.nps.gov/DENA/index.htm

Bus066306082009  Bus076706082009Blog

Caraibo0658 06082009 SignNails066706082009Blog

There is a saying about the Park, Denali out, animals in. Or more animals for viewing on cloudy days and they do get a lot cloudy days. I was lucky, wanted to see Denali and I got a great day to see it. By late afternoon the clouds did come down some, but that was ok. The picture above was just about 15 minutes in to trip and three  Caribou showed up. The sign is interesting, notice the nails in the bottom. They were put there to keep the grizzly bears from chewing on the sign.

 

Soon I was to get my first glimpse of Denali. The next picture shows some of the hill-side turns she had to go around. Does not look too bad in the picture, but when you meet another bus its a little scary when we were on the outside. We saw several Moose, sheep, foxes, eagles,  off in the distance and the driver stopped when ever she spotted something. Most were really too far away to get a good photo. A short distance before we got to Wonder lake we got a surprise. The driver stopped the bus and pointed to a Wolf coming our way up the side of the hill. There was a licensed Professional Photographer parked off to the side of the ahead and he was getting his camera gear into his van. The wolf climbed up on the road between us and came towards the bus. Driver said to keep hands and arms inside. He shouldn’t be here by himself. Most likely had been banned by the pack. A couple days before he did the same thing, but was carrying a caribou leg with him.  She said they were most likely going to have to capture him and move him to another location. He’s not afraid of humans and that’s not good for visitors. Remember  the Europeans, they were all just left of their bus about 1/2 mile back for some Photo taking. She called a ranger to have the next bus check on them. You can get on and off  the bus in most locations along the route and walk for a while. Than catch the next bus coming by. After the morning start of several buses they are about an hour apart  during the day.

I was lucky enough to lean out my window and get this photo as he walked by the bus and looked right at me.  Before that we stopped at a Park center and a great viewing area for Denali. I took about a zillion pictures there of the mountain and area. Here are a couple that I liked.

Soon we arrived at Wonder Lake and the turning around point. Wonder Lake wasn’t anything out standing that I could see, a nice lake with a few bugs. The driver gave us about a half  hour to eat and take photo’s

     

On the way back we stopped at the Park Wilderness interpretative Center and from the photo above you can see it is now getting hazy. Many of the folks on the bus tried to sleep on the way back. We saw some grizzly bears playing way up on a snow bank and a few more Caribou, now laying in the snow banks. It has been a warm day and a long ride, but well worth it. We get back at 5 pm to making it a 11 hour day in the park.

  

Denali was as far North as I was going, this was the turning around point.  Mileage as I left The park was 3252 miles  from home. I headed south toward Anchorage, spotted that goofy igloo looking building about hour south of Denali. Tried a couple pull offs for camping, but mosquitoes were really bad. Than tried a camp ground, but it was just as bad. Finally I stopped at place with rooms that they called cabins, but were more like motel rooms with no shower. Again tonight I had to us the Public shower. It was a nice clean place about $85.00. The lady that ran the motel/cabins was very friendly. She did serve breakfast if you wanted it for about $10.00. I asked her if she sold beer, she said no they did not have a liquor licence, but said she was going to have one and she would give me one, as she stared at the tip jar.  A tall Bud was worth a couple bucks after a long day. We talked a bit about her business which was not doing well. She said they bought the place about 5 years and did OK for a couple years, than gas prices went way up and the tourist stopped coming. She pointed to the highway and said 5  years ago there were cars traveling up and down day and night. Now about 5 pm it comes to a halt. When they bought the place they could fill all 5 rooms by 3 or 4 in the afternoon summer and winter. In the summer her husband would do guiding for fishing, which is what he really loved to do, now he is working on a highway construction job. She said;  if this summers tourist does not pick up, this place will belong to the bank by winter.  More pictures at : www.donsiebelphotography.com

June 9th, 2009

Up and out early heading to Anchorage,  http://www.alaskaanchorage.net/  and reach there about 11am. Stopped downtown at the visitors center and picked up a city map. Wanted to buy Anne a gift from here one of those Ulu Chopping knives. Located their sales outlet and picked up one and some jars of  jam. Watched some people fish for a while and then had to locate a Hospital. Not for me, well sort of . The Local native Hospital sells items from the some of the tribes and the money goes towards paying hospital Bills of those who can’t pay. Bought a nice water-color print. Anchorage is a very nice clean city, not real big, but spread out a bit. Got the Jeep washed and gassed up and headed south. I’m sure that there was a lot to see in Anchorage, but being by myself I would rather spend my time seeing the country.

 

The next photos are south of Anchorage looking out at Cooks Inlet and a bird wet lands area. The first one is looking North back towards Anchorage and the second looking south to where is was headed.

 

 

The 2 above are some people fishing near downtown Anchorage, the next one is a sign showing the area of the 1964 earthquake where the ground dropped 10 feet.

 

 

As I traveled south from Anchorage I came to the Kenai Area. This is a beautiful area of mountains, lakes, rivers and ocean. Just before reaching the Kenai I came to the Alaska  Wildlife Conservation http://www.alaskawildlife.org/. I stopped and drove/walked through it and most of the animals were older and had been saved from some sort of injury. The grizzly bear seemed to be enjoying a himself in the water.  I stopped that night at a Alaska state Park to camp. Still very few people camping, 50 places two cars beside me and the camp host. The host who was from Seattle ( lost his job there) was a young man of about 30 to 35 and loved the outdoors. Said the bears will be here soon, for the fish should be coming up the river in a couple weeks. Only one bear has been checking out the camp at night, so don’t leave any food out. I didn’t see or hear any bears that night.  Total miles now 3592 and still averaging 22. 3 mpg, not bad for the old Jeep. I’m starting a new  post # 5  from here. Remember you can see more photos at  www.donsiebelphotography.com  Any questions or comments please send them to me, thanks.

October 15, 2009

Part # 3 My Summer Vacation (:>) !

Filed under: Alaska,Canada,Canada and Alaska,travel — dgsoregon @ 8:43 pm
Tags: , ,

Part 3 of &.. Check out part #1 and 2 ..Part #1 starts as of  May 26th, 2009

*Note Part 2 may be hooked to this part 3… scroll down.

June 3rd through June 5th

Don  June 3rd, I leave the Airforce Lodge at Watson Lake early and start-up the Campbell Highway. The Yukon’s  Highway #4.  The first 30 miles is paved and then I came to road construction. After about a 1/2 hour wait they sent me through the construction by myself and told me to use my 4 wheel drive since much of the grading was still soft and to give the equipment a wide berth and watch for signals from the operators. This construction was about 10 miles long and really not too bad at all. Was interesting to see how they do their highway construction, different from the states, no escort car on this project, but every equipment operator was aware of you and usually signaled you on or had you wait  a minute or two. They were not paving  just redoing the gravel road and widening the areas on the side of roads. Much of the area here is somewhat boggy yet from the winter snows. After passing a couple smaller lakes and a  Jack Rabbit  I see a another Grizzly Bear and once again get a nice butt shot of it going into the woods. They seem to be much more skidish than the black bears.  Grizzly0047060309blog

About noon I notice this old Cabin which had seen better days and I would see several old cabins like this one  over the next few days.

 Cabin0046060309Blog Don0058060309Blog

Soon I come to one of the nicest spots on the Campbell Highway, Simpson Lake camp grounds.

SimpsonLake0068060309blog

This is really a nice Lake and campground. There was only one person camped there when I pulled in to have some lunch. The view from there is just amazing with the snow on the mountains behind it. I believe that those mountains are called the Simpson Range. This was turning out to be a beautiful day and I could see fish, even a noon jumping for bugs. The mosquitoes were not bad at all for there was a slight breeze. While I was taking some pictures the Camp Operator came by and we talked about just about everything under the Yukon sun. He visited the area about 25 years ago as a young man from Germany. He went back home to Germany and got his papers in order to move to Canada’s Yukon. He lucked out and was able to get the job he wanted and has lived there ever since. Now married with a couple kids and lives there 12 months a year. The camp  job has little to do in the Winter (since the parks are under about 5 feet of snow and frozen solid.  It is common to get down to minus 30 or 40  degrees (F)  or  below. )  So he works some traps in the winter and enjoys outdoors sports like cross  country skiing  and snowmobiling. Trapping for furs are a big part the economy in the Yukon. He still has his German accent and the Canadian { a-boot } sounds a bit strange . Really nice fellow and very knowledgeable about Canada, the States and our issues with the economy and Illegal immigration. He didn’t understand why we let people stay in the US when we know they are illegal. He said; that’s not the way in western Canada, if they catch an illegal person they either leave the country or go to jail. He thought it was very important that people immigrating to a new country such as Canada believe in their new counties laws and forget the laws of the old country. He was a real Canadian Citizen.   I forgot to ask him, but most Lakes with a small Island on them call the Island a ” Honeymoon Island” so I did too. So after a nice visit, a good lunch and some photo takeing, I moved on.  The next large lake I came to was Finlayson Lake, from the view spot I had it was incredible in size and still partly frozen.

FinlaysonLake0094106032009ablog

Soon the landscape changes, the forest is dying from the Pine  Bark Beetle, as far as one can see the trees are affected. Then the  down the road a bit I see this Moose staring at me, this shot is a bit fuzzy.

Moose0092060309blog Eagle0075060309blog

I saw this Bald Eagle in the distance, was able to get this photo, but by time I changed to a longer zoom lens it had taken off.  Notice the trees, they are all dying from the Bark Beatles. Sad to see what could have grown into a beautiful forest turn brown and die. This situation also increases the fire danger. Today was a long drive in time, not so many miles, maybe 200. 95% gravel and dirt road. Saw 2 grizzly bears, 1 Moose, 2 White rabbits, 2 gray rabbits, and 1 bald Eagle. Camping tonight at a pull off on the Hoole River.

Camp0103060309Blog Hoole RV0101060309blog

After I had my dinner a construction worker ( Buck ) drove in to check on the river and see if the fishing was going improve soon. The river was still running a bit fast and muddy, but he thought that in a few more days it would be good. He lives outside of Whitehorse and is a highway engineer surveyor. Said; he has been doing that now for 35 years and moved to Canada from Minnesota. Loves it there and would never think about moving back to the states. Asked me if I wanted to drive down to his home and have dinner with him and his wife, but I had just finished mine, so I said no thanks. With the increase in daylight his day begins at  4 am and runs until 11 pm. He said they catch up on their sleep in the winter.   Loves the longer hours, he can still get some fishing in after work. At about 8pm he took off for home in a cloud of dust. Dust I had seen a lot of it today, so I sat down and cleaned my cameras. I have now traveled 2194 miles from home. Slept in the  back of the Jeep that night  and didn’t hear another vehicle all night.

June 4th, 2009

Weather looks good again today as I start back up on the dusty gravel road heading northeast towards Alaska. In about 5 miles I come to more construction. Summer time is the only time Canada can work on these roads, so construction is just about everywhere. Shortly I see “Buck” with his Surveyor’s equipment along side the road. We briefly say good morning and he says I missed a good elk steak last night. Soon the landscape is changing again.

Forest010506042009Blog BoggyLand042806042009Blog

As I move down to lower ground there is lots of water, bog and  mosquitoes. Next stop I at Ross River and have  a cup of coffee chat with new owners.

   RossRvHotel043506042009Blog Dog0439060309Blog

One of them said he has lived in the area for a long time, and when the motel and restaurant came up for sale after being closed for quite a time, he and a partner decided to buy and fix it up. Inside is pretty nice, still have a lot of work. On the way back to the main road from Ross River this dog comes down the road. At first I thought maybe it was lost, but I was only about three miles from Ross River and I had just passed a road construction area, so I think it belonged to one of the workers there. I stopped and called to it, but it was on a mission and was not going to be deterred.

Canyon044206042009Blog RossRv0116blog

Shortly I come to the Lapie River Canyon and good views of the Pelly River. All this area and the next town I come to is in the Tintina Trench. http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/magazine/JA07/feature_tintina_trench.asp

Faro0122060509Blog

OreTruck0118 (2)060409Blog

Faro was a splash of Color, Big Red truck, green lawns, white building and really nice people. I stopped for lunch at the local hotels restaurant ( not like Ross River) and then went to the tourist information center. Used their internet connection and chatted with the volunteers. As for the Red truck, it is the third mining truck of  its kind for the Anvil Mining Company and ran 24 hours a day for over 6 years starting back in 1968. Than I got some good advice as to where to find some Dall or Fannin’s  Sheep.

DahlSheep014506409Blog

DahlSheep015906042009Blog

These two shots were taken over a 1/2 mile away, across a canyon at midday. I was happy to see them come out on to the hillside. When I got to the view spot they told me about there was not a sheep to be seen. Than one came in sight and about 6 showed up in an hour crossing the hillside to this small semi shaded spot. Happy days for them and Me! This was one of the warmest days I had experienced in the Yukon. Shortly after leaving Faro and the sheep, I saw my first Brown Bear, not  a grizzly. BrownBear0464060409

As for the rest of the afternoon, I drive and drive on gravel and dirt mixed with mosquitoes  past several large lakes. Than I come the village of “Carmacks”, total population of about 430 people mostly first native. Here I come to the Yukon River and meet up with Highway #2.  Ahhhhh payment again how smooth and quite the old Jeep is (:>).. I now head North towards Dawson City looking for a camp spot. After trying several camp areas and other spots, I finally pulled off  onto another dirt road and try to reach a small summit for some air and little breeze. I don’t know who’s land I’m on, but I finally reach a somewhat open area and make it my home for the evening. It is warm and the mosquitoes are really not too  bad here. A couple of the spots I pulled off at earlier near the water, the mosquitoes were so bad you could hear them waiting for you, as I stepped out of the Jeep they were all over you.  I had a quick dinner, sent out my Spot message and downloaded my pictures of the day and walked around the area, nothing much to see.  Too hot to sit in the Jeep and I was trying to keep the mosquitoes out, so I kept the doors and windows closed. That was most likely my warmest nights sleep so far. It got semi dark about 11:30 pm and light again around 3:30 am. I have  now traveled 2498 miles from home. My journal said; “Miss my Wife, My Bed and My dog, but I’m still having a good time in spite of the dam mosquitoes”. I have a friend back in Beaverton who would have caught the first airplane south if he had to deal with these bugs. Even there in Oregon where we don’t have many mosquitoes they find him delicious.

Camp0477060409

June 5th, 2009

That was a warm, long, light night. The days are really getting longer now and the nights shorter. As I leave my camping spot I see a really large male moose, but he moves in the woods before i could get a picture. Stopped at a place called Stewart Crossing for some coffee. Two truckers were in there just finishing breakfast and I asked them about the big front bumper guards on their rigs.  I said they remind me of cow catchers on a train, they both laughed and said no they were tourist catchers. I asked them if they mind me takeing some pictures of the bumpers, they said hell take all you want. When I was ready to go one of the truckers said I’ll walk out with you. On the way out he told me how much they save using them. He Said it you hit a full size moose or Bear at 60 or 70 miles per hour it can do up to $30,000 damage to front end. The Beefed up bumpers cost about $10,000 and usually can be repaired for a few hundred dollars after an accident.  I needed that coffee, mine does not seem to have enough kick to it. Still only 7:50 am when I leave the cafe. In a couple hours I come to the Yukon River and by noon I come to Dawson City.

truck0486 (2)060509Blog  YukonRiver017806052009

Dawson City is quite a town and was one of the busiest towns in the Gold Rush days. Today it has about 1400 people ( late 1800’s 40,000) and is a big tourist destination. They have painted up most of the old and some new building. The streets are still unpaved except for the main highway to the ferry crossing the Yukon River. There are huge piles of mining tailings all along the creeks from the mining dredges. I visited several shops, their museum and took a number of pictures. The first photo was actually taken after I left Dawson, crossed the Yukon by Ferry and was up on the hillside above the city. http://www.dawsoncity.ca/    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawson_City

Oh yes, the average winter temp for Jan/Feb.  -30 degrees!  Burrr!

DawsonCity0237060509blog

DawsonCity0180060509blog DCSteamer0195060509blog

DCBunkHouse0186060509blog horsehire0200060509blog

The above photos are of a local horse pulled wagon ride and trip around town. The one next to it is of the Bunk House a sort of hotel , youth hostel. And above them are Entering City sign and a Ferry steamer that will take you up or down the Yukon river for some sight-seeing.

DCDowntownHotel0188060509blog KlondikeKates0210060509Blog

This two Photo’s above are the Downtown Hotel and Klondike Kates restaurant.

Musum0226060509blog Art0228060509Blog

The two Photo’s above are of the Local Museum and a picture from a display inside of a tall figurine. I’ ll see another very much like this one later in Skagway. The museum was very interesting and I spent about 2 hours there and that’s a lot for me. After that I gassed up, restocked my cooler with ice ( at $4.00 a bag ) and some fresh milk, pop and goodies. Than headed for Alaska. To do so you have to  take a ferry across the Yukon River and follow the road to the “Top of the World Highway” .  Shortly I was climbing steep and curvy but paved road.  Around 5 pm I reach the summit and it is a wonderful view. A few more minutes and I can see the Border. This is the only Border crossing that I came across where the USA and Canadian Border guards where in the same building. Also it is only open from 8 am to 6 pm. After 6 they lock the a gate across the road.

Topofworld024606052009 BoderAlaska025006052009

Soon I was at the Border. The Guard checked and stamped my passport book. Poker Creek Alaska. I was back in the USA. Time now was 5:50 pm and 4127 feet. Time to look for a camp area for tonight.  

Pokercr0515060509Blog AlaskaSign0252 (2)060509blog

Now the road is down hill and back to dirt. Next town Chicken Alaska. Next section starting June 6th  will be part# 4.  See additional pictures of Alaska, Canada, England, Scotland and around the USA at:  www.donsiebelphotography.com

October 2, 2009

Part #2 of My Summer Vacation (:>)!

Filed under: Alaska,Canada,Canada and Alaska,travel — dgsoregon @ 11:24 pm
Tags: , ,

Part 2 of 7.. Check out part #1 for the beginning starting May 26th.

MAY 31 To June 2nd, 2009

DonMay 31st, 2009

I awake to a very soft sound hitting the outside of my tent, it’s snowing. Not hard but steady and big wet flakes. Not quite cold enough to really stick much, but it is turning things white. Oh boy, I get to take down a wet tent, I’m thinking “glad I’m not backpacking” Throw everything into the Jeep and head down the road looking for coffee. Instead I find this Caribou staring at me as I leave the camp ground. The next picture gives a good view of the ALCAN Hwy. Notice the wide cut back along the road, both Canada and Alaska do this where ever possible. Makes for a beautiful drive. Wild flowers and grasses mostly grow there and the animals love it. It  gives the driver time to see animals and slow down.

Caribou969205312009blog

AlcanHwy9699053109Blog

Soon was in Fort Nelson, stopped for gas ( about $4.50 gal ) I believe this was the highest I had paid so far, got that cup of coffee, wish I hadn’t I think it had been brewing since 1942.  Visited the tourist information center and than the Ft. Nelson Heritage Museum.  http://www.fortnelsonbc.com/         This a very unusual museum, but was so interesting to me ( I like old cars and things ). Met “Marl Brown” the one with the beard and the founder, curator and main refurbisher. Quite a guy and he knows where every piece came from and why. The 1908 Buick below is one of his favorites cars, but he has many including some from tha ALCAN Hwy building like the ARMY Truck below. The little red truck is a 1951 Englsih Ford, the huge pistons had me going until a saw the sign. They are from generator that used to make the towns electric. Many small towns in Canada still use them today. There is an early snowmobile and the horns are two Moose that died after getting locked together, they had many furs and stuffed animals there too. The Army green “bull dozer” Cat is one that actually worked on the Alcan highway and the photo with Marl standing next to a small engine is his toy, it is a one cylinder engine and each time the exhaust fires it pushes the Coke can up a wire, seems to make him smile. There were many different rooms full of old equipment such as the telephone equipment.

Buick972105312009Blog

MooseHorns971205312009Blog  

Cat9717 053109Blog

Redtruck970705312009Blog

 HappyMan9732MaulBrown053109blog

 Tele9716053109Blog Armynalcan970503109Blog

Sign971505312009blog

 PistonsCrankshaft9735FtNelson0531209Blog Earlysnowmobile973705312009Blog

I was talking to a volunteer there and we were talking about the weather in Ft. Nelson and she said it gets down 20 or 30 below in the winter. She also was school teacher an said the kids can play outside down to 20 below and they sometimes take them out even colder. She said it was important that they get the kids get outside in the winter because school time was the only daylight they may see for several months. The roads are kept open all winter and there can be 3 to 5  feet of snow on the ground all winter too. A very interesting town with lots of History. After several hours in Ft Nelson I was ready to move on North. The weather had not really improved a whole lot, other than the mixed rain and snow had come to a stop.

BlackBear0162053109Blog

Soon after I leave Ft. Nelson I come upon another Black Bear, it doesn’t seem to paying much attention to me and won’t turn around. I already have plenty of Bear Butt pictures, I yell at it and that gets its attention, it turns towards me looking a bit miffed, I snap the photo and hop back in the Jeep. Soon I came to a small herd of Bison a distance field.

Bison9740053109 Clog

In couple hours the landscape changes from the flat to Mountains again. A Rock formation is ahead resembling a Indians Head and so it is called Indian Head Mountain.

IndianHeadMt9766053109Blog Moose9797053109blog

Next I finally get a fair photo of a young Moose. They are the strangest animals, look as if they were made up of left over parts. Soon an Elk runs across the road and I get photo through the windshield.

Elk0188053109 (2) SummitCafe0182053109blog

The economy has hit the restaurant and motel business pretty hard, although this business looks like it has been out of business for sometime, I have seen many businesses closed over the last few days. I m now in what is called the Stone Mountain Range and it is getting Colder as I climb higher.

StoneMt9803053109blog

Next I come to Summit Lake where I had planned on camping. I get out of the car and a cold and steady wind is blowing as I check out the camp spots. Most of the lake is still frozen. It doesn’t take me long to realize that this place is too cold to stay, although one couple seems to be getting ready to stay in a tent trailer. In a short talk with them they said they had some propane heaters. My tent has no heater other than me, back in the Jeep and down the road. Over the next couple hours I check out a couple more parks, but nothing suits me. I drop down off the mountain and find a back road and sleep and eat in the back of the Jeep for the night. It’s been a really great day of interesting people, places, animals and views.

SummitLake9813053109 Jeep01930531Blog

June 1st 2009

After a big a dinner of Top Ramon, a good nights sleep and hot breakfast of  Oat meal ( LOL ).  actually that is what I had.. I’m up early and back on the road by 6:30 am, soon I come to a bridge across the Racing River  river, just as I cross the river a BIG Grizzly Bear ( my first )  comes running down the right bank runs right in front of Jeep and heads for the brush. With no place to stop I have to move a little farther up the road to pull over, by than the Bear is heading into the brush, wow  another Butt shot. But it was a big Butt. This somewhat poor picture shows the bear heading into the brush with its head on the left looking back

GrizzyBear0198060109web

Soon I come to a Cafe and I need another cup of coffee. A couple of the road construction workers ask me what part of Oregon I’m from. So in the conversation I tell them about my seeing a grizzly bear about 3 miles back down the road near where they were working. One guys says Hell ” I’ve been out here for 3 months and I’ve seen nothing but mosquitoes” , you drive through and see a bear and a grizzly bear at that. He said; I might tell the cafe owner, he has some cattle down there by the river. So I go back in and tell him about my siting, but he is not too concerned, says the bear won’t bother the cattle. But he does thank me and offers me a FREE refill on my coffee. On down the road I go and at 8:07 am I spot this Moose on the roadside. Seemed a bit shy, and kept one on me while I took its picture.

Moose9836060109Blog

 A little farther on and I come to this unusual Rock formation called “Folding Mountain”. The layers of the mountain appear to have been layed down in folds.

FoldedMt9830060109Blog

At 8:11 am I see this Stone Ram Up on a hill-side. After several different shots of his you know  what, I get this nice shot of him looking back at me. These Sheep are called “Stone Sheep” and are pretty common in this area. Both male and female have horns, except the Males are larger and curl more. A lot has been happening fast here this morning, looks like another great start to a day!  

StoneRam9846060109blog

Soon I come to Muncho Lake, a beautiful 7 mile long lake of amazing turquoise color. It’s only about 9 am, but I’m ready to stay here!  So I look around and find a nice spot over looking the lake. http://www.britishcolumbia.com/regions/towns/?townID=3616

Additional Photographs at : www.donsiebelphotography.com

MunchoLake0259060109blog

Shortly after getting set up this Pontoon plane came in for a landing, they were using this end of the lake to take off and land since the other end was still frozen. The only Lodge on the lake is the “Northern Rockies Lodge” where the Pontoon Plane  is normally based from. http://www.northern-rockies-lodge.com/

lakeplane9881060109web

PlaneMuncho9950060109blog Here he is taking off on this beautiful lake, was interesting seeing it come and go for a while, but did make a lot of noise. I met the Camp attendant for late Breakfast at a small cafe a couple miles away. My first REAL breakfast since started. Ham and eggs, the ham was about 5 inches by 8 inches and 1/2 inch thick. Home made bread for toast, and home-made hash brown potatoes. I ate it all, like a good little camper.  The camp attendants story was like many I would hear about. Visited Canada about 15 years and fell in love with the country, moved his family there and loves his work and the country.  After breakfast I went for a hike the attendant told me about and came upon these Stone Sheep on the way. I had a really great  place to set up my tent, over looking the Lake.

 sheepmunchoC02360609web StoneSheep0228060109blog MunchoCamp0262Blog

My hike took me to the top of a hill that over looked Muncho Lake. As you look to the far end of the lake you can see it is still frozen, what a view. Took the rest of the day off and talked to a couple of other campers. Now have traveled 1799 miles.

MunchoLake9929060109blog

June 2nd,

After a nice quite evening watching the Sunset, I get an early start. Stop at the Lake one more time to get ice for my cooler. This picture of the lake shows how the ice formed small waves on the surface.

LakeMuncho024606109blog

At 7:15 am I come across a small herd of about 6 Bison, this big fellow seemed to be enjoying the morning sun. Next at 7:40 am I spot this smaller Black bear enjoying his morning stroll for breakfast.

Bison03120602009 SmallBlackBear0323 (2)

Soon I come the “Yukon” Border and within a few minutes I come to a Historic spot. Mile Post 585 on the Alcan Highway. This place is called “Contact Creek” . This is where the southern section was completed on 09/24/1942. An  Army group working from the Northwest and an Army group working from Dawson Creek meet at this spot, completing about 1030 miles in just under 7 months. The first truck to drive through took 71 hours. from Dawson Creek to get to White Horse. Average speed 15 miles per hour. The Yukon has 35,000 people living there and it is about the size of Oregon, 23,000 live in or around White Horse its biggest city. Canada has some of the greatest Sign.

YukonSign0034060209web DonYukon0335060209web

Here is a link with facts about the Yukon    http://www.saskschools.ca/~gregory/canada/facts/yt.html

I’m heading towards “Watson Lake” when I get this great view of the Alaska Mountain Range.

AlaskaMt002806022009

A few miles south of Watson Lake I come upon another Black Bear and then a Bison eating alongside the road.

BlackBear0031060209web Bison0344050209Blog

About noon I come to Watson Lake, famous for its Signpost forest. Over 40, 000  city, town or state signs, licence plates and pieces of wood with names and dates nailed to posts.

http://www.bellsalaska.com/watsonlk.html

IMG_Watsonsigns06106022009

Watsonsigns036406022009

I checked out several motels and end up at the Air Force Lodge.  http://www.airforcelodge.com/index.html   This was really a nice place and very reasonable too! A couple of the other motels were smelly (cigarettes) and dirty. Several were closed. I thought this sign was interesting, most likely stolen from the Borough of Plum, where ever that is. The Watson lake Hotel was closed due to economy I suspect. Did some laundry, washed my Jeep and restocked some food and visited several local attractions and got caught up on my e-mail.

 WatsonSignForest0380060209webWatsonhotel038206022009

Had a BIG hamburger at local fast food. The cook/waiter/owner would keep throwing french fries out the open front door to a huge black raven, it would keep tossing the hot french fry in the air until it cooled enough too eat, once it did that it would craw for another. No one seemed to pay much attention to this other me ( the tourist ) . Tomorrow I leave the ALCAN Highway for a while a take the Campbell  Highway Northwest. { A 374 mile mostly gravel road that sort of parallels the Alcan highway. The highway follows the explorer Robert Campbell 1840 search for the a westward river to the coast for the Hudson’s Bay Co.}  We’ve heard that before. SEE NEW POST NUMBER 3 soon!   More Photos at www.donsiebelphotography.com

September 21, 2009

My Summer Vacation in Canada and Alaska (:>)!Part #1 of 7

Filed under: Alaska,Canada,Canada and Alaska,travel — dgsoregon @ 10:39 am
Tags: , , , , ,

3flagsDon 09/20/2009

Note: As of January 14th, 2010 I have finished my tale, it took me a bit longer than expected. I’m still editing some parts, spelling, names or links to make sure it all works. It may seem backwards, but blogs always post the last thing written at the top of the blog. I am not a writer, so expect some errors as to phrasing  or english.  One more thing unless I can correct it Part 2 is linked with part 3. With that said let’s start .

They say the older you get the more childish one becomes. ” My Summer Vacation in Canada and Alaska”  is my attempt to be a bit childish or humorous. This post will be my attempt to recall what a great time I had on my Summer Vacation, Ok my trip to Alaska. Since I have returned ( several months ago ) many of you gave me the  impression that you to  would like to travel and visit Canada  and Alaska.   So in telling my story I hope to encourage you to check in to it. I’ll add photos, links, the route I took and why. Jump in and ask questions and I’ll try to answer them.  I tried to keep a running blog as I traveled, but found that too tough to keep up.
Some of you saw many of my pictures when I returned ( thanks to Anne for the Great Party) and you can see many of them on my Photo Web Site at  www.DonSiebelPhotography.com   in the travel Category/Gallery.  This project will take some time so please check back often. I’ve set a mental deadline of a month or say November 1st to have it completed.
So why in the Hell did I want to go to Alaska, and why didn’t Anne and Dexter go with me? To keep it simple. Anne and I had talked for many years of wanting to see and drive  the ALCAN Highway and lately I wanted to see “Denali” or Mt. McKinley.  Anne would have liked to gone, and we had talked about a trip by car going north and taking a ferry back south. But, with economy as it was and Anne getting that much time off ( a Month ) it was a bit too expensive for the two of us to go at that time. Gas, Motels, Food, Ferry’s, etc. and remember the Stock Market and the Economy had just crashed in March.  Anne being the wonderful person she is and great wife said;  Why don’t you go and enjoy the time. I quickly said OK, and to save a few dollars I would camp and cook out most of the time. Just like I do backpacking.
 As for Dexter  DexterMthoodmp3  , I was going to take him, but we decided he was better off at home and he gave Anne some added security too.  One other BIG item,  I have been bitten by the Photography bug, and I really wanted to take lots and lots of Pictures ( don’t ask how many I took it’s embarrassing ), plus I really wanted to drive both ways making a loop through Canada .  That could have meant Dexter would be doing a lot of sitting in the car. So it was going to be just me, myself and the old Jeep. Wow!  What a lucky Guy. I owe Anne a trip soon and we  hope to do the Inland Ferry route to Alaska this coming spring or summer. { Update we are taking a cruise to Alaska with friends, and family this June 2010} 
Next I’ll cover a bit of planning and then off I go  North to Alaska, Canada and the Famous ALCAN highway.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_Highway
09/21/2009
 Paper stuff and Planning…
Most of you that know me, know that I’m sort of a planning nut. I love planning hikes, trips, things to do. I guess it’s the ability to research now with the internet and I used the internet for a lot of my planning. I started watching the weather in March. I like Accuweather  for their 15 day forecasts  http://www.accuweather.com/canada .  You can use them for both the USA and Canada. Another 15 day forecast web site is:  http://www.hamweather.net/local/ca.html  in Canada. I also used the Canadian Web Cam sites to see what the Highways looked like: http://www.drivebc.ca/   is one of many and of course Google.  http://www.google.com/  and Google Maps.
The"MilePost"   One of the best tools for planning is the Annual Book called; The Mile Post. It is updated every year and is an invaluable source of information, from maps to just about mile by mile information on roads, great sites to see and not to miss, gas stations, motels, restaurants, people, web addresses, phone numbers and so much more.  Don’t leave home without it. http://milepost.com/   
Here is a short piece from their web site: ( The MILEPOST®: Legendary Alaska trip planner and Alaska travel guide to the highways, roads, ferries, lodgings, recreation, sightseeing attractions and services along the Alaska Highway to and within Alaska, including Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories and the Yukon. Find trip planning help and frequently asked questions about highway travel by RV, auto, caravan or motorcycle, ferry and fly/drive travel to Alaska and Western Canada. Since 1949, The MILEPOST® has been the most trusted and complete Alaskan travel guide and Alaskan trip planner for highway and ferry travel to Alaska, the Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, and Western Northwest Territories. Updated annually, The MILEPOST® gives you detailed information on everything from the famous Alaska Highway system to cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage. ) Order direct or you might be able to save a few dollars at Amazon. www.amazon.com .
I took my laptop computer with me and did fairly well with it as far as sending and retrieving e-mails. Most libraries and many Tourist information centers have a connection, either a plug-in or Wi-Fi. I had more trouble with the few motels that I stayed at than public areas. Sometimes while in a city or town I would just leave my laptop on while driving and pick up an unsecured site, stop do my e-mail etc and move on. I took a list of hot spots, but never seemed to be in the right area. My laptop computer was also my cameras back up; I would download each day’s pictures to my laptop.
One other item I took with me was a “Spot Locator”, Anne had heard about this while on a Doctors visit. Many hikers, backpackers, hunters, mostly people who go out alone use them, and they are good throughout the world. They work off the GPS system and you can send a prerecorded message and it tracks you on Google Maps.  http://www.findmespot.com  There are three setting at this time, I’m Ok and doing great, Send Help (not life a threatening  situation) need money and last a 911 button, if you are in a Life threatening condition send the Marines fast. You will pay for your rescue.  Read about it at the web site above. It’s not cheap. I bought one because Anne wanted it and it made her feel better, because I had planned a couple hikes into the Canadian wilderness. So for peace of mind it was will worth it.
My personal opinion is it does not work well. The farther North I got the harder time I had getting a message to go out. If you were in a canyon or in deep woods it was a  no go. I’ve used it several times since I got home and same problems. Just got back from a weeks hiking with friends in the Wallowa mountains of Eastern Oregon and the first night it would not send a message. That meant if I had broken a leg I’d have to crawl to a higher open space…Not good for either person, injured person can’t get help and the other person doesn’t know they need help. {Now I’m assuming that if the I’m Fine “OK” button won’t send a message, the 911 button won’t work either}. Reliability for me was about 80 %, that’s not good enough in my opinion. Mine will be on Ebay as soon as my contact runs out! Check Google for both good and bad comments to.
One last thing, get your passport updated and carry good ID and plenty of credit cards. At least two different companies such as Visa and MasterCard, remember you will be out of the USA much of the time. Check those Debit card and Cash withdrawal fees BEFORE you go. In Canada many stores have twenty dollar cash back maximum.   Also get your health cards and insurance information for being in Canada, prior to going into Canada. Speaking of Cards, get your Vehicle Insurance cards for entering Canada. Many Insurance companies need to know that you are leaving the USA. They will add a rider for coverage in Canada for only so many days. They can deny coverage for an accident if they do not know you have left the USA. Canada does not care about you, they care about Canadians. I found Canadians to be very friendly and helpful people, but they are bound by Canada’s Law’s, not the USA’S. Read what this Web Site has to say and obey: http://www.gonorthwest.com/Visitor/planning/border/border.htm
Let’s start Driving!!
09/22/2009
May 26th., 2009  was a busy day, pack the Jeep, pat the dog and kiss the wife.  Hit I- 5  going North to Alaska. But, first a stop in Seattle.
 As you can see I was not too loaded down. Backpack ready with hiking gear, Suite case with some fresh cloths, Ice chest (no Ice) for dry food,  12 top Ramon’s, 15 dry meals, 30 oatmeal packages, 15 candy bars, cookies, coffee, tea, V8 juice, 30 Power bars and lots more. Another small Ice chest with milk, pop, water and cheese. Wanted to save a few dollars from buying  in Canada or Alaska.  And it was a good savings and very helpful to have items for either breakfast, lunch or dinner. Not fancy food, but healthy and filling. Had extra water for washing up, tools, flat tire repair items, shovel, and a DC / AC converter to keep my laptop and camera  batteries charged up. And thanks to a friend lots of Old Time Radio Shows on tape to listen too.  
Jeeppackedblog
  Jeeppacked2Blog 
 
  JeepMe
 
 
 
 Soon Seattle was in sight, I wanted to stop at REI   www.rei.com  for a Bear Bell to put on my pack. But, first a short trip to Seattle’s Famous Public Market. Spent a short time there taking pictures and lucked out on a fish throw, caught it in mid-air, yea!  As  always  they have a great display of veg’s and fruits, but I can’t take them into Canada, off I go to REI and Canada.

seattlevegs

FishcatchBlog (2)

PublicmktBlog  

 PikesPlPigblogSeattletowerBlog
Tossed in a couple more pictures of Seattle, one always has to have at least one  of the Seattle Tower.
Entered Canada through Sumus at 6:15 pm, ( No wait there, I-5 can have up to an hour wait) stopped  in Chilliwack and used a ATM to get some Canadian Money. Than headed to McDonald’s for my first Canadian Burger. Tasted just like one’s in the USA. (:<) … Weather was not looking real good, cloudy and some rain on my way to Hope, Canada. My route was to take highway 5 to Kamloops, continue on Hwy 5 to Tete Jaune, pick up Hwy 97  in Prince George to Dawson Creek where the ALCAN HIGHWAY starts.  TotemHopeBlogI stopped at Hope Canada and took this Picture of  a Totem and the Frazer   fthopesignblogRiver about 7:40 pm. Believe I also talked to Anne for a few minutes about some Shell oil charges. The Shell Oil Company called her wanting to know about Canadian gas charges. { So make a note..you might want let your credit card company’s know you are going out of the country. Chevron actually stopped accepting my gas charges just before I got  back! That Pis-ed me off, but what can do while on the road.
 Ft. Hope was where most shipments moved east and north after the 1846 boundary settlement between the USA and Canada. I than continued North towards Kamloops. Canada2blogThe next picture is from the summit prior to going into Kamloops. Reached Kamloops about 10:30 pm. Found a back road and pulled off and slept in the front seat of the Jeep until 4 am. Total miles on my first day about 475.
Remember you can see most of these pictures FULL size and many more at:  www.donsiebelphotography.com   check in the travel Category/Gallery.
05/27/2009..  Up early for this Picture of Kamloops about 4:30 Am from a small hill above the City. Than came across a McDonald’s just opening at  5am and went in and had some coffee, down loaded my pictures to my lap top and prepared for a new day. 
http://www.britishcolumbia.com/regions/towns/?townid=3412

KamloopsblogDrove about town for a while taking a few pictures from several locations. Picked up a wi-fi spot and sent out some  e-mails.  Kamloopdayblog Took this Photo near where I had taken the other photo that morning. Kamloops looked like a very nice town, kind of snuggled between two mountains with the Thompson River running through the middle.  Soon I was heading North again. These next two photos are of the Thompson River North of Kamloops. ThompsonRv9163052709blogYou can see how High the water is and it was really moving, what a beautiful area. I really enjoyed this drive.
ThompsonRv0036052709blog 
 I get to see my first Bear at 2:03 Pm 05/27 much sooner than I thought I would. A Medium Black Bear just off the road, not too interested in me, but I kept my distance. My first photo was from the car window, then I braved going to the back of Jeep to get clearer shot at him. At first he or she just continued looking for things to eat and kept its head down, than it turned towards me and looked up. Took the shot and got back in the Jeep. I feel they get a lot of attention from tourists.

BlackBear1Blog052709
     Rockies917805272009Blog    TrainBlueRv916905272009blogAfter seeing the first bear I a saw a couple more black bears either eating or going into the woods. Some would move back into the woods as soon as they saw you and some  paid little to no attention unless you stopped. My first real good view of the Canadian Rockies came in sight.  Blue River Canada ,sleepy little town seemed to be waiting for winter to come back. For those of us that still like trains big or small, I took this photo of a nice Yellow engineers car waiting for something to do. Now I was hurrying to get to my nights stop and reached it by 4:30 pm. Mt Robson National Park in The Canadian Rocky Mountains …WOW.  One of highest Mountains, if not the highest ( 11,862 feet ) in the Canadian Rockies and I’m standing right in front of it! http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/mt_robson/   MtRobson9237092809Blog
Mt. Robson National Park has a really nice camp ground, one of the nicest I came upon on my trip. They were set up for Big RV’s down to someone riding a bike. I found a really nice camp spot Camp1Blog

DeerBlog

    ( $19.00 Canadian per night. NO Senior discounts to Americans) and got all set up. Had some dinner went back out for a drive  around. When I arrived there I went to the tourist information center to see about hiking into Berg Lake about 12 to 15 miles.  Bad news, trail not open yet. Only open to Denny lake, past there one needed snow shoes ( 3 to 4 feet of snow yet) Only one group has went in that far and the Park service was going in on friday to see if they felt it was OK for the general pubic to go to Berg Lake. Today was Wednesday and I had no snow shoes with me and they don’t rent them. Very disappointing. So I thought I’d just do a day hike on Thursday and see how that went.  Took a few more Photo’s after dinner including this one of a deer near the park. I call her daisy since she has a daisy in her mouth. Now have traveled about 690 miles. Went back to my camp and got a good nights sleep.
Thursday May 28th, 2009
Up Early and looking forward to my hike to Kinney Lake. Another Beautiful day, cool morning, but warming up nice as I start the hike. The trail follows a fast-moving creek to Kinney Lake. Kinney Lake is a beautiful turquoise color and is a wonderful setting with the mountains around Mt Robson.

KinneyLake9332052809blog
                                                                                                                       Falls 9267052809Blog              DonKinnyLk9343Blog
As I come to the lake I can see a log building around the right side of the lake. I hike to the  Log shelter and then beyond the corner of the lake to where the water flows  down from the mountains. KinneyLkback010805281009Blog           KinneyLk011605281009Blog   This is a far as I can go today. It’s been a great day and a good hike. I will be back here someday to finish this hike to Berg Lake.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berg_Lake  To see more photo’s of Kinney Lake go to: www.donsiebelphotography.com  click on the Travel category/Canada.  Back at the Jeep I was tried, but it was  a good tired. Shortly I’m heading north again. That night I just pulled off the road about 2  miles in a forested area and slept in the back of the Jeep.  actually this was a pretty comfortable way to sleep. I had made a screen that fit over one of the back windows so I could get fresh air in, but keep the bugs out. Yes, Canada has lots of Mosquitoes!

 Offrdcamp9385052809Blog 
May 29th, 2009.

The morning was cool and pretty bug free, saw one Black Bear and one Moose on the way back to the Highway. Was now heading towards Prince George, very little traffic on the road that morning. Stopped at several tourist Information spots about the area. Canada also has plenty of pull offs, some with restrooms ( outhouses) but very clean, many for dumping trash in bins. There is very little trash along the roads, mostly a plastic bag here and there that had taken to the air. Just prior to reaching Prince George I came to an Animal viewing area, it was a short walk off the road ( 1/4 mile ) but I did not see any wildlife.  May be it was a viewing area for the WildLife, if so they got to see a not to Wild Oregonian.
 Donviewing9397blog Next I take a break at a Rest stop and notice this across the river.  home939205290905292009Blog
Good to see Canada has these mobile homes too. LOL  Free water, free rent, free heat, looks like a couple goat guards, Maybe a sweat TeePee, good working stove and a nice home which you can be moved for new views. A few more miles and I come to Prince George. PrinceGeorgeCA9405052909Blog   ConnaughtPark942705291009Blog   flowerP9415052009BlogDid a little grocery shopping here, got a nice deli sandwich and a GAINT chocolate Chip Cookie. Found an open wi-fi and did some e-mail catch up. Than visited the Cities highly recommended park. Connaught Hill Park sits in the middle of Prince George and as its name implies is on a hill. Still a bit early for flowers, but was an immaculately clean and beautiful park. Many highschool kids were having  their graduation pictures taken. This web site by Lee A. Wood really shows the beauty of the park.  http://www.bearspage.info/h/tra/ca/bc/pg1.html    http://www.britishcolumbia.com/regions/towns/?townID=3659  Before leaving the City I was able to reach Anne by cell phone and we were able to catch up a bit. I’m now been out 4 days and about 858 miles from Anne and home.   Soon I was heading North again,  now on Highway 97 which will take me Dawson Creek and the ALCAN HIGHWAY. About 40 miles north of Prince George I came to a Tourist attraction called the “Huble Homestead”.
  Hubelstore9478052909Blog  HubelsHome9483052909blog  Chick9462052909blog 
www.hublehomestead.ca      This was real a surprise and fascinating place. I took many pictures here myself, but the link above tells it all. Many of these volunteers live out there during the open season. There is no Electricity and only well water. They grow their own vegetables and fruits. The store sells lots of goods much as it would have in the early 1900’s. I talked for quite a long time with a lady that has been working there for over 30 years. The picture below is her 30 years ago with her daughter who is now graduating from College.   

HubleLady (2) I purchased several different homemade jams to bring home to Anne and yes, they were very good. One more interesting item, they are the same family that is now connected with the Huble telescope in space. ( a little different spelling) As I leave Huble’s Homestead I can see the Sky is getting darker and darker, looks like rain tonight. As I climb up from Prince Georges River Level I pass over into a new valley. Up the road a bit I come to this very pretty water falls called Bijoux Falls and Park, no camping.
 Anew valley950905292009Blog     Falls9502052909BlogIt was trying to rain and snow along with a good wind blowing up. Not sure I’m going to find a place to sleep out or in the car tonight. A motel sounds awful good. As I speed towards Dawson Creek the sun breaks out for just a couple of minutes for a wonderful Sunset.
 
   SunsetTrees952605292009Blog    Sunset953805292009blog
May 30th, 2009

Dawson Creek  1109 miles from home.      Stayed at the Ramada Inn last night, quite stormy when I arrived, rain and high winds. Was about time for me to get cleaned up with a long hot shower. Tried to use their WI-Fi, but for some unknown reason my lap top would not log on.  After a motel breakfast of hot cereal, fruits, pastry and juices I tried to use the motels guest computer, but was never able to get it to work either. The wind was still blowing, but it was a bright and sunny day with the bluest of blue sky’s. In the center of town they have this Sign stating the start of ALCON highway. Bright and interesting building, Plus many wall murals on the building. I took many photos and then visited a couple antique stores, but didn’ see any that interested me.
DawsonCreek956353009blog AlaskaHotel956205302009Blog DawsonCreek9567053909web Mural9568053009Blog WallMural9569053009Blog 

 Next I drove about town some and visited the Tourist Information Center, bought couple gifts to bring home. They also had a free WI-FI, so I caught on my e-mail. The picture that follows here is where the real first mile starts, the one in downtown is for show. The Red Cat type tractor was made by IH in 1939 and used on the ALCAN Highway.
 DawsonCrsign959505302009Blog redtractor965305302009blog
http://www.britishcolumbia.com/regions/towns/?townID=3593
 I visited a couple of  local museums, mostly about the ALCAN highway, the people and the times.  See my Web Site for larger photos.  www.donsiebelphotography.com     Soon I was back on the road, But now I was on the ALCAN Highway. Twenty one miles out of Dawson Creek I came to this incredible Bridge. It is called the Curved Bridge, it spans over a deep ravine and is made of Wood. Prior to this bridge no one in the USA or Canada had ever made a curved wooden bridge and it is still standing and being used. It is on the Old Highway about 2 miles off the current highway. Much of the ALCAN Highway has been upgraded several times and moved since 1942. Some of it still follows the route, but much of it is 3  to 10 miles from the original built road. This was a bit disappointing. CurvedBr966005302009Blog

 CurvedBr966405302009Blog    mp21966605302009blog
I continued driving the rest of day towards Fort Nelson my next stop, but, first some food  and sleep. I stopped at campsite called Bucking Horse River.  Met a couple of girls there  from Germany as they gathered wood for a fire. They were also traveling to Alaska and Denali, over the next couple of days we would pass each other on the road or at viewing spots. It looked and felt like it was going to get cold tonight on the Buckinghorse River. Snow was still hanging around from the Winter.
 SnowBuckinghorse9678053009Blog BuckinghorseCamp967953009Web

This ends my first 5 days, I’ve seen a lot and met a lot of nice people so far. I’ve traveled about  1465 miles  and still have a long way to go.

 I’m starting a new Post ( Part #2 of My Summer Vacation dated May 31st to June 5th. I believe it will make reading a little easier breaking the story into parts.  Remember send me any questions or comments you might have and view full size photographs and Photo Merchandise at my Photo web site: www.donsiebelphotography.com  You may have to go to the Archives on the right side of the page to find Part 2.

May 25, 2009

Canada and Alaska Towns Itinerary

Filed under: Canada and Alaska — dgsoregon @ 11:14 am
Alaska/Canada Towns      
 Start May 26th      
TOWNS   Town Cumitive 
GOING NORTH    Miles  Miles 
Beaverton       
Seattle    182 182
Sumas Ca    113 295
Kamloops    177 472
Tete Jaune    218 690
Prince George    168 858
Dawson Cr    251 1109
Ft Nelson    283 1392
Watson Lk    319 1711
Ross River    329 2040
Carmacks   146 2186
Dawson City   220 2406
Tok   183 2589
Delta Jct    111 2700
Paxson   88 2788
Cantwell   137 2925
HealyDenli   37 2961
Anchorage   247 3209
Homer    223 3432
Seward   169 3601
Anchorage   127 3729
    3728  
COMING SOUTH       
Anchorage      
Tok    319 319
Haines Jct   293 612
Skagway   202 814
WhiteHorse/Carcross 7-2   107 921
Watson Lake    272 1193
Dease Lk    159 1352
Terrace   360 1712
Prince Rupert    89 1801
Prince George   446 2247
Cashe Cr   276 2523
Hope    120 2643
Vancouver, Ca    96 2739
Seattle    140 2879
Beaverton    183 3062
    3062  
Next Page »