To get to the main part of Alaska from the panhandle one either continues on the
ferry or rides back into Canada. For us entry into Canada is simple, we show our
passports and are welcomed. For Dirk and Hetty it is only slightly more complicated. They
have to go into the border station and get their passports stamped on entry into
Canada or the USA. On this trip they got lots of stamps. They entered the US four
times and Canada three times in their time traveling with us.
We rode out of Skagway and north into the Yukon in a cold and overcast day, just
like all of our days in the panhandle. Over the mountain is a lake that is the headwaters
of the Yukon River. This is where the clouds cleared. This is also where the miners
built rafts and boats for the 1000+ mile trip down the Yukon River to Dawson City
and the Klondike gold fields.
We turned left on the Alaskan Highway. The over 1400 mile highway pioneered in nine
months by the US Army during WW II. Today the road is a nice two-lane highway following
broad valleys and crossing wide rivers. The brush and trees are cleared back about
a hundred feet on each side. This young Grizzly was resting near the trees and watching
the tourists that had stopped to watch and photograph him.
The moose was feeding in a pond a few hundred miles further on. We saw lots of wildlife
on this trip; Grizzly and Black bear, Moose, wolves, foxes, deer, coyotes, bison,
eagles, caribou, Humpback and Orca whales, sea lions, sea otters and others.
This is what much of the Alaskan Highway looks like. Wide, forested valleys with
lakes and views to the distant mountains. It is spectacular country.
One night we camped near Homer on the Kenai Peninsula and watched about a dozen Bald
Eagles and a hundred Seagulls scrap over the remains of salmon that the fishing boats
had thrown overboard. The eagles usually won and flew off with the carcass. The
eagles around that campground were almost as numerous as the pigeons in New York's
We have traveled in a big loop from Skagway around through Tok, Anchorage and Homer
to the town of Seward. If we had stayed on the ferry we would have been here sooner. Seward
is a small city in the Kenai Peninsula on the southern coast of Alaska. It is also
the starting point for boat tours of the Kenai Fjords National Park. The Kenai Star
is our tour boat for the day. It has a National Park Guide on board to explain what
we are going to be looking at and has a Salmon and Prime Rib lunch. We have good
seats by the windows but we spent most of our time on the open decks.
We saw Sea Otters and Humpback and Orca whales on the way to the glaciers. As well
as interesting rock formations.
When we got to the glacier the captain eased through the floating ice until we were
only a couple hundred feet from the face of the glacier.
Then he turned off the engines and we listened to the glacier crack, pop and groan
as the ice moved down the valley. We watched and listened as chunks of ice calved
into the water.
Then we topped it off with an excellent lunch. The beer was extra cost but was reasonably
priced considering we were on a boat off the coast of Alaska. On the trip back the
captain sailed close to some rock islands that had a colony of sea lions on them.
We were escorted for part of the trip back by a pod of dolphins. They rode the bow
wave of the boat but just under the surface of the water. It seemed as if the boat
must run over them they were so close but they used the force of the water as it
came off the bow to push themselves along.
When we got back to shore we hit the tourist shops and bought a few trinkets. The
next morning we are headed north to Denali N. P. with Mt. McKinley, the highest peak
in North America.