We may have had the worst ever route description and rendering turning a challenging 4 mile hike into what seemed like an endless stretch. But in the end, it made the honey pot that much sweeter, arriving to the Snowbird Hut in the Talkeetna range out on a remote glacier – all to ourselves – with 360 degree stunning views.
With an 8pm departure from Marge, we settled into this New Zealand (better known to most as Lord of the Rings) -esque destination.
Camp was just “one mile” away from the Snowbird hut on the other side of the pass. Turns out, it was a world away in many regards!
Finally arriving to the hut, tucked away at the toe of the glacier afforded us stunning views into the valley below.
The ever anticipated Snowbird Hut Oops — that’s the outhouse, with the world’s greatest top-of-the-thrown views!
This is Snowbird Hut, a 2010 community built delight with impressive and storied architecture.
Well they say most people never catch a glimpse of “The High One”, and we certainly didn’t. But we got some great views on cool hikes through the high tundra of central Alaska while trying to sneak a peak.
Can you pretend you see Denali behind the clouds?
Even with no peak views there is always cool wildlife like the Hoary Marmot:
And lot’s of Wildflowers:
And delicious berries like the watermelon berry!
Means endless wild blueberries for a delicious breakfast!
Driving along the gorgeous Denali Highway, we saw two canoes parked under a bridge. On a whim we popped into the Maclaren Lodge to ask if they rented canoes. To our luck, it turned out that they host overnight canoe trips to a back country cabin, constructed 10 miles upriver at the base of the Maclaren Glacier. A few minutes to pack up, and Alan hauled us, a canoe, and all our gear up to the hut:
Secluded in the Clearwater Mountains, it was a beautiful and remote place to cook up some soup**:
After brewing up some coffee first thing the next morning we took off on a hike to the top of a little peak up the tundra from our campsite…
… with great views out over the valley (though the rapidly approaching rain clouds washed out the photo of the glacier):
We then returned to camp for the 2 hour downstream canoe trip back to the lodge:
Bonus: the lodge hosted the BEST shower of our trip!
** Also important to note that the outhouse hosted the best bathroom views since the Bugaboos!!
Downtown Chicken on a busy day. Great place to begin our Alaskan journey.
Heading north through the Yukon is a journey back in time. Small remote towns that have changed little since the gold rush of the 1800s. From Teslin,
To Pelly Crossing,
Each outpost host a historic sites interspersed with a unique and remote Yukon lifestyle. The massive Klondike River winds through this countryside dominating the landscape:
Dawson City is quite an experience. A town that boasts its historic charm, culinary excellence and boisterous nightlife. After a late evening stroll through town, hoping to find someone enjoying Dawson’s signature drink “The Sour Toe**”, we hopped the sunset ferry back to our campsite a bit after midnight. It’s a real trip living with no nighttime! I’m not sure it ever got completely dark. A bit disorienting.
A jaunt through the Yukon’s Tombstone Territorial Park was a great way to appreciate the history and scenery of the near arctic north.
Now we’re setting off on the “top of the world highway” into Chicken Alaska (thanks for the rec Ryan!).
** The Sour Toe is a shot of strong liqueur with a real human toe, apparently sterilized, fermenting at the base. Rumor has it that you are fined $500 if you swallow the toe. We didn’t see anyone enjoying Dawson’s signature cocktail, but we heard whispers of it throughout the town.
“This is the law of the Yukon and ever she makes it plain: Send me not your foolish and feeble, send me your strong and your sane. Strong for the red rage of battle; sane for I harry them sore. Send me men girt for combat, men who are grit to the core.”
– Robert William Service
A poem memorized in Mr. Biggs’s 8th grade class in 1994 (!)
After a delightful few weeks in the Canadian Rockies, we prepared for the dauntingly long, 39 hour, drive to Alaska. The beautiful northern BC countryside is speckled with quaint farms, rolling hills, dense forests and stunning mountains. Not such a bad way to begin a monstrously long drive.
After a 5am start and a half day drive, we were running low on gas and decided to take a detour through Stewart and cross the boarder into Hyder, an isolated outpost on the Alaska BC boarder.
Great decision! Hyder had an awesome fish and chips shack in a gutted school bus.
And Stewart hosts The Dash’s gourmet food court in an unlikely spot. K is happy as can be after one of our best dining experiences of the trip!
And we got to see a grizzly bear gobble a salmon. Welcome to Alaska!
After cooking up dinner on the bay (there’s a bald eagle on the post in the water), now we’re back on the road, finishing up the drive through northern BC. Tomorrow is the Yukon!