After leaving Whitehorse, we headed out on the last leg of our trip before hitting the border of Alaska. This part was by far, the most rugged, wild, arduous, and beautiful driving of the entire trip.
This portion of the drive took us through places like Haines Junction, Destruction Bay, and the Kluane National Park.
Getting on the road….one of the first signs that we saw, displaying "Fairbanks" driving distance. This was in Kilometers.
A small sampling of the mountains ahead.
The first part of this day’s drive, we actually had fairly clear skies. So the blue skies were a welcome sight, even if they didn’t last the whole day.
Upon reaching the town of Haines Junction, we had been told that the road conditions would improve. That the worst driving was between Whitehorse and Haines Junction.
Maybe in someone’s dreams.
The next portion of the driving became increasingly difficult, and nail-biting the further we went.
I truly felt that this land we were driving through, so wild and beautiful, almost refused to be tamed by the pavement of a road. Like a wild animal chewing through a restraint, or a wild horse throwing one who would break it.
This land would not be tamed by a road.
And pity the fool who thought he could do so.
Some of the better roads, approaching Kluane.
If you look wayyyyyy up on the mountain, you could see little white specks that looked like albino fleas wandering around.
These were a herd of Dall Sheep. We spent some time with the binoculars trying to get a good look. A telescope would have been more appropriate.
"The world’s largest gold pan."
At this stop, looking way out across the water, we actually thought we could see a grizzly bear laying on the shore. It was too far to get a good look though, so we can only imagine if we were right.
The roads at this point were becoming so difficult, that driving more than 30 miles an hour on the highway was risky. Imagine a road that has just been hit by an earthquake. It is broken and sticking up with jagged edges, shelves of uneven pavement with drops of a foot or more. Then someone comes along and instead of fixing the road, simply fills the gaps with some gravel or tar, leaving the juts and crevices untouched. That is what this road was like. Untamable.
Here we took a break and looked out over a small lake. There was a pair of tundra swans nesting there.
At this rest stop, everyone kind of waited around to see who would be the one to hit the road first. Who would be the one out there on the road, testing it? Daring?
We pulled out right after this guy. We determined it was best to be second in line, because when the vehicle in front of you slams on its brakes, or bounces 3 feet to the side, that is your warning to hit the brakes NOW!
This was one of the better parts of the road. Gravel!
And finally….the thing we had been waiting to see for more years than we can remember.
The border…as far as the eye could see.
Here Jennifer’s right leg was in Canada, and her left was in Alaska.
At this point, I literally cried.
We had been on the road for 21 days, starting in North Carolina, winding across the country, through Canada, and finally reaching our amazing new home. Then we hit customs, got the "Welcome to Alaska!" from the very friendly border agent, and we welcomed the better road. Even if it was dirt for a few miles.