Alaska 2014

NOTE:  When Sharon adds comments, they will be in {curly brackets}.  Comments added AFTER coming back to San Jose are in [square brackets].


Report 23. Day 23. Tue, May 27. Watson Lake, Yukon Territory to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.

It's 7:30 am. We slept in after yesterday's 4 am rising. I got up at 7 to get ready to use their sani dump because you never know when you might have a multi-day stretch with none available. These were actually the words of the owner, and they make sense.

We see a yellowish bird, possibly an Orange-crowned Warbler, possibly a Yellow Warbler. But no red streaks on belly and chest says not a Yellow. Seemed too yellow for Orange-crown but that's my best guess.

Sharon says she saw a sapsucker earlier, and I saw a woodpecker this morning.

Sharon has found three places for us to visit today. 1) Totems at the Tlinget Heritage Center, a Swan sanctuary and the Grand Canyon of the Yukon. Here we go.

We dump, and on our way out, we pass a black pony, whose mane is braided in three places, one right between his ears, in front. He comes over to me, but Sharon's words still ring in my ear: "Ponies are mean." It reminds me of Dad, who used to say to little kids who are coming up to a dog for the first time, "That dog'll bite you," real slow. {Later Bob's sister Shirley tells us of a friend of hers who was feeding an apple to a horse who bit off of one of her fingers. Yikes!!}

There are rocks arranged in the up-sloping land just beyond the edges of the road. The spell names. Sharon says that one year a swim team here started this practice, and over the years, it has mushroomed in popularity. In older ones, some of the rocks have fallen away, and you can't tell what they said. Like Steve Martin, "The Jerk," who was in the bathtub trying to read a letter his girlfriend left him, as she left. He dripped water all over it and the ink had run. He said, "Dear Mavin (Mavin?), adsf you and feeaf caz dam." Like that.

I have a game in mind, let's call it rocktionary, or rock pictionary. You start with a pile of rocks, and "draw" pictures by arranging the rocks. {Get ready next-door neighbors, Jenn and Damon}

One says "Tom + Linda, for ver", and I hope their relationship didn't go the way of the rocks.

Interestingly, we are going west all day today, in spite of the "North, to Alaska" song of the 50s or 60s.

Quarter to ten and a moose on our left saw us, turned around and disappeared down into the valley before we could shoot him. Soda speak.

A little before ten, and we cross the Continental Divide, Alaska style.

Stopping for a continental divide breakfast, we can't decide which waste basket to throw the trash. The one on the left, or the one on the right.

Later, we get great photos and video of a porcupine, but soon after, my memory stick fails, and I will try to recover the photos from it when we get back from San Jose. {Never did get the pictures but in our memories he had like a mohawk hairdo, moved very slow and was actually quite beautiful}

About 11, a young bald eagle soars overhead. Very smooth.

It's approximately 1217 pm. We stop in at the Teslin Tlingit Heritage Cente, on Teslin Lake. Pronunciation of that word is interesting. There are two entries: 'klinket' and 'tlinket' and both are validket. There are five tribes or clans, or "peoples". Our unofficial guide in the store says she is Raven. The other groups are frog, wolf, eagle and beaver]. And below are the five totems, depicting those animals. See if you can make out which is which.

We do a little gift shop browsing, but don't close on anything. There is a big converence going on here, and we are told it is a Tlingit Language Conference, involving the local First Nation people.

Aud c19 117pm. It appears that the memory chip I been using, just finished five clan photos, suddenly couldn’t work. Said couodn’t recognize format would I like to reformat.

NOOOOOOOOOOO! OK, I'm over it. Will have to locate the "can opener" software I once had that could rescue photos from memory chips in cases like this. And that won't be till we get back home.

While I'm flabbergasted at this turn of events, here's Sharon, calmly reading her book. I wanna be like that. {I'm only calm because it isn't something that actually deals with me. Otherwise this picture is reversed where I am the frantic one "If I don't find my sunglasses, I'll not be able to just use store-bought ones because these are prescription!" Bob is so sweet to put up with those moments.}

Aud c20 242am. Lunch 795.5 trip 63 degrees.

We take a lunch, and have noticed all day that there is very light smoky smell in the air. We learn that indeed it's fires in Alaska causing the haze and smell.

We continue on, following Sharon's reading about Swan Lake. So stop we do, and there is not one swan anywhere. Lots of ducks a long way out. Some shorebirds, and a bald eagle overflight.

We pass a bakery store called Aroma Borealis. About 4 pm, we cross over a narrow gauge railroad the miners used to use, on our way to the Grand Canyon of the Yukon. One takes Miles Canyon Road to get to it.

We drive down to a turnaround spot and park our rig into a corner such that we can complete a U-turn later, to exit the area.

Loading up on cameras we head down the stairs. We meet a young man and his dog, bounding up the stairs as we descend. Then we have the place all to ourselves. Here are the photos from Miles Canyon. {Before the hydro dam, this used to be the most perilous place for the gold prospectors to pass. They would have to cross rapids because the water was vicious here and they would often send their equipment first with someone to see if it would make it.}

After that, we drive straight to our RV Park for the night. They say there are no pullthroughs except "dry" ones - meaning no water, no electricity, no sewer hookup. I ask if they have a deep backin where we don't have to unhitch, and they find us two sites, 117 and 118. They just sent someone to 117 a half hour ago or so, and that group never came back, so he doesn't know if they're in it or not.

Anyway, he says if no one's in 117, we can take it. He asks how long we are and reconfirms that we should fit in either one without unhitching. He says 118 is 48 feet long, and I havppen to know that we are 48 feet long. When I told him 50, I was rounding off.

He said he was sorry but Wifi will not reach that far.

So we pay up, go out of the office, and Sharon asks do we want to drive there, or walk. I say let's drive because if we find a place, we can park immediately. She's down with that, and we drive over. No one is in 117, and it looks to be 55-60 feet deep, so we maneuver around, and I back straight in. As we are hooking up electricity and so on, a gigantic pickup pulling a 50-foot long fifth wheel trailer starts backing into 118. He barely makes it, but has to disconnect and park the pickup across the park road. {This man lives half the year in Arizona and half in Fairbanks where he has children. He had a gadget that locks onto satellite and his kids can see where he is as he goes along. He also takes it when he goes hunting and said that if he needed help, he can push the "I've fallen and I can't get up" button and the company will reimburse up to $100,000 to come and rescue him. He pays $90 a year for this service, and what a bargain that is. Cool and I think a comfrot to his kids.}

Great to be in a good place, and you know what? The WiFi works! Plus there's spaghetti for dinner, so the world took three great spins for us - a good site, no need to disconnect and spaghetti. Wait,four great spins. We just saw the Grand Canyon of the Yukon.

A pretty quiet day. Chee-uhs,
Bob and Sharon

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