2021 Canada & Alaska Road Trip: The Way Back

You can see part 1 here.

Day 9 – Tuesday, August 24th, 2021

Up early because the plan called for us to get from Anchorage to Whitehorse, a little more than 700 miles and about 13 hours, in a single day. We blew past a bunch of glaciers in Wrangell-St Elias National Park, slowed down for wildlife:

made it into Canada encountering zero hostility, and many many hours later, arrived at the same Whitehorse campground that we stayed at on the way up.

Day 10 – Wednesday, August 25th, 2021

According to the aurora forecast, both the evening of the 24th and the evening of the 25th were going to be good nights to get a glimpse of the northern lights. Greg caught a glimpse one morning on the way up (that I missed) but I was determined to see the green glow and so I set an alarm for 3am on both nights… and I set up my GoPro to take a timelapse from the top of the truck, which both nights, captured a couple of glimpses:

in both Whitehorse and the next night in Fort Nelson. The drive from Whitehorse to Fort Nelson was remarkable again for the scenery through Muncho Lake Provincial Park and Stone Mountain Provincial Park (both closer to Fort Nelson) but we didn’t stop anywhere to enjoy the views.

Day 11 – Thursday, August 26th, 2021

Up early to get on the road so that we could get through the 615 miles / ~11 hours of driving to our hotel in Jasper. Lunched on the tailgate of the truck in Dawson Creek, snapped some pictures of Mile 0 and the World’s Largest Beaver, and finally made it to our hotel in Jasper:

Day 12 – Friday, August 27th, 2021

Up early, gassed up, got coffee, and hit the road for the longest day of the trip (we drove almost 800 miles and made it home Saturday morning at about 2am). The drive through Jasper and Banff is called the Icefields Parkway and we easily could have spent a week or longer driving and camping through this part of the trip:

After driving for a couple hours… and here’s a horrible timelapse of said drive:

we got off the main highway and did a short 6 mile hike up to the Wilcox Viewpoint, which had views of the Athabasca Glacier, some bighorn sheep, and a number of other mountains that I’m going to come back and climb some day:

We originally had talked about trying to get to Canmore (near Banff) then spending the night somewhere in Washington, and driving home the rest of the way on Saturday but as so often happens on long roadtrips, we were exhausted and just wanted to hightail it home, so we did.

No regrets, I’d do the trip again in a heartbeat. Next time I’m going to have a tricked out Tundra (minus the dorkel) and take a couple months, spending extra time in Yukon / Kluane, Alaska, and Jasper / Banff, probably taking the ferry up, and then driving back.

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