It had started raining while Rick and I were in the restaurant last night. We came out around 7:30 and spent the next hour and a half reading in the cab of the truck. The tent is holding, but it isn’t really designed for heavy rain. We mopped up a puddle or two, climbed into bed at 9p and decided we’d sleep until we were too wet or uncomfortable.
So….we are up at 3:55! We were not wet, but ready to go. And it wasn’t raining at the time! Pack up the wet tent and some damp sleeping bags in corners, The showers felt good!
On our way at 5am. The clouds are breaking up and the sun is starting to light up the sky more than it already was. The highway borders Teslin Lake on our south clear to Johnson Crossing. It is calm and still in the morning, filled with inlets and islands. I would take a few pictures, but the windows in the truck are fogged up!
……Rick drives to Whitehorse, where we arrive at 7am. We drove past many a lake, and along Teslin Lake and Marsh Lake. Clouds on the mountains are pretty as the sun breaks through. Rising mists on the lake give an eerie appearance to the views.
We stop in Whitehorse to gas up and eat break at McDonalds! We had to drive 100 miles this morning without a cup of coffee!
I start driving in Whitehorse, with instructions to Rick that he has to take a few pictures along the way! As we pull nearer to Haines Junction the sun really breaks out and lights up the range of mountains behind HJ and down south toward the Inland Passage. Awesome! We passed the RV Park we stayed in with the boys in ’96 – we couldn’t remember the name, but we both recognized it immediately!
Once we pull out of Haines Junction toward Kluane, the weather deteriorates rapidly. We seem to climb up to join the lowering clouds. Shortly before approaching the end of Kluane Lake, the rain begins. The clouds wrap the mountains up. We make the big turn around a nearly empty Destruction Bay (it looks like a huge marsh – we are thinking it only filled during the spring run-off) and alongside the lake for about 12 miles until we reach the community of Destruction Bay. All along we can see the peaks of the nearby “hills”, but the snowy peaks behind them are eluding us. It is not the sunshine we hoped for, but a beauty in its own way! We have a nice talk with a lady traveling along from Eugene – probably about our age. She was staying in hostels throughout the Inland Passage.
Rick takes over the wheel again. The rain begins to taper off…a little…and the mountains tease us some more. A blanket of clouds on the shoulders with just the peaks on top showing. Pretty cool. At one point we think we can see some of the really high mountains of the St. Elias range peak through.
The road from Kluane to the border is the worst of the trip. I can hardly type and think I will quit for awhile. This is quite a ride!
….I had to go back and edit that last part a bit. The road was so bad my fingers were bouncing all over the keys! Hence, the 125 miles to the border from Kluane were miserable as far as Rick was concerned. He should have earned a medal for pothole avoidance – we missed 90% of them I think! But he was dodging from one side of the road to another, except when there was oncoming traffic of course. From Kluane to Tok is also my least favorite part of the Al-Can. Mostly lots of scraggly spruce trees, marshes, and lakes = lots of lakes!
Through the border easily and we are into Tok by 2:30 or so. Of course, we gained an hour in entering Alaska which helped. We get a brand new little cabin at the same RV park we stayed with the boys – basically a hotel room with character! A TV even, soft beds, clean sheets, and DRY! We should sleep well tonight having been up since 4 am.
A little gift purchasing, drying out the gear, and an anniversary celebration dinner! (Our fancy meal of fake crab, gouda cheese, sourdough bread, and wine!) Tomorrow: Fairbanks! Tonight: comfort! We will arrive in much better shape!
Wildlife sitings: 2 egrets (we think) on top of a beaver dam; hundreds of potential moose settings, but no moose!