After driving the Dalton Highway to the Arctic Ocean and back, we resupplied in Fairbanks, cleaned the truck, and were ready to move on. Our first stop along the Parks Highway was Healey, where we camped a few nights on the riverbank, worked from the camper in the grocery store parking lot, and checked out the bus from the Into The Wild film at the 49th State Brewery. We researched hiking into the wilderness to the actual abandoned “Magic Bus”, but summer is when the Teklanika River rages, which is exactly how Alexander Supertramp got himself into trouble, so we settled for a cold beer and the movie prop.
We continued south, made a quick stop at Denali National Park, and camped at the municipal campground in downtown Talketena, a fun spot to wander the main street and belly up to one of the frontier bars to watch some local characters. We moved to Wasilla, camped in the Walmart parking lot for a night, and then found a much better free camp along a river. We spent the next few days there, working from the camper and driving back to town for laundry and groceries.
One night while closing the back door inside the camper the handle broke clean off. I needed a set of pliers to open the knob, but my tools were locked in the extended cab of the truck. This gave me the opportunity to test the emergency escape exit in the morning, which worked exactly as planned!
One of the highlights of the summer was hanging out with my adventure buddy Ryan. He and I have driven across Canada, bicycle toured South America, motorbiked Northern Vietnam, competed in Race Across America, and this summer while I was gallivanting around Alaska he was working as a bicycle tour guid with Backroads in Anchorage. We checked out local breweries, kayaked down a river (more of a stream), and headed out for a wilderness run in which Lisa and I got lost and nearly called Search & Rescue (an embarrassing yet funny story). Eventually we made it back to the camper to live another day!
We left Anchorage and set out to explore the Kenai Peninsula, spending a few days in both Soldotna and Kenai before meeting up with Ryan to camp at Kenia Lake. The next day we made our way to Seward and immediately fell in love. Seward is a picturesque little town on Resurrection Bay, an icy blue waterway fed by glacial runoff and nestled below towering mountains. The city campground offered $20 a night sites, hot showers, and a free afternoon show as the local sea otters swam up and down the coast, playing in the waves.
This place was absolutely incredible. We were camped quite literally on the original Iditarod Trail, worked during the day while watching cruise ships float past our back door, and enjoyed gorgeous sunsets each night. One morning we hiked up Mount Marathon, opting for the longer less steep route, and took in the views from the top. We were so enamored with Seward that we stayed for 6 days before we could pull ourselves away…
On the way out of Seward we made a stop at Exit Glacier and hiked up to the Harding Ice Field. The rangers had posted warning signs about an aggressive bear and her cubs in the area, and once we returned to the parking lot we read in the log that people had spotted the bear just after we started up, and just before we came back down. We tried not to let bear warnings keep us off the trails in Alaska, but we always carried our bear spray and were extra vigilant in the wilderness!
We crossed the Kenai Peninsuala again, this time to spend a few days in Homer and visit the Salty Dawg Saloon, camp on the Homer Spit, and check out the breweries. Homer was nice, but we definitely still had the magic of Seward on our minds!
From Homer we made a day trip to Whittier, an isolated town at the end of a single lane 2.5 mile long tunnel through the mountains that is used by the railroad as well as vehicle traffic. Each half hour the vehicle traffic changes directions, and a few times a day both ways are stopped to allow a train to pass. In Whittier we got to see a salmon run up close before heading back through the tunnel and camping near Girdwood. With that we left the Kenai Penisula behind and drove back to Anchorage to resupply in the “city” before the next leg of our Alaskan adventure!
Alaska Road Trip 2019
Driving The Alaska Highway – Read Here
Driving the Dalton Highway – Read Here
Valdez, Haines, The Yukon & BC – Read Here