Saturday, July 21, 2007
On our perilous journey north in the land of the midnight sun, daytime heats of 30+ degrees, hundreds of miles of taiga and tundra landscape, but mile by mile the highest peaks of the Alaskan Range and the North American continent come into view: Denali 'the mighty one'.
After quite a few debates on whether it would be too heavy on our fibreglass roof and pop-up.... we bought one anyway!
Worked till 'de kleine uurtjes' (dutch meaning late) putting some anchor points onto the roof to hold the canoe on. This picture was taken on our first canoeing trip on the Nancy Lakes an hour north of Anchorage. This was a canoe loop trail that crossed 14 small lakes with portages connecting them. This means carrying your canoe across trails to the next lake, which can be quite a challenge especially at the end of the day. We saw a moose and thought of how much the crew would have liked this place. What a pity!
Friday, July 20, 2007
We stayed in a hostell in Seward that night and went for a popular day hike up the side of Exit Glacier that flows out of the Harding Icefield. It was a great hike, saw 7 black bears and some dahl sheep ( or goat, not sure through binoculars). Very, very sore knee on the last stretch of the hike down, not a good thing. (Had it looked at by now, nothing to worry about)
Where are the travellers of our own age?
The bulk of RV owners are retired americans who now have made the RV their home and travel their livestyle for most of the year. The campervan'ers are mostly German or Dutch and a lot of these vehicles are rented. These people are usually retired as well and if not, they are at least 45+.
We have stayed in a few hostels, where we have met people our age but on the road, at reststops, provincial/state park campgrounds the selection is limited to families or 45+ 'ers.
When we first arrived in San Francisco and explored Yosemite NP for a few days we saw a lot of young people, so do they just hang out down there?
Maybe the ones that do make it up here, travel by bus from one hostel/hotel to the next and then book package deal tours to see/do the highlights.
I suppose a big difference in travelling Alaska and parts of Canada, compared to places like Australia, is that you need more toys and equipment to be able to enjoy yourself. Duane and I now have bought two bikes and a canoe, so that when we get to a lake we can go and explore. There is so much land out here and so few people that one really has to be selfsufficient. No coastline of easy accessible beaches, warm enough to swim and provide fun for days, but an ocean of trees as far as the eye can see and way beyond with a lake behind every second trunk.
Water in the lakes, rivers and ocean is often too cold to swim in and if not there is a high possibility of Mozzy invasion!
It's maybe not that this part of the world has more extremes than a place like Australia, because in many ways they are actually very similar:
- Big country, not a lot of people per square kilometre
- Loads of gravel roads, not well maintained
- Wildlife that is very capable of killing and eating you
- Areas where there will be no one to turn to for help in case of an emergency
- ...and much more
Perhaps it's the types of extremes that are more or less easy to cope with..
Often they tow cars, even 4WD's, have bikes mounted, as well as canoes. The owners obviously come in all sorts too. One thing most of them have in common though is having little wee dogs they sometimes allow to venture outside, on a leash of course, cause you wouldn't want the little darling to escape to fall into the claws of a.......................marmot or porcupine!
These little creatures are walked around the reststops for a few minutes before savely returning to the RV.
I often wonder if, apart from fuelstops and perhaps Visitor Info Centers & supermarkets, these little dog outtings are the main 'outdoor activity' for these 'Recreational' Vehicle drivers...
I could of course be very wrong, but it sure looks like a rather introvert world, that of the RV'er.
Although, even Duane and I have found ourselves guilty, in several occasions, of adopting this vehicle syndrome. We blame it on the ohhh so evil bloodsucking little fuckers: The MOSQUITO.
I simply have no positive angle to take to justify their existence.
Yes they are food for birds, frogs, fish and insects but so are ladybugs! Maybe we could have a few more of them!
And so returning to the vehicle syndrome....
We stayed in this lovely little campground in Stewart BC (pre mozzytent) and had to close all doors and windows, locking ourselves inside the van on a most beautiful sunny summer day, because of those little suckers.
Looking outside we were surrounded by campervans with tinted windows behind which people were 'recreating' in the same way. The only difference: they had aircon and a toilet.
The result of this phenomena is that the opportunity to meet fellow travellers is greatly reduced.
Other than a short conversation with a lady in the restrooms, while she was......washing her tiny shivering poodle in the handbasin (obviously), we were lucky enough to meet some guys our age, when our car wouldn't start due to a flat battery.
So maybe that's the key to meeting people here: Car trouble