Alright good people of the blog-o-sphere. We have been bad bloggers and we know it. I will fully admit I have the attention span of a concussed goldfish, and between that and the new “to-do list” of prepping for the Appalachian Trail we let the blog fall by the wayside. I’m going to make an effort over the next week to publish some of the highlights of our last two months in NZ but also not get bogged down in the weeds with every little story. For those of you interested in what we ended up doing with our time and needing some closure on the Mushu saga stay tuned for the next couple weeks. (This will also help people that are doing research on what to do in New Zealand!) We’re also going to be adding posts on our AT prep, but we need to finish prepping to actually write about it.
On August 2nd, 2013 the Jetta, freighted down to the maximum recommended amount, started turning it’s wheels north from Chugiak to the Alaskan/Canadian border. We had 6 full days to cover the 2,500mi trek to Calgary so that Lindsay could meet up with her oldest sister Breanna and carpool to their middle sister Chelsea’s bachelorette/stagette party while Hunter and I (Clay) would hang out it Calgary for a few days. The first day we made it past Tok, AK and ended up sleeping in a gravel pit about 50 miles into the “Top of the World Highway”. As if it were a good omen on our future endeavors, the late summer sky blessed us with possible the most beautiful sunset we had ever seen. All seven colors of the spectrum were visible (and I could even see 6 of them… I’m slightly “color deficient” for those who do not know) in either the sky, reflection off the clouds or off the mountains. Of course, we didn’t end up with a picture of the sky, we just sat on our camp stools admiring it.
Day two held some bad luck and a little adventure. We had to cross about 150mi of rough gravel road to make it to the Yukon River Crossing and the awesomely unique little frontier/gold rush town of Dawson City. Well as fate would have it, in the most abandoned, rural part of the dirt road we popped a tire; nonetheless, with a can of fix-a-flat and a little bit of cussing we were headed toward civilization. We had 3 flats on the drive up to Alaska three years ago so at least this was an improvement…
After a stop in Whitehorse, YT for a pair of brand new front tires and a workout, we headed south along the Cassiar Highway taking us from the Yukon Territories down to civilization in British Columbia. We took the complete ALCAN (Alaska-Canadian) Highway north when we moved to Alaska and the Cassiar became a welcome alternate route and a bit of a gem in hiding. We spent the day driving past working gold mining operations, the worlds largest wholesale jade dealer and saw only 7 black bears and 1 brown bear next to the road… and of course Hunter thought he should play with them all.
The last day of Leg 1 brought us from Jasper, Alberta to Banff, Alberta via the Icefields Parkway. A 3 hour drive turned into 6 just because of the beauty of the land around us… and the unbearably slow driving of some tourists on a windy road. We stopped for a few pictures, but a drive through the park just wouldn’t do it justice and we both agreed to return for a week or two of backpacking from Banff to Jasper when time would allow.
We ended up making it to Calgary just as time ran out, leaving Hunter and I to enjoy a “guys’ weekend” which he spent barking at all the homeless guys that walked by while the girls went and played at a vineyard. Hey, can’t complain too much about sleeping in and eating a 1/2 gallon of ice cream with the puppy.