Jasper National Park, Canada

The Road Trip Continues… Alaska to Pennsylvania

After traveling for several days through the Yukon and British Columbia, we finally arrived in Alberta where we took our first two day stop at Jasper National Park. Talk about pretty. The Canadian Rockies are something to marvel at- towering jagged peaks of sheer rock. The area is snaked by rushing blue-green rivers and some of the prettiest lakes I have ever seen.

We were welcomed to the park by several packs of goats who are a car-stopping attraction in this area. Literally. They walk out in front of cars as if they own the road and don’t seem to mind when they block both lanes of traffic as they walk back and forth. Too funny.

Our other animal highlight in Jasper: a huge male elk! His velvet rack was impressive as he stood stoically on the side of a back road.

But my favorite part of the park during these first two days was our hike on the Sulphur Skyline Trail. It was an intense uphill climb, over 2,000 feet of elevation gain, but the views made it worth every lung-burning minute.

On the final shelf before the peak, we walked through a field of alpine wildflowers. It reminded me of pastel polka-dots scattered across green paper. So cute.

The wind picked up as we began the final ascent to the summit, a series of tight switchbacks up a rock/gravel knoll that would lead us to the treeless, boulder-topped peak. Lucky for us we hit the summit as the other group was going down so we had it to ourselves. A moment alone with the mountains.

The view…wow. It felt as if we had been dropped into the jaws of a shark, rows of razor sharp mountains piercing the blue sky in every direction. Wind pushed in fierce gusts that sucked my jacket tight to my skin. I never wanted to come down.

Beautiful.

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The First Leg: Yukon, Canada

We are 24 days into our journey from Alaska to our new home in Carlisle, PA, and I am finally getting around to writing my first blog about the trip. I’m behind. Way behind. And it is hard to imagine how to backtrack and tell you about all the amazing things we have seen over the last 5,000 miles. But here goes nothing.

We left Alaska on June 30 and headed straight for Canada. Crossing the boarder felt a little like taking a big gulp of air and diving into the water. No turning back now.  Let the road trip begin!

Driving east, we took the famous Alcan Highway. It would carry us approximately 1,700 miles from Alaska deep into Canada. It has a reputation for great wildlife sightings, rough roads, and fabulous scenery. And it certainly lived up to our expectations on every front.

The first stretch of the Alcan travels through the Yukon, which I loved. It is wide open and wild. Sometimes we would drive for hours without seeing another car. Bears appeared alongside the highway like dark shadows and the mountains poured across the landscape. It is a place where you breath deeply and feel the power of the natural world.

Grizzly Bear

Wood Bison

The Alcan

The road conditions were awful: frost heaves, gravel, and pot holes that could swallow a dog. But our car plugged on without incident (which we were thankful for).

We camped every night. Enjoying the quiet of this part of the country and the rush of water from rivers and rain that make sleeping outside feel like being swept up into a lullaby. Lovely.

In many ways the Yukon felt a lot like Alaska. Like home. A fabulous start to our journey (even with so many hours in the car).