After three nights in Canada, driving through British Colombia and the Yukon, my wife and I crossed the border into Alaska. There was little environmental difference between the Yukon and Alaska initially but over time we drove into mountains that we had only viewed from a distance.
For several hours, the road wound through the Alaskan wilderness passing some small rural residencies and often offering spectacular views of sweeping forests of black fir, mountains, and rivers. The road seemed to buckle and rippled, I assume due to some kind of effect of the cold and ice. This slowed our progress significantly when we passed through these stretches. Driving too quickly over these areas would stress the suspension of our car or potentially cause the car to go airborne and then bottom out. Flirting with mechanical issues in this part of the world is quite foolish so we slowed down and enjoyed the view, stopping frequently to take pictures.
The first significant town that we drove through in Alaska was Tok which acts as a junction, the northern road leading to Fairbanks and the southern road leading farther west to Anchorage. Our destination being Anchorage, Tok was the farthest north we went in our journey. Travel by road is simple in Alaska, there are not many choices. We stopped to eat in this small town at a restaurant called Fast Eddies which was recommended to us by the owner of the lodge we had stayed at the previous night in Haines Junction, Yukon. Several of the locals arrived shortly after us dressed in their Sunday church attire, a surreal reminder to my wife and I that it was Easter Sunday. We still had plenty of day left when we arrived in Tok so we decided to complete the rest of our journey to Anchorage, Alaska.
The drive from Tok to Anchorage proved to be one of the most scenic legs of our extensive trip. Driving up the side of a mountain offered a fantastic view of a pine wooded valley that stretched for many miles. In the distance, several snowy mountain peaks rose to heights that clearly dwarfed anything we had yet witnessed along the way. We stopped at several pull-offs to take pictures. On one of these stops two bald eagles circled in the clear sky roughly a hundred yards away. We also saw a group of about 10 caribou crossing the road, we had to slow down as they seemed puzzled at the passing of cars along their road. The mountains never disappeared in the 6-hour journey from Tok to Anchorage and we were quite close before signs of the port city became evident.
I am not sure what Anchorage is like during the summer but it is not impressive in April when old snow from a long winter still lingers and slowly melts and turns everything to mud. The vehicles are covered in dust, gravel, and sand. City life is not the appeal of Alaska and what Anchorage lacks in this arena it makes up for in hiking trails, camping, kayaking, skiing, hunting, and climbing. For those who enjoy the wilderness, there is no end of activities.
After just under 6,000 miles of driving in the period between March 21 to April 16, 2017 we had arrived at our final destination. We couldn’t have been more thankful to God for blessing us with the opportunity to travel, and the prayers of friends and families who petitioned for our protection.