Yep, it’s true! I made it back without incident. Now, let me tell you how it all went down…
From Haines Junction, Yukon, Canada, I rode a magical 146 miles to the small port town of Haines, Alaska. I spent three nights, four days on this gorgeous expanse of land because I never wanted it to be over. This corner of the world includes four parks that make up the largest protected landmass ON EARTH! Who knew? I’m telling you it’s spectacular! It’s often referred to as the “Mountain Kingdom of North America.” It includes the continents largest assemblage of glaciers and the greatest collection of peaks above 16,000 ft. Mount St. Elias at 18,008 ft. is the highest peak in Canada and the second highest in the US after the grand master – Denali!
Here are just a few photos that don’t do the scenery justice at all. All taken by my little wimpy outdated iPhone.
You might notice one thing missing in all these photos. Yes, that’s right…cars! It was crazy, but there were really very few cars on the road. I could have been riding naked and no one would have known. That was kind of the theme of my entire trip (no, not riding naked!), but I was more surprised about this section. I was told the reason was that it was already September and tourism really dies off towards the end of August. Fantastic!
So the days were still long but not as long as up north. It was now getting dark around 9pm vs midnight. The first night I stayed at Million Dollar camp ground (which was free for me!). No one was there when I rode in then two couples came in and thankfully parked next to me. They had a big campfire and invited me over for a glass of homemade wine!
The second night I slept in the “Green Shack.” There is a long stretch of road with nothing in-between. Apparently, this hut was built to shelter skiers, hikers and bikers alike. I was kind of excited to stay here in the middle-of-nowhere. I stopped around 8pm., made dinner, “washed” up a bit and then hunkered down for the night. When I closed the door it was pitch dark inside something that I wasn’t used to on this trip. There was a window but it was boarded up. I imagined to keep it warmer. A couple days later, I met a guy who had also stayed here and told me a mouse had ran across his face in the night. And, when I mentioned the window being boarded up he said because a grizzly had smashed it in! Ignorance definitely is bliss.
After the little green shack, I joyfully road to the British Colombia/Alaska boarder to the tiny hamlet of 33 mile. Here I rewarded myself with a cold beer and another little shack. The red shack. No mice or rats ran over my face, but again, just a matter of luck.
From here it was a bittersweet downhill cruise into Haines. The journey wasn’t over but the riding pretty much was. I savored every moment of the unlimited space and meditative silence.
And finally, the inevitable happened…
I can’t complain; I had three spectacular days in Haines.
I was lucky to find a little free place to pitch my tent. I had to share it with a few odds and ends, not to mention an “odd” year-around neighbor, but the price was right and the views were first class!
Thanks for taking the time to share in my big adventure! I will have one final post before I wrap it up. Please stay tuned in the following weeks as I post photos on the ride back to Seattle on the Alaska Marine Ferry and share some final reflections on this awesome ride up north.