Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Yukon

Kluane Lake

The Yukon is a vast, rugged province in northwestern Canada that borders Alaska.  The Yukon is home to Kluane National Park, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s the largest protected land area in the world.  We camped along two lakes including the incredible Kluane Lake, the largest lake in Yukon. 

We also encountered the first aggressive mosquitoes of our trip, though they were still relatively restrained compared to the legendary Alaskan “State Bird.”  Most of the mosquitoes were the annoying but non-biting males, though I did encounter one swarm of females that chased me through a parking lot like killer bees.  Fortunately I can run faster than mosquitoes can fly.

The Yukon was beautiful and breathtaking, but also chilly and rainy.  Fortunately, we’ll pass through this area again on our way from Alaska to Washington state (the only part of our trip that we’ll repeat) so we plan to stop at Kluane National Park again during its autumn in late August / early September.

Please check out our three new photo posts from the Yukon:

Alaska Highway in Yukon
Kluane National Park
Kluane Lake

Oh Canada, Oh Beautiful

Every park we visit in Canada, we think we’ve just seen the most beautiful place on Earth… until we visit the next park.  Today we left Muncho Lake Provincial Park, a suggestion by my buddy Tim Perez.  Muncho Lake is considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, and with good reason.  It’s 7 miles long by 1 mile wide and an incredible turquoise color, the result of copper oxide leaching into the water from the surrounding cliffs.  When the sun would come out, the lake would turn almost fluorescent.  We were fortunate to land a campsite right on the lake, such that the water was lapping on the shore just a few steps from the back of our RV.

Muncho Lake

Please check out the photos from our latest adventures in Canada:

Jasper National Park
Bear Mountain Wind Park
Alaska Highway in British Columbia
Stone Mountain Provincial Park
Muncho Lake Provincial Park

Our New Best Friend: “The Milepost”

We have a new constant companion on our journey along the Alaska Highway.  It is a book called The Milepost 2012: Mile-By-Mile Highway Log.  For the past 809 miles of our 1,348-mile driving journey through Canada, the passenger has been reading religiously from this amazing 784-page book, which literally details of every mile of the Alaska Highway.

The Alaska Highway stretching across Canada for as far as the eye can see

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Zero Pollution and the Wind is Free

Wind power is clean energy.  It has the lowest carbon footprint and lowest overall environmental impact of any energy source.  It produces ZERO pollution and is powered by a renewable energy source: the wind.

Theresa standing in front of the massive 3 MW energy generating wind turbine

When I see wind turbines, I get excited.  I am inspired by the massive turning blades producing clean, pollution-free energy.  So it was a thrill when we visited the Bear Mountain Wind Park in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. In the above picture, I’m standing at the base of Turbine #34 (click on this and any picture for a larger version). 

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Facebook Running Narrative of our Trip

In addition to writing this blog, I also post a steady stream of comments and photos on Facebook.  Since those are visible only to my family and friends, I’ve replicated them here for all to enjoy.  The posts are listed in chronological order starting when we left Kentucky on January 26, 2012.  They provide a nice running narrative of our trip.

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Our First RV Camping Experience at Walmart

Theresa at our Walmart camping spot

From anecdotal reports, about half of the Walmart stores across the USA and Canada allow free overnight camping in their parking lots for RVs.  Apparently this policy started in the early days of the Walmart empire because founder Sam Walton was an RVer himself and wanted to do something for the RV community.  It also makes good business sense: RVers parked overnight at Walmart are likely to shop there too.

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Updated TnT Route Map

Please check out our updated TnT Route Map.  It’s now current through Yoho National Park in Canada.  Click the image below to see the map, or click “MAP” in the link bar at the top of this blog.

Click to view the TnT Route Map

To the left of the map, there is a list of all the parks and places we’ve visited in the order we visited them.  Click on a park name to see a brief description of that park, plus a link to the corresponding photo tour. 

You can also hover your mouse pointer over any one of the “pins” on the map to see the name of that park.  Click on the pin to see the park description and photo link.

Journey to Alaska

Timm standing at Mile 0 on the Alaska Highway

Our journey to Alaska begins tomorrow morning.  We’ll be driving 1,387 miles on the infamous Alaska Highway from Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada to Delta Junction, Alaska, United States.  Along the way, we plan to stop at Stone Mountain and Muncho Lake Provincial Parks in British Columbia, and Kluane National Park in Yukon.  We’ll stay in campgrounds and also try to find some nice dispersed camping spots.  We expect the trip to take about 2 weeks and hope to arrive in Alaska around June 23.

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An Adventure, Not a Vacation

Recently Theresa was corresponding via email with a former coworker who was experiencing some family problems, and the coworker replied, “Easy for you to say, you’re on vacation for a year.”  The coworker didn’t say it with malice; it was just her perspective of our trip.  But her statement didn’t ring true with how we were feeling, so it got us thinking: How is our trip different from a vacation? 

Over the past 20 years of our relationship, Theresa and I have taken at least one vacation per year to a national park.  Before this trip, we had visited a total 26 national parks in the United States, a few of them more than once.  Our typical vacations last about 11 days: one day to travel there, four days of hiking, one day to travel to another part of the park, four more days of hiking, and one day to travel home.  Whereas this trip will hopefully last about 10 months.  So the huge difference in time between a vacation and this trip will naturally imply major differences in all aspects of our lives. 

Timm & Theresa at the location of the Athabascan Glacier when they met in 1992

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Lovin’ Canada

We’re really loving our exploration of the Canadian National Parks.  Nearly every hike produces a “wow” experience.  The snow-covered mountains are majestic, the turquoise lakes and rivers look unreal, and the waterfalls are hypnotic.  We’ve seen 14 bears (including a big black bear chewing on our RV), elk, mountain goats, big horn sheep, coyotes, and even wolves (heard in the wild and seen in captivity).  And we just spent two days camping outside Yoho National Park at the most incredible dispersed camping spot with our own private view of a 10-story waterfall that roared beneath two 10,000-foot snow-capped mountains: 

Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park as seen from our dispersed camping spot

About the only thing we can complain are the prices (everything is 50-300% more expensive than in the USA) and the weather.  It’s cloudy and rains (or snows) almost every day.  The sun peaks out for a few hours every few days.  We cheer if the temperature hits 60 and shiver when it drops to freezing many nights.  Most of the high elevation hikes are snowbound until mid-July.  But the incredible views and wildlife experiences more than make up for the poor weather.  We’ve already agreed that we want to return and spend a July and August in the Canadian Rockies.

We’ve added photos from a bunch of new parks we’ve visited in Canada.  Please check out our photo tours:

Glacier National Park
Mount Revelstoke National Park
Northern Lights Wildlife Wolf Centre
Yoho National Park