July 10th, 2012 – It had rained all night, but it had stopped by morning, and left behind cool temps……46 degrees and windy! We hitched up rather quickly, and started on up the road. We were headed to Valdez, but planned to take two days to get there.
We were driving Hwy 1 around Kluane NP in British Columbia……We had been on the look-out for wildlife of any sort, but, particularly bears, when we spotted this mother Grizzly and her two cubs.
The mom and cubs were just lazily wandering along side of the road…eating bits of vegetation here and there.
We stopped just in the road, and Fred got out with the camera. To tell you the truth, this is how we much prefer to encounter these large predators…..with the safety of our car right close by!
The cubs were so cute!
They really looked sort-of cuddly……..but, of course, you don’t dare try to get any closer……
The cubs wandered much further ahead of the mom than I had expected. I can see how easy it would be on a trail to accidentally get between the mom and cubs…..a BIG no-no!
We watched them for a while, then needed to get moving ……
We drove on through Tok, AK then on to Gakona for the night, a total of 370 miles. The driving was a bit tedious, with a number of areas of road construction, and more areas of road damage (this is what the road signs called it). Rough road (in spots) that shook the camper and knocked cushions off the couch and stuff out of the cabinets.
About mid-morning, it had started to rain and continued to drizzle on and off all day. It never did warm up. Temps hovered between 45-50 degrees. I know that this must seem incredible to those of you in the heat…..and I am not saying that we miss the 100+ degrees……But, it is a bit hard to think that it is almost mid July and we are running the heater!
The drive from Tok to Valdez wraps around the northeast boarder of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park and the Copper River valley.
It is beautiful, and I had been particularly interested in stopping along the way in Gakona, after reading a book that is set in this area. The book “Sisters” by Sammie and Aileen Gallaher, is a true story of Aileen Gallaher who married a fur trapper, Slim Williams, in 1926 and moved from Fresno, California to a small cabin in the Copper River valley. Her sister, Sammie, then just a 15 yr old teenager, comes to live with them. They lived just 7 miles north of Gakona, and various landmarks in this area are mentioned throughout the book.
One of those landmarks was the Gakona Roadhouse, an all purpose stop in Gakona that included the post office, a lodge, and restaurant.
We ate supper at the Gakona Lodge, in one of the original buildings constructed in 1924.
This stuffed wolf was on display at the lodge. In the story ‘Sisters” Aileen Gallaher raises a pet wolf, planning to use it for breeding with their sled dogs to strengthen the line. Wolf stories always intrigue me…….