To put this journey into perspective, think about this. We ride in a day what we could travel in an hour in a car. But at our pace, you see so much more detail. Every little creek and road drainage provides a gap in the trees from which we can see the far mountains across the vast valley that this part of the Alaska Highway shoulders. Nature’s beauty is breathtaking. We hear the swan calls in the morning, the squirrels chirping and the water rushing. At 10 miles an hour, I get to enjoy the bouquets of wildflowers that have sprung up along the roadside. I found the peace sign painted in tar on the road by the mischievous road worker. We passed slowly enough to to see the humorous license plates hung in a tree by an old homesteader: OLDFART and BEAVER! It was cute to see the heart inscribed in the sand along the Tanana River declaring Dalton’s love for Shannon! And there is plenty of time to daydream. This is good for the soul!
May 28 we rode 59.04 miles over 5 hours 41 minutes traveling from Tok to Lakeview Campground on Yarger Lake. So far, we have covered approximately 369 miles. I thought I left my journal in the motel room, so we got in an extra 1.6 miles as we backtracked to find it …. It was in my backpack after all.
After a huge breakfast in Tok, we began our eastward journey. It was 12 miles to the Tanana River which is very low for this time of year. We started climbing hills after the Tanana, and the first hill was 3-4 miles long.
Fortunately, it wasn’t a steep grade. For the next several miles, we rode up big hills and down small ones, slowly climbing to the summit.
When we finally descended, it was an emotional let-down as we descended in under 3 miles. What took us 2.5 hours to gain took us 10 minutes to lose. The rest of the day’s journey took us up and down smaller hills.
It is rare to have a campground to yourselves. But that is the privilege we found when we arrived at Lakeview Campground on Yarger Lake in the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge. What a treat! The lake has views of the Wrangell-St. Elias Mountains all along its southern shore. There were several pairs of nesting ducks and we were treated to the sounds of swans landing all night long. Experiencing these nuggets of nature is what makes this trip worthwhile.
On the 29th, we journeyed 54.98 miles in 5 hours 40 minutes to travel from our private campground to Beaver Creek. Most of the ride took us along the border of the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge.
What a beautiful oasis of wildlife this refuge is. Spending time here certainly allows you to understand just why places like this should be preserved. There are so many pairs of nesting swans. In the last few days, I have seen more swans than I ever have before.
We crossed into Canada and took a few moments to place a foot in each country!
This journey sure makes you appreciate the simple things in life.
A warm meal and bed are nice, but there is nothing that brings as much peace and comfort to me as nature and solitude