Alaska Road Trip 2017
Day 0: Preparing For Our Journey
Welcome to our travels from Denver, Colorado to the last frontier. The next four weeks revealed 10,000 miles and adventures that showcases our love for photography. It all started with the American Dream. We both have spent most of our adolescence in Colorado and that has left us wondering what is it out there. We have done extensive research on Alaska and thought it could be a potential home for us. We started planning this trip Mid-January of 2017 and started gathering supplies at the end of April. The Milepost was our most important purchase. This holy grail of a magazine provided maps, destinations, and gas stations all along the Alaskan Highway. Without this map, we had no service on our cellphones, no GPS in our car and had forgotten to go to AAA for an Alaska travel guide (rip). We have always been great travelers and have done multiple road trips before… we weren’t daunted by this great expedition, just stoked about what we would encounter!
Side Note: When we didn’t stay with friends or family, we slept in the car. We managed to put all of our bags in the front seats, put the back seats down and lay down an air mattress that was super comfortable. We had lights and clips to see and hang things to easily get ready for the day.
Day 1: Denver, Colorado to Salt Lake City, Utah
Our first day of adventure! We woke up around 0400 to start our day. The drive through Wyoming was far from eventful (lots of rocks and tumbleweeds to keep us company) we ended up stopping at a gathering of rocks for some quick bouldering. We got to Salt Lake mid afternoon and had a nice afternoon with family and just preparing for the days ahead. We got some golden hour shots at a nearby hangout and enjoyed seeing how green Utah was compared the dryness of Colorado.
Day 2: Salt Lake City, Utah to Sacramento, California
We woke up early to see the sunrise in at the Salt Flats. The drive through Nevada was around the same excitement as the previous day in Wyoming. Got our fixing of In and Out burger in Reno (too good not to). We really enjoyed touring Sacramento with family and had a delicious dinner at one of many hipster type of potluck restaurants in the area. We were so blessed to enjoy the weather that our trip kept providing.
Day 3: Sacramento, California to Yosemite National Park to San Francisco, California to Santa Rosa, California
Yes, you read the header right. All of that driving including spending time in each one of those areas. Started the morning around 0200 and didn’t end the day until 0200 the next morning. The drive from Sacramento to Yosemite was absolutely stunning. Together we have been to dozens of national parks but the drive to Yosemite in particular was amazing. The winding roads of lush green and rolling hills made us want to pull over and listen to the birds chirp all day. Being so early driving into the park, we got free reign over the whole place. We saw a total of 20 people while exploring (holy crap right). The lack of people definitely made this park at the top of our list in regard to national parks. We left Yosemite around noon so we could get up to San Francisco not too late in the day. We parked in Oakland and took the BART into the city. The BART was really awesome compared to the light rail system in Denver. What wasn’t so awesome was the bus system to get from the other side of town to the Golden Gate Bridge. The bus was so cramped, hot and smelly. Not to mention the lady that explosively sneezed on both of our faces (omg). The weather was phenomenal without a cloud in the sky. We walked for a couple of miles to a beach looking up to the bridge and we had amazing views of the water. We met a lovely couple riding their bikes around town and for an exchange of couple pictures of them, they gave us a ride back to our car in Oakland. Without that ride, we weren’t sure how long it would’ve taken to finally get back to Oakland. It soon got dark on the way to Santa Rosa. We have an old college buddy up there who works at a (great) ramen house and luckily got there just before closing. Oh lord… the food there was sent down from the gods. Asparagus and creme fraiche, a heavenly salad and delicious Asian fusion dishes.
Day 4: Santa Rosa, California to Redwoods National Park to Brookings, Oregon
Santa Rosa was a dream. Maybe it was the outstanding asian food the night before or the breakfast spread full of salmon lox and homemade plum jam to go with our toast. Either way, the flowers were blooming, the grass was green and we were listening to The Generationals. We ate brunch and leisurely got on our way towards Oregon. We stopped at the Redwoods and we were shocked at the sheer size. We felt like we were in a forest surrounded by giants. The way the trees loomed over us enticed us to just sit down and stare (hippy right). We absolutely loved the drive through Northern California. Wine country is full of hopes and dreams and maybe one day you’ll be getting a postcard from us saying we own a vineyard. Brookings, Oregon is such a hidden gem in the PNW. The Sam H Boardman Scenic Byway is one of the most beautiful corridors we have ever seen. The Secret Beach and the The Natural Bridge were our favorite spots and we ended up camping at a nearby beach. We met a couple from Summit County, Colorado and we shared a beer and some stories of our road trip so far.
Day 5: Brookings, Oregon to Portland, Oregon
Woke up beachside and enjoyed a nice bowl of cereal and watching the tide pull. We drove straight to Multonmah Falls outside of Portland we were surrounded by no one! Literally not one tourist was at the waterfall. We took full advantage of this and took lots of long exposures and got to fully enjoy this landscape on our own. We met up with family friends who live in Portland and they took us around the town. They took us to a restaurant called Jade and it almost rivaled that Ramen house in Santa Rosa. We had a beef and carrot soup and coconut sticky rice.
Day 6: Portland, Oregon to Cannon Beach to Shelton, Washington to Forks, Washington
The drive to cannon beach was super rainy and thankfully right when we arrived it had cleared up. Got some amazing footage and enjoyed the beach. Went to Seaside briefly to swing on the beach and tool around the city. We had heard of a bridge called Vance Creek Tresle and it took us a solid three hours to find. The mix of no trespassing signs and forks in the road had us confused for a very long time. Once we actually found the bridge we were scared shitless about what we had to walk across to get the views. It took 100ft of a 1ft steel beam to get to the wooden planks. The wooden planks weren’t much safer than the beam because some of them were burnt, weathered and just missing in general. We spent a few hours there and eventually made our way to the Northwest corner of Washington to the town of Forks.
Day 7: Forks, Washington to Seattle, Washington
Woke up around 0830 and enjoyed (not so much) the bugs and light rain as we packed the car up. Stopped at the first and second beach at La Push and loved the rock stacks in the water. Decided to start heading towards Seattle because we had a few friends to meet up with. On the way we stopped Ruby Beach. We decided that this was the best stop in the lower 48 on the whole trip. The weather made the sand look gray and the water this beautiful blue. Glen wore a bright yellow raincoat all day and we got some amazing portrait shots of us and the beach. Once in Seattle we went straight to pike place. We got to see the fish being thrown and really enjoyed the lights and bustle of the area. We got passion fruit ginger beer at Rachel's ginger beer and headed to see our friend at Seattle University.
Day 8: Seattle, Washington to Vancouver, BC to Hope, BC
Had a nice breakfast before our trek into Canada. Packed up the car and headed towards Vancouver. Got to Vancouver around 1400 and exchanged currency and got sushi! The seafood was beyond our expectations and we felt blessed to get so much food for the price of a big mac at McDonalds. We went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and enjoyed being high above the tree line. We wanted as much distance down towards Alaska so we decided to get out of the city of Vancouver. Found a cool truck stop in Hope and crashed there for the night. The sunset was amazing and enjoyed cooking our pasta on the camp stove while seeing the colors dance in the sky.
Day 9: Hope, BC to Valtenhoof, BC
Nothing but driving on this day. Went through Prince George and stopped at a coffee shop for wifi to edit pictures of the past couple days. We splurged on some oreos at the local market and talked about ow similar we think British Columbia and parts of Colorado look.
Day 10: Valtenhoof, BC to Dease Lake
Woke up with cold cereal and some berries we had picked a day earlier for breakfast. With no idea what we had in store for the day we complained about the next 12 hour day of driving we were embarking on. Just in this day we saw five bears (2 black bears and 3 grizzlies) all roaming around near the highway. Hazleton was one of the most beautiful, accessible mountains we’ve seen. We stopped and took pictures for a solid hour before realizing we had to be 200 miles down the road in an hour… The wildlife during this day did not let us down. The five bears gave us quite a show and we ran into a few moose and a couple caribou along the way as well.
Day 11: Dease Lake to Tok, Alaska
We made great time. From being in the British Columbia to suddenly crossing the border back in America was a treat. The Alaskan Highway; the worst road conditions we have ever seen. The amount of potholes, curves. bumps and breaks in the road are shudder worthy. Luckily we only bottomed out the Prius once but we firmly believe we have brain damage due to all of the shaking in the car from potholes in the road. The highlight of our day was being able to take pictures with the Welcome to Alaska sign and the Yukon Territory sign.
Day 12, 13, 14, 15: Anchorage, Alaska
We arrived in Anchorage!!! We stopped at military base Richardson for much needed showers. We spent the next few days just chilling out in Anchorage. Walked around the city, chased waterfalls and went to Girdwood for some hiking. Beluga Point was fun to see the tide come in so fast and filled our waters with the glacial runoff tap nearby the highway. We fine dined at the Glacier Brew House, ate the best pizza at Moose’s Tooth and checked out the University of Alaska! The weather was pretty rainy the duration of our time in Anchorage so we stayed mostly inside rejuvenating for the journey to come.
Day 16, 17, 18, 19: Anchorage, Alaska to Seward, Alaska
On the way to Seward we stopped in Girdwood for an awesome waterfall trail and spent a few hours there taking pictures, eating and taking pictures of other tourists. The sea life in Seward is abundant to say the least. Immediately after getting to the town, we walked around the boat harbor and saw a dozen sea otters playing and eating clams. We spent a couple days in Seward before heading out to Resurrection Bay for the cabin. We spent that time at a local coffee shop drinking yummy chai tea lattes, eating croissants and editing pictures and video.
Day 20: Kayaker Cove
We took a water taxi 12 miles outside of the coast towards the hostel. It was an open skip boat so we got completely drenched in the rain that decide to come out just for us. We got to Kayakers Cove and the group that was there before us made a huge brunch. We spent the next couple of hours drinking mimosas and listening to Indie music on the water. They left and a bachelor party came in! We became good pals with them and joined them for a kayaking session out to a nearby waterfall. We saw a group of humpback whales paddling out and a few sea lions that swam around us for a while.
Day 21: Kayaker Cove
Woke up and made eggs, hash browns for breakfast. While we were making breakfast a black bear came onto the porch and scared the shit out ofeveryone. We ate and chilled out. The bachelors went on a four hour paddle and while they were gone, we fished with a little hand rig on a kayak, hammock and read a birding book. We started up the sauna and enjoyed the warmth after a chilly dip in the bay. We made a last minute decision to cliff jump off a rock out in the water. We got some awesome footage (check out our Instagram for the video) and then made a huge bonfire to warm up. We made fresh halibut for dinner and enjoyed that while watching the whales in the distance. The midnight sun treated us so well..
Day 22: Kayaker Cove to Seward, Alaska to Anchorage, Alaska to Glen Allen, Alaska
Sent the Bachelor party off to their flights back to the lower 48. We took a nice hike up the mountain that overlooked the bay and surrounding mountains. The caretakers dog followed us up the mountain and she enjoyed showing off how well she knew the terrain. We sadly had to get back on the water taxi to return to Anchorage. We got back to Seward and just started hauling booty to Anchorage. We went straight to the military base again for a shower that felt heavenly. We decided we wanted to head towards Canada again so we paved our way.
Day 23: Tok, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory to Liard Hot Springs
Woke up around 0800 and made our way towards the border. Stopped in Tok for gas and to eat cereal. Went across the border with no problem and just kept trucking. Once we got to Haines junction we found a couple hitchhiking. At first, we drove past due to lack of space in car but then decided to stop and turn around to pick them up. Their names are Roman and Jolie and they were heading to Whitehorse (we wanted to stop there as well for wifi) They were so interesting and we are so happy that we decided to pick them up. We dropped them at the Walmart in Whitehorse, YT and exchanged social medias to stay connected. We decided to keep heading towards the hot springs and arrived the next day around 0200.
Day 24: Liard Hot Springs to Fort Nelson to Prince George, BC
Woke up around 0900 and packed up quickly to go to the hot springs! It cost only 10 bucks for both of us to go to the hot springs. The pool was about 10 min away from the car and you had to walk across a boardwalk to avoid the marsh. We threw off our dirty clothes and gladly submerged into the crystal clear warm spring water. Spent about 3 hours in the water making videos, taking pictures and relaxing. It was the number one coolest hot spring we’ve ever been to. The water was a clear blue and the foliage was a dense green you couldn't see even 10 ft past the pool. After the hot springs we started driving (we wish we could've spent the whole day soaking) and went towards Jasper, Alberta. We stopped at a visitor center in Fort Nelson for wifi, stickers and magnets. We stayed the night about an hour north of Prince George.
Day 25: Prince George, BC to Jasper, Alberta
Got to Jasper National Park around 1800 and went to the visitors center for info on the best lakes to visit on sunsets. Ended up at Maligne Lake and we were literally the only ones there. The sunset was spectacular and the picture posted for this day is commissioning so contact us if you want a print! We headed back to the town after the sunset and went to a great pub. We got a great nitro stout and a really fabulous blueberry ale. We finally tried poutine and fell in love. Sooooo good.
Day 26: Jasper National Park to Icefields Parkway to Banff National Park
Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls were stunning. The bright blue glacier water left us speechless. We saw four black bears, one grizzly and one mountain goat all on the parkway. Once we drove through the parkway for Banff, we stopped at the visitor center for some more info. Moraine Lake was amazing. The lake hadn’t yet melted yet so the gatorade blue water had opaque ice running through. We set up the hammock and relaxed for a couple of hours with a picnic. We stopped at Lake Louise for a bit but we were a little overwhelmed with the amount of tourists so called it a day there. We set out to find another great pub and ended up at a brewhouse in Banff. Drank some amazing pilsner and a peach isa. We slept next to the Vermilion Lakes for a potential sunrise shoot.
Day 27: Banff National Park to Glacier National Park
Walked around the town of Banff and laughed at how closely it resembles Vail, Colorado. We got some tacky gifts for family back home and went on our way back to the states. We were saddened realizing Glacier NP had not yet opened going-to-the-sun road. We had to take a main highway to the South Entrance to see Lake MacDonald. We watched the sunset and camped inside the park. We luckily were not affected by light pollution so we got to do some astrophotography before heading to bed.
Day 28: Glacier National Park to Bozeman, Montana
We took some last pictures before heading out of Glacier. We loved the drive from the park to Bozeman. Northern Montana is spectacular and we can easily see ourselves retiring there. Bozeman is a really radical town. We loved the college atmosphere and the people there were nothing but fantastic. We went to a pizza parlor and had some awesome pies with a flight of pints.
Day 29: Bozeman, Montana to Yellowstone National Park to Grand Tetons National Park
We were pleasantly surprised with Yellowstone National Park. It is kind of hilarious how close we are to Yellowstone from Colorado but had never visited. The Grand Prismatic Spring was our favorite but the heat coming down on us was not the best. Grand Tetons were oh my lord amazing. We went to the old Mormon Row Barn for sunset and sunrise shots. The golden hour at the barn was stunning but sadly the color never really came through in the morning (guess we have to go back now)
Day 30: Grand Tetons to HOME
That day was a sad day. Our trip was coming to a close and we couldn’t do anything about it. We accepted our fate and enjoyed the showers at our house and went out for our favorite food. PHO!