Our first stop after Seattle was a day in Vancouver. The drive was fueled by more Flamin Hot Cheetos® and belting out 70s hits. A quaint Airbnb in the east side of the city prompted us to explore loads of area brewpubs. Once properly hydrated, we stayed up all night playing cards and woke up the next morning stoked for the drive ahead. On our way out of town, we made one last stop at the decadent Breka Bakery for some chocolate babka; it sadly didn’t even make it long enough for a picture, but the entire drive from Colorado would have been worth it just for a bite of that succulent pastry!
Ladner Creek Trestle
Ladner Creek Trestle:Nestled in Hope, BC, Ladner Creek Trestle is an all out joy ride. A steep quarter-mile hike up the mountain and around a collapsed mining tunnel leaves only room for awe. We journeyed out to the trestle guided by nothing more than a vague address. Luckily, there were markers along the trail to guide you as you clambered up the hill. The trestle is giant. With a curve going through the bridge, it makes it look that much more daunting and inaccessible. The boys ventured out onto the rotting bridge while Jennifer and I stood backed and watched in mute terror.
Laird Hot Springs
When we went to Liard Hot Spring last year, we were surrounded by greenery, chirping birds, and LOTS of people. This year, we were welcomed with a snow storm and only one other person at the springs. We swam, enjoying the warm water from late afternoon until golden hour. Tucker had the most fun, jumping back and forth between snow banks and swimming pool. The night followed with temperatures well below freezing, wet hair freezing to our pillows. Waking up the next morning was comical, our bathing suits had frozen stiff as boards in the night.
British Columbia was a difficult beginning to our Alaskan Highway adventures. It's hard to be in another country, especially without the security of wifi. When things get tough, you have no one to turn to but each other. We made a wrong turn in Prince George and ended up going so far east that we were met with gnarly snowstorms. During a quick drone flight to see the mountains looming above us, we crashed it into a tree, a $900 mistake. On a desolate stretch between the towns of Prince George and Fort Nelson, I almost hit an elk while going 90.
Nevertheless, we make the best of it. We are enjoying the soft light of the snowflakes in our headlights, the solitude the highways, and the quiet majesty of the plentiful spring wildlife.
In a moment of weakness, we did book a shady motel in the middle of nowhere. The price included complementary camouflage couches, eye-searing flannel beds, and a faucet that spewed boiling water. If used in together, one could theoretically use the faucet to blind themselves against the bedspreads, and then hid behind the couch in indefinite shame.
Whitehorse, Yukon Territory
We pulled in at roughly 2:00pm with decent weather and high spirits. The plan was to stock up on essentials (read: fruits snacks and alcohol) at the local Walmart before meeting up with a friend for a photo shoot. Jennifer and I decided to treat ourselves to the comfy chairs and free wifi at Starbucks. Matcha lattes in hand, we pulled up the weather to see a morning forecast for snow and freezing rain with temperatures well below zero. Great, another night of frozen hell, shivering through three layers of leggings and sleeping in a hat and gloves. Even though we are trying to be thrifty, we splurged on a nicer hotel in the area. Coin operated laundry, hot showers, and 2 queen size beds beckoned. We all went down for beers in the hotel lobby and strategically planned our next few days of getting into Alaska. We are resilient, but Northern BC and the Yukon Territory really tested our physical and mental spirits. The constant cold from both the weather and the locals was really taking it’s toll, but that night in a hotel with warm water and a real bed gave us the energy to the final push.
Crossing the border, the Alaska sign loomed huge, overshadowed only by our own tears and smiles as we mark the final leg of our trip. As we drove on, the weather cleared, our spirits lifting alongside the clouds. Within minutes of crossing the border, we saw several moose and even a stunning American bald eagle. Good omens, we think, for our journey into this last frontier.
Jasper and Banff National Park is one of the coolest places you can imagine just mere hours away from the border or Montana. We made the trek out to the Canadian Rockies last year in the middle of the summer. It’s almost as if blue gatorade flows throughout the miles of national park land. Last year, we had every available opportunity to see wildlife, magnificent peaks next to the blue glacial waters, and some of the most memorable sunsets and sunrises one can dream of. We have heard that these national parks boats amazing winter wonderland views as well. Much to our demise, we found out we were stuck between the two. We were met with extremely spring break up and were bummed to not have the amazing gatorade like waters at our disposal. However, we made the best out of our situation. We had lots of drinks at Jasper and Banff brewery, kayaked an amazing lake that made it look as if it could be held on the cover of a nat geo magazine, as well as see an avalanche from 6,000 ft in the air. We spent a couple days at both National Parks and were very blessed with the outcome. We succumbed to the rainy weather in Banff and splurged for the last time on a fancy hotel. There, we had fancy elderflower cocktails and played around in the spa area until we realized they hosted eucalyptus steam rooms and once again, became the relaxed buddha.