Thursday, July 31, 2014

Driving The ALCAN: Yukon Territory

Temperature: 80°F-40°F
Weather: Sunny, Breezy 
Mileage: 244miles + mileage from ferry ride
Lodging: Wolf Creek Campground

Our first official day of driving had us traveling from Haines, AK to Whitehorse, YT.  It was beautiful!

We crossed the Canadian Border just outside of Haines.  I was worried about crossing the border, as I hadn't ever done it (at least not in the last ten years).  The border at Haines was EASY though.  It was just one officer checking passports.  We waited less than two minutes, behind the only other car on the road.  The officer was super kind to Specks, offering him a pat on the head and some kind words.

Once over the border we were cruising through the Yukon Territory, heading towards Whitehorse. The drive was great.  There were hardly any other cars on the road so we could stop whenever we saw something beautiful or scenic.  We saw a couple of grizzlies on our first day on the road, which was mighty surprising.  They were just loping across the road, unconcerned with cars. We also saw some HUGE ranches in the Canadian Rockies.  It was very neat to see horses and cows hanging by the road.

Keeping up with mph vs. kmh was probably one of my biggest challenges that first day. Gas conversions had me a little baffled too.  Canadian gas, particularly in the Yukon, was nearly $6/gallon.  We didn't notice the gas prices until we got the final bill for our first fill-up though because of the conversion system.  We were mighty surprised at the price! After a couple of days though I got the hang of the conversions and it all seemed a little easier.

As we approached the city of Whitehorse we began calling hotels.  We assumed that finding Canadian hotels would be similar to finding US hotels…we were VERY wrong.  There was a serious lack of pet-friendly hotels and rooms were sold out weeks in advance.  We decided that camping would be our best bet after calling around a bit and we ended up staying at a neat little campground outside the city.

Wolf Creek Campground was a beautiful little spot in the woods, right along a rushing creek.  We were the only people there in a tent (at least that we could see) but the sites were clean and nice.  I assume the wildlife was a big deterrent for tent campers, we didn't have any wildlife problems though.  Tent camping in bear country requires certain precautions, we just made sure to take them.

The first day of driving was truly beautiful and adventurous. My main tips for traveling in the Yukon Territory are: get familiar with speed and gas conversions, fill up your gas tank often, plan your lodging far in advance, drive carefully to avoid wildlife, and take the time to enjoy the incredible scenery.  The Yukon was probably the most beautiful place I'd ever visited.  Something about it was just magical.  I was so happy that we chose to travel only a short distance that first day.  Taking our time and enjoying the beauty was well worth it in the end.

Have you ever visited the Yukon Territory?
Would you go camping in serious bear country? 

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