Sunday, September 26, 2010

Wedding Daze

On the 14th of September at 5:00pm we hopped on a plane in Anchorage to
head to Toronto for Neil and Krissy's wedding. Twenty seven hours
later at midnight on the 15th we landed at the Toronto Pearson
airport. It was a long haul, but we still managed to go straight to a
pre-wedding party at Neil's house. It was great to see some friends
(old friends for Andrew and new friends for myself, but friends none
the less). The four days in Toronto were jam packed with seeing
Andrew's family and the wedding. It was great to see everyone and the
wedding was a blast, but it was very strange to be pulled from our
life on the road back to city life and busy schedules! We made the
most of it and managed to clean our selves up nicely for the wedding.

My Dad and I. We managed to catch up quickly for lunch during our short layover in Calgary. This one was only six hours.

The Bride and Groom looking stunning at the altar. Fergus, their dog was the ring bearer.

Making it official

Walking down the aisle

We didn't really get a great picture of us together, so here we are dressed to the nines.

High heels + Soft grass = disaster for Shona

The boys at their best. Neil, Andrew and Brady
All in all it was an fantastic trip to Toronto, but we were both happy to get back to our mobile home in Anchorage. Because of a miscommunitcation we had to switch our ferry we had planned to take on the 23rd from Haines to October 1st. That meant we had an extra week in Alaska which was great. Both of us felt slightly rushed in our touring around Alaska so having an extra week suited us both perfectly. We were able to stay an extra day with Alli and Jeff in Anchorage before stocking up and hitting the road. We headed to the picturesque town of Valdez and discovered how plentiful and abundant the fish are...

Now we are slowly making our way toward Haines. This morning we woke up to SNOW! There was a fair amount on the McCarthy road. Apart from being a little chilly, it cast a beautiful glow over the whole Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.
Yesterday we spent an incredible checking out the towns of Kennecott and McCarthy on our bikes. Kennecott is mainly a ghost town founded in 1900 when it was discovered that there was a huge amount of copper ore in the hillside. The town is stunningly backdropped by Mt. Blackburn and the Kennicott and Root glaciers. A spectacular setting.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Route!

We have had many requests to plot the route we take from Inuvik to Ushuaia. It took a while, but I finally found a quick, effective way to upload and show our where we've been. We will continually update this map and it can be found in "The Route" page just to the right of this post. Its a pretty cool map that takes you on all of the roads we have travelled and will include all ferry routes too. You can click the box in the top right corner to make it full screen and then zoom in/out and move around map as desired.

Enjoy Larisa!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

In The Deep Muddy

We arrived in Anchorage again on the 12th to pick up our rad friends Allison Empey and Jeff Crompton from the airport. It seemed funny picking them up in their town, but incredible to see them none the less. We had an amazing day with them down at the beach playing in the mud (actually glacial silt) and organized ourselves before heading back to Toronto to see Andrews family and his best friends wedding, but that post is for later. Here are a few of the shots from the incredibly warm day in Anchorage!
Jammin' and drinking growlers.

Some kids took playing in the mud to a new extreme!!

Buddha jump!

Chill out eh'.

Apparently this glacial silt can be incredibly dangerous. One guy got stuck up to his waist and when the helicopter came to rescue him, they ripped him in half trying to pull him out! So always play in the glacial silt with a buddy.

Sweet silhouette 

Playing with shutter speed... To infinity!

Much love

Andrew has mad skills writing backwards!!

If you look closely you can see the constellations that make up Alaska's state flag. The Big Dipper and the North Star. Amazing!

We are just about to head back to Anchorage after a hectic few days in Toronto!! Unfortunately we came a week or two too early to really see the magnificence of the leaves changing color but we still had a great time and will upload some pictures soon!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Seward Bound

Here's a little video we made on our day trip to Seward. Hopefully in the future our skills as videographers will improve dramatically!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

New Computer Screen.... Check.

So we finally got into Anchorage and did a much needed computer repair
before heading to the Kenai Peninsula.... Super excited to see what
the next few days bring us down there!

At last, here are the photos since the computer mishap.....

Check out the size of this one Kelly!

One of the bazillion amazing views at Tombstone Territorial Park NT.

Summit of North Fork Mountain after bouncing along the tundra forever!

Nailed it!

2 moose at Two Moose Lake?!?...wierd.

Ogilvie Lookout

Finally made it to the "start" of our trip.

For you WIlma!

Attempt At Art

ts a double rainbow all the way!!!!!!!!!

Peele River Ferry Crossing- they have to rebuild the ramp nearly every day so that cars could get on the ferry.

End of the road.

Ridin' in style....

Misty Trees along the Dempster

Helping out Craig survey Permafrost slumping in Tsiigehtchic

Northern Pike in Frog Lake.

I almost had to stop and drop Shona off here, but she pulled it together and things are still going well.

Homemade Gooseberry jam, compliments of Shona!!

Heard of Caribou in the Richardson Mountains. These were some lucky ones that hadn't been shot yet. Hunters have been widespread and all over the place as hunting season is in full swing.

Fall colours on the Dempster Highway. Check it out Chris C.

Does a bear shit in the woods? Apparently, he does not.

Conquerors of the mighty Dempster.

Canada US border in the north. Please check in here and don't walk around the border!


Compliments of downtown Chicken, Alaska, which consisted of a gift shop, a bar, a cafe, and this chicken coop all run by the same person. Apparently for fun the guy who was working there liked to shoot peoples underwear out of a rocket. We had to politely decline when he asked for ours. Not because we werent into it, but because we are on a strict ration of underwear and every pair is precious.

This sign is painfully obvious... Dont screw with the devil bison. You will not win.

Mighty Mt. McKinley in all its splendor. In Denali National park you have a 95% chance of seeing a bear and a 20% chance of seeing "The Mountain". We didn't take this view for granted!

Backpacking in Denali

Our campsite. Loving every minute until the wind picked up at about midnight and continued trying to blow our tent over until it forced us to retreat at about 7:30am.

I turn my back for ONE minute...

Hanging out with Gary from Pennsylvania in the hippy town of Telkeetna. It is the jumping off point for climbers hiking McKinley.

Next installment- the Kenai peninsula.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Truly wild...

So yet again I must say there will be no pictures on this post.
Somehow computers don't re- expand like sponges do, lesson learned.

We will have to recap after anchorage when we find a new medium to get
photos up.

The last day and a bit little bit has been a total experience. I will
keep it short and sweet and let the photos speak for themselves when
we can show them.

We went to Denali national park Sunday night and got organized to
leave Monday am with a forecast of rain all week. We figured the views
would be spectacular regardless and we were assured the wildlife
sightings would be worthwhile no matter the weather, so we agreed a
two day backcountry trip would be the next hing for us to do.

Yesterday morning we awoke to bluebird skies. To travel into the park
all people must take a bus and our bus driver said that a bluebird day
is a rare, very rare, occasion. The place we were meant to head into
the backcountry was well short of the optimal viewing spot of "the
Mountain" as they call McKinley here, so we took the bus past our
planned destination to the viewpoint. Ya we saw the largest mountain
in North America, no big deal.

Actually, apparently it is, and we are really freaking lucky. Every
year there are only maybe 20 max bluebird days to see the mountain and
they are almost always clouded over by noon. We saw the mountain at
2:30. Ya horseshoes!!!!

However, it did come at a price. Last night the winds were up to 100 +
km/h ALL night. Needless to say we didn't get much sleep..... Well
Shona didn't get any and I managed a bit of shut eye.

So sadly, we made the call to cut the hiking a little short. But the
fun didn't really stop there.... On our way to the road, we came
across 3 grizzly bears. We were 500 m away from them, but plenty close
enough for us. A way better scenario tha the couple we talked to
today that were charged by one that came up to 20 m away before
stopping. NUTS!!!!

Shoot. That turned out longer than I hoped. Wait for the rad photos.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Notes From The North

Driving for miles,
Through no-mans land
I just don't understand
Why its not more in demand

Clear, deep, blue lakes
And high mountain passes
Its good for the soul
To get away from the masses

The true North, strong and free
It's what I've always rehearsed
But as for actually experiencing it
Well this is a first!

We drove North through Alberta
Then into BC
And from there on up
It was all new to me!

We hit Watson Lake, Yukon
Then turned to the west
The great city of Whitehorse
Was our next stop for a rest.

We stayed two days in Whitehorse
(We were fixing a leak)
Driving an old Westy
Is surely not for the weak!

Once again we turned North
'Til the road turned to gravel
The infamous "Dempster
Was the next highway we would travel

With no idea what to expect
No pre-concieved notions
Except that we hope to see the Arctic ocean.

The Dempster blew us away
With its wide open spaces
You could tell straight away
With one quick glance at our faces

We drove with the fall colours
Fiery reds and yellows
And felt at home with the pace of life
Which was really quite mellow

We saw prancing cariboo
And had dinner with some First Nations
They related stories from their childhood
And described life at the whaling stations.

In the end we never made it...
The Arctic ocean, I mean
But the time we have spent here
Was like living a dream

From here we head South
And we worry a bit
Why leave the North
When we're such a great fit?

But there is people to meet
Amazing places to travel
I can't wait to see
How this trip will unravel

And as for the North?
Well I promise I'll be back
It has a certain 'nothing'
The most other places lack

Until then I will leave it
For other sould to find
And believe me when I tell you
It truly is a gold mine.
       -shona rubens

A little silly poem of mine inspired by being in the home territory of Robert Service. We spent the day in Dawson City today and checked out the old log cabin that Service lived in while living in the town. It was not much bigger than our van!!! But very "homely". Dawson City was also home to the authours Jack London and Pierre Burton... There must be something in the water.
It is an amazingly quaint little town that had its boom during the gold rush of the 1890's. It has since become a World Heritage Site and brings you back to the 1800's while walking down Front street or checking out the Dancing ladies at Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall.

The last few days on the dempster highway were incredible. We nailed our timing with the fall colours and saw the hills come alive with incredible reds and yellows. We stopped off in the small native town of Tsiigehtchic to check in with Craig Scott who was there doing some environmental research on the melting permafrost. It was really interesting to spend some time with his crew scoping out the unfortunatel slumping of the ground around the towns historical church.
The town is at the junction of the Canadian Historical Arctic Red river and the mighty MacKenzie river. A stunning backdrop to the small town of about 100 people.
Thanks to Craig for welcoming us into his crew and cooking us a wicked roast!!
Now we are heading out of Dawson City towards Fairbanks over the Top Of The World Highway and looking forward to every minute of it!
Also thanks to Bertha and her family for inviting us for dinner with her family and sharing some amazing stories of life in the Arctic before the white man came and changed everything. My favorite story was about her as a child when the Beluga whales had just been brought in. The kids would run down to the ocean and just slice off a flipper and gnaw on it because it was like chewing gum... Ill take your word for it Bertha.