Showing posts from August, 2011

16th Aug Vancouver.

16th Aug Vancouver.
Matt and Nick arrived at YVR at 11:30 and once they were through customs and immigration I had to feed them at Burger King... Not what I was expecting but I refused to take them to McD's (throughout their two weeks here!). We bought some normal price transit tickets at the domestic terminal saving $15 for the trip into town (there is a $5 'Airport departure tax if you buy the tickets at the station!) and made our way to the Cambie Hostel where I had stayed the previous night to offload luggage and shower before I took them to Canada Place for a nice lunch then round the corner to the park where Nick fell asleep on the grass. An early bed at about 21:00.17th Aug Vancouver.
We did a mega shop at MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) buying a replacement spork for me, freeze dried food, tons of energy bars, a 3 man tent, sleeping mats, some Keen walking shoes for Nick, a couple of dry bags, a buff for Matt and some gas for my stove taking it all back to the hostel befo…

15th August and I arrived back in Vancouver regretting the rash decision to eat a Wendy's burger at Seattle airport... I had 40 minsto get some food and there were queues everywhere so I plumped for the quickest option.... not a good one.

15th August and I arrived back in Vancouver regretting the rash decision to eat a Wendy's burger at Seattle airport... I had 40 minsto get some food and there were queues everywhere so I plumped for the quickest option.... not a good one.A Tim Horton's iced capuchino and blueberry muffin at YVR restored me to my normal self! I made my way to Gastown and the Cambie Hostel that I had booked before leaving for Alaska. It is a busy hostel with it's own bar and bakery where you get you breakfast of coffee and muffin or for an extra $2.75 you get a cooked breakfast! It was at least 10 deg C warmer in Vancouver than Anchorage and the four person dorm was sweltering. One dorm member stayed up very late booking flights on his laptop and then left very early so not much sleep... NOTE: I know that I am two weeks behind in my blog but will endeavor to catch up soon! I am having a busy time driving, camping and hiking the Canadian Rockies with Matthew and Nicholas.
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Bettles to Vancouver in 24hrs (14th-15th Aug)

Bettles to Vancouver in 24hrs (14th-15th Aug)We left Bettles for the 15 min flight back to Prospect Creek in an Arctic Airways twin engined plane, crammed with almost all our luggage and with Hannah in the copilots seat. The remaining luggage would be flown on the same plane to Fairbanks for us to pick up lat in the day.Once back at the cars we crammed ourselves in and headed home, I joined Tim in his car and we set off for Fairbanks and Anchorage 500 miles away. We stopped for a late lunch and refuel at the Yukon crossing on the Dalton Highway (hamburgers and all things bad!).Mike and I craftily hijacked Tim's car and his cd collection leaving Tim and Michelle to play movies in their car to keep the 4 younger members of the expedition happy and occupied. Mike drove the road to Fairbanks where we collected the luggage from an almost closed Airways hanger at the edge of the airport. A quick refuel and we continued on to Anchorage. Tim and Michelle left us far behind and we had int…

Mon 8th Aug. Float day 1

Mon 8th Aug. Float day 1
We woke to a dry day and started preparing the rafts. This took some time as we worked out how all the stuff would be divided between the rafts. It was a good thing that we had left some stuff behind as we seemed to be piled high as we set off down river and learnt the basics of raft control from T and M. We paddled hard to avoid the trees that have fallen into the water as they are undercut by the river, they are referred to as 'sweepers' or 'widow makers'. We didn't travel far before we stopped to set up camp as we had started quite late. FD2 Tues 9th Aug
We struck camp and went for a hike up the hills behind us. We started through Sitka spruce with deep moss and some alder undergrowth then as we moved up the slope we lost most of the Sitka and the bushy alder became predominant with blue berry, cranberries, crowberries underneath. Then the alder disappeared and we were left with the moss and stunted fruit bushes making a very soft base t…

Wolverine creek (67.61265N, 152.26408W) from my tent at midnight on the 9th Aug.

Wolverine creek (67.61265N, 152.26408W) from my tent at midnight on the 9th Aug.This is day two of our river float down the John river.Fairbanks to Bettles. Sat 7th Aug
After meeting up with Tim and Michelle in Fairbanks on Saturday we drove North in convoy along the Dalton Highway which will be familiar to those who watch 'Ice road truckers'!! The majority of the road is gravel and snakes it's way north through rolling hills of stunted Sitka spruce and tundra. The road stays mostly on the ridge lines, occasionally dropping down to the water courses where the road is usually heavily patched and bumpy as t it sinks in the boggy ground. The alaskan oil pipeline snakes alongside, usually within a mile of the road raised up off the ground on pillars each with radiator vanes on top to stop heat being transferred down and melting the permafrost. We crossed the mighty Yukon river on a long sloping bridge surfaced with timber and filled the cars with fuel at a pump that had a …

6 Aug - Now in Fairbanks

6 Aug - Now in Fairbanks after a day in Denali park where we saw wolf, hoary marmot, moose, caribou, ground squirrel, ptarmigan and a lot of wet people! We took a bus into the park and hopped off at Polychrome where we hiked up a hill to 1300ft and had lunch looking out over cloud covered, snow dusted mountains while we were dusted with large flakes of snow ourselves.We had a view of Mt McKinley on our way north. We stopped in Nenana to pick up some breakfast to supplement the cold pizza from the night before!The laundry is on, Tim and Michelle are arriving soon, we will stock up with pasta, rice etc etc and then motor north as far as we can, camping on the way if it gets too late to reach Coldfoot at a reasonable time tonight.Next update is likely to be after we have completed the river trip in a weeks time! bye for now.
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3rd-6th August

3rd-6th August Set off from Anne's house, 10 people in two cars, and headed north. I traveled with Anne and her two children, Corbin 4 and Harlow 14 months. The cars were crammed with cool boxes full of camping stoves, utensils and an assortment of bear defences ranging from bells through pepper spray to a tazer. We drove for about an hour before stopping at a giant roadside stall of fireworks. There are a whole series of these at this point as it is just outside the city jurisdiction where it is illegal to sell or let off fireworks. There were a couple of old split screen VW Combis, a double decker bus with a scoreboard dated 1776 and the score USA 1: UK 0.
Having resisted the temptation to buy giant rockets and multiple mortar launchers (Mike couldn't and bought a whole load of pyrotechnics), we continued on to Byers creek camping ground at mile 144 and set up camp with two large tents and my little one, with a large tarp set up over the camp table next to the fire circle.…

Tues 2nd August 2011 (63.746N 150.1196W)

Tues 2nd August 2011 (63.746N 150.1196W)The 1st of August was mostly a day for shopping and stocking up ahead of our trip to Denali and on to the Gates of the Arctic National Park. The
Kenyan Thomas's and I love REI... But it is dangerous kind of attraction! REI is an outdoor equipment store on a vast scale. Everything you have ever dreamed of for your biking, hiking, camping and climbing needs and loads of stuff I didn't know existed but instantly know I ought to have! I was very restrained bearing in mind that I am limiting my luggage to 15kg, so only bought some gas for my stove, a gps and a replacement for the hat I left in Glacier Bay. When I say hat, I mean a Seattle Sombrero which is wide brimmed, breathable, and waterproof. I gather that Seattle is much like any of the north west coast of N America in that it rains a lot... I am writing this from inside my tent at 22:45 and it has been raining since I woke up this morning in Anchorage!Back to yesterday. After satisf…

Anchorage day 2 - 30/7/2011

Anchorage day 2 - 30/7/2011Got up at a very reasonable time of 09:00 and had a light breakfast, Twining's Irish Breakfast Tea and bread with orange raspberry jam, before venturing out on one of Tim's bikes to explore the parks leading down to the coast. There are very good bike/pedestrian paths alongside almost all roads and through the parks. I headed down the Chester Creek trail to Westchester Lagoon and on to the Coastal Trail. Red necked grebes were just sitting around waiting for me on the lagoon. This is a manmade lagoon with a 5.5 acre area below the dam which is tidal. The sluice has a white plastic threshold and is illuminated at night so that the salmon can be counted as the swim up the restored stream and into the lagoon. I spoke to the volunteer and he said that the intention was to have a webcam set up to allow remote access for the volunteers but that that was not ready to deploy yet. The salmon run has not started in earnest but is expected to start in this str…