My wife and I had a very long drive through Canada last week. We started in Skagway (actually Juneau) on Monday and made it to Portland by Sunday. We got some great (and not so great) pictures along the way. Let us begin.
It’s kind of a long story on why we were based in Juneau for the past 1.5 years. I’m not so sure I want to get into a lot of detail since it ended with my dad passing away in July. On the positive side, we got to spend that final year with him. No regrets there.
Getting to and leaving Juneau is not the easiest thing in the world.
Since it’s a landlocked area, your only options are to fly in or take a water vessel of some sort. Alaska has the appropriately named Marine Highway for just such an occasion. We debated on just taking our truck and trailer all the way to Bellingham via the ferry until we got the price quote (over $4k yikes!). That quickly helped us decide that driving from Skagway was the best option. I arrived at the ferry terminal around 3am with my 16 foot custom CargoCraft trailer behind a friends’ truck (that’s another story that will be shared sometime in the near future). Thankfully he has a 14k pound boat so it could easily tow my 9k pound trailer.
I eventually ended up in Skagway where my wife was waiting with our truck and Adventurer camper. We hooked up the trailer and off we went for the Canada border! Since my dad’s passing, there were a few firearms that my mom wanted out of the house since she had no reason to keep them around. Handguns are generally not permitted to be taken through Canada so we shipped everything we could and were left with a rifle and the barrel of a shotgun. In spite of my wife reading up on the necessary paperwork to take the rifle through customs, we got a nice hour long stop at the border. Part of that was my fault since I said something about a rifle and then said shotgun. The officer was quite certain I was hiding something since we were only claiming one firearm.
I’m not a gun afficianado and regrettably used the terms rifle and shotgun interchangeably. They should not be used that way at the Canadian border.
In these situations, they separate everyone in the car and ask questions independently. They then compare answers. We weren’t lying about anything and were definitely not trying to smuggle anything through. So eventually, they charged us the $25 permit fee and let us go. I’ve learned that you should never fudge the truth when talking to border people. It’s not worth the risk. Anyway, we could finally get to taking some pictures!
The roadway at the border of Skagway is technically part of British Columbia. However, after a very short drive you enter the Yukon territory. September is fall colors in the Yukon!
We stopped a few times along the first stretch of highway just to take in the beauty of the area. The initial part is gorgeous, but we were socked in with clouds so didn’t stop in that section. We continued on to Bove Lake (picture at the top of the page) and took a panorama of this picturesque spot. Thankfully there is a very easy pull-off to park and take pictures from. I find the best view is walking on the north side of the parking area and continuing on the hill side of the guard rail.
Normally I would stop in Carcross (Caribou Crossing in case you didn’t know) and visit the world’s smallest desert. It is an awesome little spot to stop and take a breather, but we have been many times and wanted to get down the road as far as possible on our first day.
We ended up stopping a little ways after hitting Highway 1 which is part of the Alcan Highway. Interestingly enough, Canadians just call it the Alaska highway. I digress. The big plus to having a truck camper is that we can sleep wherever we want, especially if there’s nothing around. In the Yukon and northern Canada, there is a lot of nothing around…except for trees and animals. I will discuss the latter in Part 2. The search for animals in Canada.