Our road trip up to Alaska was an epic journey, and we were so thrilled to be able to visit so many places on the way…many of which we will share with you later! The last few days getting up here though were extremely rough. The further north we traveled, the less likely that campgrounds, gas stations, and restaurants were open.
As we moved north, we were mostly impeded by that one sign that travelers in our situation would begin to despise. The “CLOSED” sign. While planning our trip to Alaska, we were bombarded with travel advice about having to buy “The Milepost”; which is a comprehensive guide to every single mile and kilometer of roads between the lower 48, and Alaska. While I’m sure it is a great reference for most seasons, this book didn’t offer much advice for traveling in the early spring. Luckily the two of us are fairly good communicators and problem solvers so we able to overcome the obstacles that “The Milepost” neglected to warn us about.
Our first major campground issue began after we left Prince George and headed West on BC-16, this section of road is know as the Yellowhead Highway. Things along this route start getting sparse in terms facilities. We planned to drive about 6 to 8 hours a day and stop at campgrounds before it started to get dark each day, but as we continued west it was apparent that almost every camping facility we encountered was “CLOSED”. Not really being ones to “rough it” we started to get anxious about where we were going to sleep that night. As 8 hours of driving pushed into 10 ,we decided to head to a place called Hazelton, BC.
We put our faith in a small sign that we saw on the roadside that said “Ksan Native Village and Campground” After a 7 mile long ride down a backroad we again encountered the dreaded “CLOSED” sign. After looping around the place and back to the office we encountered our savior of the day. The manager of the campground was flagging us down as we were on the way out! He said that the campground wasn’t yet open for the season but he would allow us to stay the night at no charge if we were okay not having any hookups. We were very tired and extremely thankful for this offer. In addition to our free stay, he also brought us to the office and gave us maps and a ton of information about the area. He also gave us a free lapel pin to remember Ksan with happiness in our hearts. After a long day of anxiety, this was a welcoming change and would help inspire us to push forward.
Unfortunately, the next night turned out to be the most difficult of the whole trip. After driving another 8 or 9 hours, we had the same troubles finding a campground that was open. This time it was a whole new level of missing the comforts of home. We pulled the trailer into a pull off on the side of the highway. We had no water in the tanks, so there was no showering or cooking with water. Our electric did not recharge while hooked up to the car, so we had no lights or heat (and it was COLD). To top it off, we had no internet or phone service, so I was unable to check in with my dad back home. It was officially the worst night of our trip! Even the dogs were miffed about it…they were not comfortable using the bathroom on the side of a highway! It was not our finest hour! However, on the plus side…the view was beautiful!
The next night we were going to stay in Whitehorse before making our final leg of the trip to Skagway. Once we arrived in Whitehorse, we were faced with more and more “Closed” signs. Instead of spending another night without any amenities, we decided to see if we could arrive in Skagway a day early. Once we got the okay, we made a quick trip to the Walmart for supplies, and headed on to the last 107 miles of our 5,000 mile journey!
The drive from Whitehorse to Skagway on the Klondike Highway is truly the MOST spectacular and beautiful drive. After three very tough travel days, it was a nice reminder to us why we chose this beautiful place to call home for the summer.
Even more stress melted away as soon as we arrived at our campground for the next few months. It definitely felt like home right from the beginning. More soon about our time here in Alaska!