We were so indecisive as to what we wanted to do. Initially we planned on an awesome glacier hike in Wrangell St. Elias National Park. Things kept changing and we were getting more behind our schedule to make it to the airport on time in a few days.
Since we came to Alaska to visit all the National Parks we had to stop at Wrangell St-Elias, the last of the 8 National Parks in Alaska for our family to visit. We went to a backcountry primitive campground within the park and Chef Eric cooked up some more halibut for round two of fish tacos for a late lunch/early dinner. We got the vehicle organized and then back on the road we go. As we were on our way out of the park and Eric spotted a moose, I ended up spotting the calf. We also saw an illusive lynx on a hunt for a large hare- it was out of this world! Another wildlife encounter so close from the comfort of our vehicle was unbelievable. How are we getting so lucky to see all of this wildlife?? Or maybe that’s just how much wildlife is wild in The Last Frontier.
One of the different but nice things about traveling in such a remote area is the likelihood of us finding a hotel out here is slim to none.. which means camping! There are campgrounds about every 45 mins that are super convenient and beautiful for anyone traveling the Alaska Highway.
After a full day of driving we ended up making it to the Congdon Creek Campground in The Yukon at 2200. The kids were full of energy and ready to play while Eric and I were on the opposite side of the spectrum. Play away babes, play away.
This is such a highly trafficked brown bear area that if you’re tent camping you’re required to sleep in the designated, enclosed electric fence. We’ve been in grizzly country throughout the trip with no issues so we played it safe and slept in our very roomy Suburban SUV. Plus, who wants to mess with setting up a tent in the dark anyway; not me! It’s one of those things you just go with your guy instinct; mine was telling us not to camp here, even though we know the chances of something happening is relatively small- it wasn’t worth the risk for us. At the end of the day, animals are wild and unpredictable.
We’ve ran into only a couple difficulties while camping in brown bear country with babies. Trying to keep them quiet is the first- Reef is the happiest and loudest baby; Waves copies Reef’s noises like she’s communicating back with him. It can get REALLY loud, especially before bedtime and when we wake up. I sometimes wonder if them being loud is a deterrent; you’d think so, right?! The other difficulty is trying to keep everyone clean. Waves always had food all over herself (she’s ate fish for nearly every meal and hello she’s a toddler) and Reef loves to spit up; basically they both continuously smelled of food. We’ve managed and are stoked it all worked out! My biggest tip- make sure to always follow the guidelines for camping in bear country and be prepared; just had to put that it there.
We all slept good, breakfast is made, car organized and Waves had a blast on the campground playground this morning. We drove the 4 hour trip to Haines, AK and had a nice afternoon here. We went to the local playground where Waves made a new friend. It was so sweet- the girl invited Waves to her birthday party next week!! Too bad we won’t be here. Along the drive we saw more beautiful brown bears, this time a mama bear and her two cubs.
The ferry was awesome yet again- this time we got on the high speed one this time, whoohoo! Waves met some girls from Seattle and this mama has befriended another old, hippie grandma that proposed a sweet deal for our family. They live on a small island in a beautiful 3 story house with a sauna (whattt?!?). I told her we are considering making a move to Alaska and she kindly offered a plan. Her and her husband have lived in Alaska for quite some time living off the land. They have several health issues and offered for us to stay at their house for free and take care of it while they travel and visit family.. now I just need to convince Eric that this is what we need to do!!
We arrived in Juneau around 2130; just in time to rest up and get ready for our last epic adventure in Alaska!
A tip from the Travelin’ Tribe Archive:
(1) If you don’t have a global cellphone plan make sure to put your phone on airplane mode when you’re in a different country. If you don’t put your phone in airplane mode you will get charged out of the wazoo for roaming in another country. You can still access wifi if your phone is on airplane mode!
Until Next Time,
Stay Wanderous & Wild
-The Mitchell Tribe