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Wrangell & Yukon Camping

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.

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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.

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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​

Are We There Yet??

The nice thing about having nothing planned on a trip is all the flexibility! We slept in this morning and slowly started the discussion on what we will do for the day.

We decided to start the trek Wrangell St Elias, which means an entire day of driving. From Haines Junction, Canada to Wrangell, Alaska is about a 10 hour drive not including stops. It’s very unlikely we will do the entire drive today, we’ll just go with the flow and see how the kids are feeling. Luckily we have a gorgeous drive ahead of us being that the road takes us through Kluane National Park.

The Alaska Highway is truly something else. It’s so wild, remote and simply breathtaking. The cooler temperatures and some fall foliage starting to show is a nice change from our visit last month. Autumn in Southeast Alaska and Southwest Canada is not a specific date but more of signs from nature when it’s officially here. The fireweed will only have flowers on the top (when we were here in July they were in full bloom) and several, specific migratory birds are leaving for the season.

We can’t get over our Grizzly encounter today! Grizzlies always seize to amaze us, they’re incredibly intelligent creatures and happen to be our favorite animal besides sharks. This fella was in the brush as we were driving down Alaska Highway 1 when Eric spotted him! We pulled over as I’m quickly scrambling to find my phone for a picture. He stood on his hind legs and looked both ways for traffic and then back on all fours to cross the road. It was remarkable to whiteness in the gorgeous Yukon Territory.

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This moment was a dream come true for us. We’ve been chasing the idea of seeing a grizzly on the side of the road all over Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska, Alberta and British Columbia. Needless to say we can’t stop smiling and our daughter, Waves (16 months old) was stoked too, she goes grrrr when she sees a bear.

We’re back in Alaska and figuring out our next move. Check back tomorrow to hear about our journey!

 

Here’s a tip from the Travelin’ Tribe Archive:

(1) Being nomad family it’s important for our children to easily adapt to any place or situation when it comes to sleeping. They might not be in the same bed every night but familiar sounds and smells can be comforting to babies and children in unfamiliar places. From the day the children were born we started using a white-noise application on our phone called Rain Rain. If you upgrade to the premium package for a few dollars extra you get some beautiful nature sounds like the ocean, rainforest, etc. It helps our entire family sleep better. We also bed share with our family of 4 which makes traveling a lot easier. I also love using this natural, earth friendly Lavender Spray from BeeGreen for their familiar smell!
Until Next Time, 
Stay Wanderous & Wild
-The Mitchell Tribe 

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Smooth Sailing 

The ferry finally docked after a 5.5 hour cruise from Juneau to Haines, AK. What an awesome ferry system!! I found myself right at home in the open solarium relaxing with my feet up, watching all the whales, mountains and clouds roll in. Waves had the best time playing with all of her new friends and I enjoyed getting to know these raw, badass Alaskan mamas.

We’re slowly making our way to Anchorage and Homer for hiking, camping and fishing! We had a 3.5 hour drive from Haines, AK to Haines Junction, Canada which is in the Yukon Territory. The drive has been rainy, dreary and foggy but occasionally we get a quick glance of the mountains as the clouds were moving. Apparently this weather is pretty common in Southeast Alaska/Southwest Canada with it being a temperate rainforest. Regardless of the weather it’s been a gorgeous drive!

We’re finally all settled in, bellies full and ready for bed.  Excited for another adventurous day tomorrow!

 

A tip from Travelin’ Tribe Archive:

(1) An easy way for packing for a family while traveling are these awesome travel space saver bags. I designate one bag to each of us and it makes life easier for this mama with the bags also being clear. They are a compression bag that you don’t need a vacuum for, I highly recommend! Travel Space Saver Bags- Amazon

Until Next Time,
Stay Wanderous & Wild
-The Mitchell Tribe 

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