Alaska RV Dreams & Alaska Bears
Pre-Post Note/ HAPPY MOTHERS day to all you mom’s out there! Hope you all have a wonderful day!
One of the “bucket list” items that almost every RVer has on their list is a trip to Alaska. The irresistible draw of this place is completely understandable. Alaska is one of the most remote and wild places you can access by RV, and it’s a place unlike any other else I know. Its mountain ranges are pristine and untamed, staggeringly sharp peaks with endless miles of pure nature in-between. The vast distances are mind-boggling, yet the nature is intimately close and wild. The landscape seems impenetrable, yet the glacial-blue lakes create amazing reflections of the nature around them. You will rarely see anything like it in your lifetime.
Just in case you’re wondering we’re *not* going this year, I’ll say that upfront, but we know MANY folks who are and we have very fond memories of trips we’ve done up there in our pre-RV lives. Since this is something just about every RVer dreams about I figured I would write a short post with some Alaska info, link to some of the folks I know who are doing the trip this year and share a few of our own memories from the area.
How Far Is It Really?
It’s a LOoooooooong way to Alaska and the State is BIG once you get there.
To put this into perspective Alaska is over twice the size Texas and it only has just over 700,000 people, so you’re talking a lot of land with very few people. Most of the state is not paved, but there’s more than enough road for those who make the trip by RV. It takes some getting to though. Coming from the West you’ve got to drive all the way to the Canadian Border to start with, and then it’s another ~1,750 miles (~2,800 km) before you even hit the Yukon/Alaska border (Alaska Route 2). Add in a few extra thousand miles within the state itself and you’re talking quite the epic adventure. Coming from the East it’s even further.
Just the drive from the border onwards would be more than what we typically do in a whole year on the road, and that’s not even including the 2-3 states we would have to drive through in the Lower 48 to get there.
What’s The Season?
Alaska is waaaay up there which means spring starts late and winter comes early. As far as the season goes, very few folks cross into Canada before the end of May and most try to be out of the area by the beginning of September. In other words, lots of miles, very little time to do ’em.
How Do You Prepare?
The Milepost Guide is pretty much considered the “bible” for most folks going to Alaska by car/RV. They also have have a website with an excellent FAQ. Another highly recommended book is the Church’s Guide To Alaskan Camping, chock-packed with good info for RVers specifically. In addition the RV Forums will almost always have an “Alaska” thread for newbies which will cover details like internet, health insurance (while driving through Canada), rock guards etc..
Lastly just be sure you bring lots of mosquito repellent, make sure you have windshield insurance and don’t fret it too much 🙂 It’s a long drive, but it’s not the crazy wild-west drive that it was 60 years ago. Parts of the road will have pot-holes and frost heaves and parts of it will be slow, but it’s improved tremendously over the years and lots of RVers make the trip without any issues at all. We’d be perfectly fine taking “the beast” up there.
Who’s All Going This Year?
I don’t know if it’s because gas prices are down or the stars have just magically aligned, but we know a bunch of folks who are making the crazy drive up to Alaska this year. If you’ve always wanted to follow an Alaskan road-trip “real-time” check out these links. Many will be crossing into Canada within the next 3 weeks:
- Gone With The Wynns – gonewiththewynns.com (traveling in their new Bounder, no less)
- Hector & Brenda – islandgirlwalkabout.com
- Technomadia – technomadia.com (they’ll be doing part of the trip by train & sea)
- The Snowmads – snowmads.com (traveling in their brand new Trek)
- Van Tramp – van-tramp.com (traveling with ASoloJourner in an Airstream)
Active Instagram Peeps:
- A Solo Journer – instagram.com/asolojourner/ (traveling with Van-tramp)
- Advodna Dave – instagram.com/advodna_dave (traveling with 2 kids in an Airstream)
- Gone With The Wynns – instagram.com/the_wynns
- Mali Mish – instagram.com/malimish_airstream/ (traveling with 3 kids in an Airstream)
- Technomadia – instagram.com/cherie_technomadia and instagram.com/chris_technomadia
- The Snowmads – instagram.com/thesnowmads
- Van Tramp – instagram.com/van_tramp
Lastly Riveted are going up to Alaska by boat in their Nordic Tug 34. Not an RV, but that will also be interesting to follow.
What Are OUR Memories?
Our most memorable trip to Alaska was in 2003. Back then we flew into Anchorage and did a combo flight/backpacking trip into Katmai National Park (to see the grizzlies and the salmon run) followed by an expedition into the Valley Of 10,000 Smokes. The latter had us being dropped off in a small plane (with guides) in the wilds and and then picked up ~10 days later at a pre-arranged location.
At the time it was the most epic thing we’d ever done, especially since we’d never really backpacked before, at least not like this. We slogged for 10 days through the Valley Of 10,000 Smokes initially cursing the sandy path, bugs and crazy weather, but by the end we were completely seduced by the sheer beauty and isolation of the place.
The mosquitoes and LRBB’s (Little Red Biting Bastards, the best way I know to describe them) were relentless yes, they really were, but the grizzlies were awe-inspiring and the views unmatched. We followed no trails and saw no other people (at all), just the four of us cross-country hiking into the pristine wilderness. Magnificent!
I wasn’t much of a photographer back then, but I did take a few cool shots and Paul brought along a film camera where we managed to capture some video footage (always fun in restrospect). The 4-min clip below was taken at the very end of our Alaska trip right after our backpacking trip, but sums up the type of epic experience we had there, an experience (and closeness) with wild nature that you rarely, if ever, have. The clip is of a young grizzly attempting to catch one of the thousands of salmon taunting him from the river. The ending is worth waiting for….
Are YOU going to Alaska this year? OR/ do you follow a favorite blogger/Instagrammer who’s going to Alaska that I missed?? Please feel free to add them in the comments below!