The Adventures of Smiley

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Alaska 2005 Days 13 and 14

November 13th 2005 12:50 pm
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Thurs Sept 22

We drove up to the Fairbanks area today and the weather being warm (50`s) and sunny,immediately began a hike on the Granite Tors trail located just off the Chena Hotsprings road. We did get a late start--4pm--so we only got about 5 miles up this trail before stopping to camp for the night. The wildfires of 2004 have removed many of the trees from this area, but a side benefit of this is that there are more views and we could see the Chena River valley far below us as we hiked up this trail.


Fri Sept 23


Clouds rolled in overnite and I could hear light rain falling on the tent .I reluctantly left the cozy tent when Dad was ready to break camp. We continued our uphill hike and in a few miles emerged from the treeline onto the bare rock of the mountain. The rain was comming down a bit stronger now and it was windy as well. Dad had my velcro rain coat on me and that plus my dogpack kept me snug!

After about another hour, we reached the tundra area atop the mountain and proceeded to the small wooden trail cabin located here. Dad got the woodstove going and we warmed up in here for a bit. We stayed here to have lunch out of the rain and wind and just as we were preparing to leave, the rain let up and a few breaks of sun appeared. We then set out on the trail across the tundra. This trail is nicely marked with orange kilometerposts and wooden tripods.

This area is called the Plain of Monuments due to the many rock tors located here. A tor is a pillar of rock that was formed by volcanic activity and then exposed by erosion. Some of these tors that we hiked by were quite tall. Dad took pictures of me beside some of them and these will eventually be shown here on my Dogster page. From time to time light snow flurries fell, but for the most part the rest of the afternoon was sunny. We finally reached the last group of tors and began the steep descent back down the mountain to the Chena Hotsprings road and the Tors campground where we stayed for the night. Hiking by those tall majestic Tors was a thrill for both of us!

Smiley

 

Alaska 2005 Days 11 and 12

November 12th 2005 1:29 pm
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Tues Sept 20

Dad and I finished up our Upper Dewey Lake hike today, hiking back from Sturgil`s Landing to Skagway.

We toured Skagway for a bit and walked down to the cruise ship docks to view the ships that were in port. These things are really HUGE. They`re like floating cities in themselves. Even the lifeboats are the size of small pleasure boats.

Travelled back up the Klondike Highway to camp again at Wolf Creek campground for the night.



Wed Sept 23


Dad and I arrived in mainland Alaska today and travelled on to the small town of Tok. Enroute we hiked a nice trail in the Yukon(the spruce beetle trail) which afforded us splendid views of the snowcapped St. Elias mountains. We also payed a short visit to the Tetlin Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

I`m so glad to be staying in a real motel tonight---Young`s Motel in Tok.
It`s sooo nice to have a soft bed after all the camping out in a tent!

Smiley

 

Alaska 2005 Day 10

November 11th 2005 8:51 pm
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Mon Sept 19

Dad and I could hear rain pelting against the tent overnite and strong wind gusts from time to time. How nice to be inside a snug,warm tent!

The rain let up early today and the sun even peeked out a bit from time to time. Dad and I hiked to a nearby public use cabin that we overlooked the night before due to the rain and approaching darkness. Inside the cabin, Dad got a fire going inside the woodstove and we dried our clothes---well his clothes anyway!

We then hiked a trail that led up above Upper Dewey Lake and out to another small lake known as the Devil`s Punchbowl. From this trail we could see Upper Dewey Lake below us and far off on its shoreline sat the cabin. The town of Skagway was spread out below us as well and we could see the vast sweep of the waters of the inside passage. A plane took off from Skagway`s airstrip and it was strange to gaze DOWN on a plane flying in the air! Some boats were visible in the Tayia inlet below us.

We hiked all the way out to the Devil`s Punchbowl which is a smaller lake that is surrounded by steep rocky cliffs. A hiker that Dad met later in the day told him that if you were to climb these cliffs, you would see the Juneau icefield. Dad and I plan to try this on our next trip here hopefully in Aug 2007.

We had lunch in the cabin where we met that other hiker then we began the long steep descent from the alpine regions of upper Dewey Lake.

We then hiked the mostly level trail that passes thru the Tongass National Forest out to Sturgill`s Camp. This was about another 3 miles and we passed Lower Dewey Lake enroute.

Sturgill`s camp sits by a small beach right on the Tayia Inlet. Dad and I camped here for our second night of this hike. It was very windy,but Dad got the tent staked out nicely and we were snug and warm for the night.

After darkness fell, a cruise ship sailed by departing Skagway. All its lights were ablaze and we could see a few people walking about on the decks. Reminded Dad of the Titanic!

Smiley

 

Alaska 2005 Day 9

November 9th 2005 2:25 pm
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Sun Sept 18

Dad and I left Wolf Creek campground this morning and explored the area around Miles Canyon. Miles Canyon is a spot in the city of Whitehorse where the Yukon River flows thru a steep, rocky canyon. Back in the days of the Klondike Gold Rush there was a violent set of rapids here but a dam upriver has quieted them down today. We hiked the Yukon River loop trail here and enjoyed spectacular views of the famous Yukon River.

Next we began our journey down the Klondike Highway (an offshoot of the Alaska Highway) towards the city of Skagway on Alaska`s Inside Passage. Near the city of Carcross Dad and I stopped to hike amongst the sand dunes of the Carcross Desert.

We crossed the White Pass (the Alaska border is atop White Pass) amidst fog and cold rain---YUCK!! then descended into Skagway. We were both a bit depressed by the cold rain that was falling and I really wanted to stay in the warm car, but Dad insisted that having come all this way we should go ahead with our planned hike. Being a loyal dog, I donned my velcro raincoat and dogpack and set off after Dad up the long trail to Upper Dewey Lake.

The rain let up to a lighter drizzle as we ascended the trail. There was one spot where Dad and I got a great view of a cruise ship docked in the bay below. As we ascended, we could see the blue-green waters of the Tayia Inlet and the Inside Passage below us. Despite the rain, it was a doggone good view!

After 2 miles of strenuous uphill climbing over rocks,tree roots,and slippery mud (I`m glad I have claws!) we reached Upper Dewey Lake. Dad and I were by this point exhausted from the steep climb and chilled to the bone from the cold rain. Emerging from the treeline in the Upper Dewey Lake area, we were buffeted by cold winds. BRRR!! Dad and I both decided to pitch the tent in a hurry to warm up.

Once inside, Dad fired up his campstove and the tent was gloriously warm. We were snug inside as rain and wind lashed the tent canvas. We had supper then Dad crawled into his warm sleeping bag and I snuggled beside him. We fell asleep to the pleasant sound of wind and rain both hoping for better hiking weather tommorrow.

Smiley

 

Alaska 2005 day 8

November 4th 2005 8:48 pm
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Sat Sept 17

We arrived in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada today. Enroute here, Dad and I stopped at the Liard River hotsprings along the Alaska Highway to enjoy a swim. We had to walk back a long boardwalk over boggy tundra to reach these hotsprings. Once there, Dad enjoyed a long swim while I lounged just outside of the pool conversing with a nice Newfoundland. Dad tells me that these hotsprings remain very warm all year. In past years, Dad has swum here even with snow on the boardwalk!!

Upon arriving in Whitehorse, Dad and I stopped for the night at Wolf Creek campground just outside the city itself. From this campground, we hiked a trail that led back to a scenic cliff overlooking the Yukon River. Dad and I spent the night here before heading down the Klondike Highway to Skagway,Alaska the next day.

Smiley

 

Alaska 2005 Days 6 and 7

November 3rd 2005 1:06 pm
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Thurs Sept 15

After taking our tent down, Dad walked me along some trails at Elk Island National Park this morning. Last nite`s rain had ended and it was a brisk,partly sunny morning.

I was sure surprised to see that Coyote sitting by the side of the road just off the trail that Dad and I were on. My fur went up upon spotting him and he lifted his snout into the air and let loose with a long melodious HOWLLL!!!. I replied with a few barks of my own but I must confess that I lack Mr Coyote`s musical abilities!!

Dad and I travelled over 400 miles today to reach the town of Dawson Creek which is the start of the Alaska Highway. We camped at Charlie Lake tonight.


Fri Sept 16

WOOF!!!

Today was a lovely day travelling thru the Canadian rockies. It was partly sunny and refreshingly cool. All the autumn colors were out and it was just beautiful.

In the Summit Lake area of the Alaska Highway, Dad and I stopped at Stone Mountain Provincial Park. Here we spent about 3 hours hiking a trail that led to the summit regions of Stone Mountain. There were expansive views here of the snowcapped peaks in the Canadian Rockies. Summit Lake glistened like a blue jewel amongst these majestic mountains. It was a tough hike up to the summit ,though. Dad and I had to traverse a few slippery scree slopes. Ascending to the summit, we were buffeted by strong, chilly winds. Dad needed his hat and gloves and I was grateful for my warm fur coat!!

We camped at a nice spot beside Muncho Lake tonite.

Smiley

 

Alaska 2005--Day 5

October 28th 2005 9:35 pm
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WED SEPT 14

Dad and I travelled Trans-Canada highway 16 today crossing Saskatchewan and on into Alberta. There was rain much of today and it was rather chilly when the rain was falling. This might have been a less than memorable part of our trip save for a discovery that Dad and I made at the end of the day.

We were looking for a nice spot to camp for the night as we approached Edmonton on Hwy 16. Dad decided to check out Elk Island National Park located just off of the highway. We stayed at the Astotin Lake campground here and Dad gave me a walk this evening along a trail here. We spotted a few bison. I growled at them, but Dad told me to keep quiet as he didn`t want to provoke an animal that probably weighs well over 1000 pounds!!

Dad and I were awakened about 2 am inside our tent by a chorous of howls. A pack of coyotes was howling away. It was a melodious, beautiful sound! Dad walked me again in the morning, and we actually saw a coyote sitting alongside the road,snout in air, howling away!! My fur went up upon seeing Mr Coyote but Dad told me that he meant us no harm and sure enough he soon ran off into the forest.

Dad and I enjoyed our short visit to Elk Island National Park and would sure like to return on a future trip to Alaska!!

Smiley

 

Alaska 2005 Day 4

October 25th 2005 12:58 pm
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Tues Sept 13

Dad and I journeyed westward thru Ontario today stopping for a short hike in Rushing River Provincial Park in western Ontario just before the Manitoba border. It was raining lightly, but we enjoyed a walk in this park on a trail that led back to a scenic lake. All the fall foliage was out which made it a lovely hike despite the rain.

We travelled over 500 miles today to reach a very nice regional park just outside of Yorkton,Saskatchewan. This was a VERY nice place to camp for the night since it had a heated shower building and was totally free! Dad and I had the campground all to ourselves save for one other party in a motorhome. We camped in a pleasant spot beneath some evergreens.

Dad and I would like to thank the town of Yorkton for providing this lovely campground!

Smiley

 

Alaska 2005---Day 3 Mon Sept 12

October 23rd 2005 2:04 pm
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Dad and I continued our journey west across Ontario today on Hwy 17. This highway as well as highway 69 before it and others are collectively labled the Trans-Canada Highway.

Travelling highway 17, we stopped to hike in Lake Superior Provincial Park. It was lovely here! The sand felt pleasantly cool beneath my paws and Dad enjoyed some swimming in Lake Superior. Dad has taken me to the Jersey shore before and this reminded me of Island Beach State Park in New Jersey. Lake Superior had waves that rolled ashore just like the ocean,and there were cliffs and trees right by the beach.

Dad spotted a small rocky island a short way offshore and turning to me he says " I think we could walk out to that island,Smiley". I was thinking "You must be crazy,Dad"! But being the polite,loyal dog that I am, I just wagged my tail and followed Dad out into Lake Superior. Dad made it out to the island, the water being no more than waist deep on him, but I had to do a doggie paddle to make it. The rocky slopes of the island were too slippery with moss for Dad to ascend barefoot,so I ventured onto the island first, gaining purchase with my claws on the slick rock. Dad hauled himself up using my long flexi lead. We explored the small rocky island which had a few trees growing on it then journeyed back to shore.

Walking further along the shore, we came upon 3 teepees! Large branches were arranged in conical shapes sticking up out of the sand. Dad remarked that somebody could place tarps around them and have a nice shelter. He thinks the teepees may have been constructed by native First Nations people who reside in the area.

We resumed our hike back to the car and Dad took another swim in the cool waters of Lake Superior.

Later in the day, we stopped for lunch and another short hike in Rainbow Falls Provincial Park. We camped tonite in the small community of Ignace,Ontario. Dad walked me here this evening along a bike path and we observed a girl rollerblading with her siberian husky.

Smiley

 

Alaska trip day 2

October 21st 2005 8:49 pm
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Day 2 Sun Sept 11

Dad and I left Niagra Falls this morning and began our journey west along the Trans-Canada highway thru Ontario. We had to gas up this morning and it cost my Dad about $1.20/liter. That`s kind of like buying gas by the quart which makes gas in Canada the equivalent of over $4 per gallon! Dad`s sure glad he has a 3 cylinder Geo that gets 50 mpg.

It was warm and sunny today, and after briefly getting lost in the maze of highways surrounding Toronto, we eventually found our way onto Ontario hwy 69. In the middle of the day, Dad and I stopped for a hike in French River provincial park alongside hwy 69. Both of us took a dip in the brisk waters of the French River.

We drove about 590 miles today to reach the Pancake Bay area along Lake Superior. We camped by a rocky beach of Lake Superior and could see a lighthouse in the distance. There were many views of Lake Superior and smaller lakes and bays as we drove hwys 69 and 17. It was a scenic drive thru the rocky gorges of the Canadian Shield. I walked with Dad along the shoreline of Pancake Bay tonite, then was glad to crawl into the cozy tent for the nite!

Smiley

 
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