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Wesley`s wanders

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Final activities on the Alaska Highway

March 18th 2014 12:41 pm
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First of all,I want to thank Dogster for our diary pick today! That is always an honor! THANK YOU!

Continuing on with the narrative of our recent Alaska trip,upon leaving Skagway,we crossed back into Canada and drove up the south Klondike highway to Whitehorse. Whitehorse is the capital of Canada`s Yukon Territory and it has an extensive system of hiking trails along the Yukon river. We spent some time exploring these trails. Then we headed on down the Alaska Highway passing thru the small towns of Teslin and Watson Lake. At Teslin,we were the only campers in the campground,it being mid-October. The town of Watson Lake afforded us a nice walk around pretty Wye lake and the always interesting Watson Lake Signpost Forest. People from all over the world erect signs here,my dad has a few of his own here as well! The tradition was started by a homesick soldier in WW 2 who erected a sign indicating the distance to his hometown in Danville,Illinois. There was thick fog on the Alaska Highway as we drove towards the Liard River Hotsprings and we had to be watchful of buffalo on the highway,difficult to spot in the fog! Liard River Hotsprings Provincial Park in northern British Columbia is one of dad`s favourite spots on the Alaska Highway and he spent a few hours soaking in the warm pools here. These were our final moments on the Alaska Highway for this trip as soon after leaving the hotsprings,we exited the road near Ft St John and began our travels along other roads in British Columbia. Some pix with descriptions follow.

Final activities on the Alaska Highway


Haines,Alaska and Skagway

March 16th 2014 10:05 am
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Leaving mainland Alaska,we journeyed down the Alaska Highway to Haines Junction,stopping to do some mountain hiking in Kluane National Park. The views here of the St Elias Mts and Kathleen Lake were superb! We then traveled down the Haines highway to Haines in Alaska`s panhandle. Haines is not connected by road to the Alaska mainland,thus we had to travel thru Canada to reach the small town. In Haines,we saw dolphins in Portage cove,climbed to the summit of Mt Riley for stunning views of the Lynn Canal,and hiked out to Battery point where we saw some crab fishermen hauling in their catch. We took the state ferry from Haines to Skagway. This scenic voyage up the Lynn canal is 13 miles and takes about 1 hour. By road,the same trip would be about 250 miles since there is no direct road connection between the 2 towns. Arriving in Skagway,we walked the deserted streets(tourist season had ended a few weeks before and most shops were closed)and discovered that Skagway has a Sarah Palin shop as well as a pet cemetery! We then left Skagway,driving up the Klondike highway back into Canada`s Yukon Territory. This was our last time in Alaska on this trip. Some pix with descriptions follow.
Haines and Skagway,Alaska


A taste of Spring!

March 9th 2014 3:47 pm
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It has been a long cold snowy winter here so when a warm day finally rolled around,Dad and I decided to take advantage of it. We did a long day hike in the NJ Pine Barrens along the Batona trail. Temps climbed to near 60 degrees in the afternoon. It felt good to hike in the warm sun and be able to have our lunch without using a tent or small shelter. In addition,my dad found 2 more geocaches along the trail! Some pix with descriptions follow.

Early March Pine Barrens hike


Leaving the Alaska mainland

March 6th 2014 9:01 am
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Traveling north from Anchorage,we enjoyed some spectacular sights along the Glenn Highway. We did some hiking in Wrangell St Elias National Park---the largest National Park in the US. Finally we arrived back at the Alaska Highway in Tok. Tok is only about 90 miles from the Canadian border at which point we would be leaving mainland Alaska. While in Tok,we visited with musher Hugh Neff, who has run both the Yukon Quest and Iditarod sled dog races. Hugh was the 2012 Yukon Quest champion. He was kind enough to give me an hour long ride with a team of his dogs. It was a thrilling hour long ride over bumpy woods trails and smooth paved roads. Some pix with descriptions follow.

Leaving mainland Alaska


Enjoying the early March snow

March 5th 2014 8:35 am
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Recently we had a light 1 in snowfall here in Philadelphia. The snow was light and powdery,just right for pleasant hiking. As winter will soon be over,Dad and I decided to get in a long hike thru Pennypack Park which is near our home. It was a cold day---9 degrees at the start and only about 30 mid-day---but Dad took along a lightweight portable shelter so we could have our lunch out of the cold. It was about a 15 mile hike in all and some pix follow.

Late winter in Pennypack Park


February day at the beach

February 27th 2014 12:48 pm
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Mon Feb 24,Dad took me to Island Beach State Park in NJ. This is a scenic barrier island separated from the NJ mainland by Barnegat Bay. A unique feature here are the sand dunes on the beach and the beach vegetation. A number of red foxes also inhabit the beach. Apparently people feed them as they are not shy in begging for food! We hiked the beach for 5 miles down to Barnegat Inlet and found a secluded spot there in the dunes to have our lunch. It was a cold day,so dad had packed along a small tent which we used to have lunch out of the Feb cold. Hiking the sand path thru the dunes,we came upon a nice beach house. It appeared to be uninhabited and the garage door was ajar,so we went inside to have a look around. Lots of interesting nautical d├ęcor inside! We had the beach all to ourselves on this cold winter day and saw nobody in the several hours that we were hiking here save for a single beach ranger vehicle. Some pix with descriptions follow.

Feb day at Island Beach


Kenai Peninsula

February 23rd 2014 5:22 pm
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Alaska`s Kenai Peninsula sits below Anchorage on scenic Cook Inlet. We spent over a week here hiking some trails,most notably the Resurrection Pass trail which played a part in a small gold rush here. There were some nice little towns here as well,a few of which had Russian Orthodox Churches and one even had an indoor swimming pool complete with waterslide. We saw the awesome mud flats at Captain Cook State Park while walking the beach at low tide. It was an exciting part of our trip and some pix with descriptions follow.

Kenai Peninsula


Hatcher Pass and Independence Mine

February 16th 2014 12:57 pm
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Continuing our journey southward towards Anchorage,we detoured off onto the Hatcher Pass road. This is a high mountain road that connects the Alaskan towns of Palmer and Willow. It traverses stunning alpine scenery and passes by the Independence gold mine which operated in the years just prior to and after WW 2. There were many interesting old mine structures here to explore as well as a mountain yurt. A few nice homes sat up here high in the mountains as well! What an awesome place to live! Some pix with descriptions follow.

Hatcher Pass and Independence Mine


Central Alaska

February 14th 2014 3:27 pm
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Traveling south from Fairbanks we drove the Parks Hwy thru central Alaska. This area is where Denali (Mt McKinley)highest peak in N America is located. It is an area of impressive mountain scenery. Traveling along the Parks hwy,we saw the turnoff for the Stampede road. This road led to the trail that Chris McCandless used to get back to the bus in the book and movie "Into the Wild". We drove back the stampede road until the snow got too deep,then hiked for a few miles more into the mountain tundra. We had lunch inside an outfitter`s cabin here. Had the outfitter still been operating this late in the season,Dad would have inquired about an ATV ride back to THE BUS. "Into the Wild" is one of Dad`s favourite books and movies! Hiking back to the bus would have been a 20 mile ordeal involving a river fording,not something he felt safe doing with a full pack and me along! Plus it was snowy and cold,not good river crossing weather! Still it was neat to explore this remote area.

Moving along,we drove the Denali Hwy,a mostly gravel road which connects the Parks and Richardson highways traversing a 130 mile stretch of remote interior Alaska. We spent 2 nights on the Denali Highway and did some nice hikes into the mountains here.

Then it was south on the Glenn Highway past the Matanuska Glacier where both of us got to hike a short way out onto a glacier. We almost got stuck in some quicksand like mud as we approached the glacier and once on the glacier itself,I slipped into a water filled crevasse but dad had me on leash and was able to haul me out! We camped nearby overnite and enjoyed a spectacular sunrise over the Chugach range the next morning. Some pix with descriptions follow.

Central Alaska



February 10th 2014 8:02 am
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Hello to all!

Haven`t posted for a while as Dad was too busy saving all our diaries,stars,rosettes and gifts as screen shots. It was a LONG procedure but we now have all our Dogster stuff saved and backed up! In these waning days of Dogster,we are going to post as much of the rest of our recent Alaska trip as we can. After the site goes dark,we will try to post on another blog site if we can find one. I`ll provide a link if I can find such a site. Meanwhile,we are on Facebook, and shutterfly.

Upon reaching the Alaska mainland,we headed north to Fairbanks. There is a nice resort here,the Chena Hotsprings. In addition to the hot springs,there are many hiking trails in the State recreation area here. We did some nice hikes,enjoyed the scenery and relaxed---at least dad did!---in the hot springs. We even visited a sled dog outfitter and mushing school. We attempted to reach the Arctic Circle about 200 miles north of Fairbanks,but the road proved to icy in late September for this. Some pix with descriptions follow.


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