WE MADE IT TO ALASKA!
We had reached our farthest destination in 3 1/2 years into traveling! 2 years of saying we’d go to Alaska, and only a couple months of actual planning (we’re not much of planners). Of course, the not planning much and the lack of knowledge before heading to Alaska backfired a little, but hey, we made it!
Crossing the borders were easy-peasy, and when we continued onward, past the Alaska patrol building, Mom and I were in a silent awe. We made it. An acomplishment.
We drove through Tok, and after filling up with expensive gas, we headed south toward Mt. Drum, a free campsite. Along the way, the sky greeted us with a vibrant and everlasting rainbow between the green mountains. That day, we relished in the relief of making it to Alaska. That was the best day in Alaska that we had.
The next weekend, we parked the trailer in Palmer and partied it up at the Highland Games festival, where the world championships were held. Talk about huge men! There were Scottish dancers and an awesome band called The Wicked Tinkers. While the band was rocking out, so was I! I persuaded a family of kids to dance, and soon a few more people joined in. That family of kids soon became my first friends in Alaska.
The next week, we camped at Moose Pass, a tiny town about 30 miles before Seward. We saw many bald eagles here! I also met up with a friend of mine from California. He’s now a pilot for Sonic Mountain Air, if y’all ever want to go flying in AK, check them out!
From there, our time in Alaska went downhill. Here is where honestly appears:
Take note that, when visiting Alaska do not expect sunshine, and do not expect a day without rain.
There are a lot of homeless people. I wonder where they go in the winter?
Although Alaska is a very big tourist state, it is also a very poor state.
Alaska is also crime ridden, specializing in drugs. We had stumbled upon a large group of squatters one night, hidden in a national forest. Everyone was smoking something, even a teenager who had fallen unconscious on the ground, with a wrapped-something smoking in his hand. Everyone gave us looks, yelled at us, and flipped us the bird. We called the state troopers and what did they do? Nothing, said the state was too poor to drive out there anyway. So we continued down the road at 4 in the morning to a tiny town called Ninilchick, where we parked it for the night at a church.
We then headed to Homer. Homer is a nice town, with cute shops and camping on “the spit” (a sandbar).
However, our time was short there as well, due to finding a free place to camp. 2 days later, we were treading back to Palmer, dejected and tired. So far, Alaska was being more of a pain than an anything else.
I met up with my friends again in Palmer, went on a hike up a Butte. Had a sleepover. That family was the one thing that made me happy me in Alaska.
Then, it was Denali National Park. On the way there, we had our first and only glimpse of Mt. Denali (which, let’s be honest, it will always be Mt. McKinley).
I am sad to say this, but Denali National Park was the WORST National Park we have been to.
It wasn’t because we didn’t think it was pretty, but the customer service and how the park is run that was cringe worthy. You have to pay to get on a bus to go “into the park”. Never has a National Park charged us to “go into the park”, or charged us to take a shuttle. The camp hosts were up to their ears with attitude, including most other park workers. We couldn’t even figure out when to hop on the little bus to do programs in the park, and when we asked for help, a couple of employees laughed at us, the paying customers. Don’t even get me started on the construction along the 13 mile road of campgrounds. All in all, we ended up talking a manager, broke into tears, and got all of our money refunded.
The most important thing I learned in Denali is how not to treat customers and guests.
Fairbanks was probably the most decent city of Alaska. It was clean, pretty safe, and the nicest. A week later, we were happily in Canada again.
Now, I think we might’ve had a better time if we were rich and could do the happy-go-lucky tourist things. But it might be a bit tough if you’re a full-time traveler.
Alaska is a harsh state. In my honest opinion, Alaska wasn’t worth the trip, it was more of a disappointment than anything. It could have just been the horrible experiences with some people, but, I think, the experience of something is what makes it or breaks it.
Here are some more pictures of Alaska:
If you have made it to Alaska, I sincerely hope you had a better time than my mom and I did.
Our total time in Alaska was only a month and a few days (We had expected to stay for 2 months). The journey was long, tiresome, frustrating, and hair gripping, but I’ve learned much.
Btw, we are back in the lower 48. 😉
-Breanna the hippie