I am FINALLY back for another installment of my LA to Alaska Trip recaps! I am woefully behind on blogging and have been itching to write more about our trip. We're back in LA now, and after a few days of catching up on sleep and seeing friends for the first time in a month, I've gotten a moment to update Have Dog, Will Drive. I'm going to do at least one more recap after this, and I'll also be writing a post about what we learned from the trip and what we would do differently + keep the same based on our experience.
Today, I'm sharing photos from our drive from Tok, Alaska (where I left off in my last post) to Williams Lake, British Columbia. We took a totally different route back to LA from the drive up, so these were all new destinations for us! I'm really glad we planned the trip that way, so we got to see more of North America.
The day after spending the night in Tok, we crossed the border back into Canada. Like all our other border crossings, it was uneventful. Still no questions about Willie OR any requests to see his rabies certificate. I agonized about that before the trip--so unnecessary! But you live and you learn.
Our destination for the first night back in the Yukon was Haines Junction. We were mesmerized by the snow-capped mountains surrounding it. With the foliage, it really felt like quintessential Autumn up there. So beautiful.
The area of the Yukon where Haines Junction is located is right along Kluane National Park. Unlike the much more well-known Banff and Jasper, I had never heard of Kluane before planning this trip. But now, I'm shocked that I hadn't, because it's one of the most stunning places I've ever seen. That's the thing about the Far North--so few people make the trip that there are virtually unknown WONDERS of the world up there. I feel so lucky to have gotten to see it.
We rented an adorable cabin through a B&B (no, not Airbnb . . . they have never heard of that in the Yukon, haha) called simply, The Cabin. It was such a thoughtful and special place. We were the very last guests of the season, and we couldn't have felt more welcomed. A husband and wife run the place together along with their very sweet doggos. The cabins do not have electricity or running water, but they have propane heat and lights (so old fashioned and cool--you turn on the lamps with a match), as well as a huge container of glacial runoff water that turns on and off with the twist of a tap. So while it's not "real" running water through pipes, it's not that rustic either. There is an outhouse to go to the bathroom. And, there's this view:
This was the view from our back porch. Those snow-capped mountains! It was surreal.
We cooked a yummy soup and grilled cheese on our little propane stove and slept long and hard. One thing we really noticed on the drive home was how TIRED we got. During the first half of the trip, we were so excited to be going to Alaska that we seemed to have boundless energy for driving every day. But on the second half, fatigue really set in. It wasn't terrible, but it's just something we noticed. If you are planning a similar trip, you might consider adding in some rest days during the return trip, because I do think it's normal to be a bit more tired.
After Haines Junction, we headed to Nugget City, Yukon! The name is a reference to the gold rush history of the Yukon. We had originally booked a campsite, but it was cold and rainy when we arrived, so we decided to upgrade to a cabin (this scenario became a theme of the return trip).
The cabin was comfortable but BEYOND kitschy (in the best way) and it made us laugh. Keep in mind this is truly the middle of nowhere; we didn't have cell service for around 3 days straight during this period in the Yukon and northern British Columbia. So we were glad to have a roof over our heads! Here's a little glimpse of how awesome/hilarious the decor was in our Nugget City cabin:
We relaxed and actually watched the Emmy's on TV that night eating some takeout from the restaurant next door to our cabin.
The next day's drive was one of the prettiest of the trip. It was also a little nerve-wrecking as it was VERY isolated and rainy, making it especially unappealing to have any car trouble. Luckily, we didn't. This was also the day that we left the familiarity of the Alaska Highway and turned south down the Cassiar Highway. We had read that the Cassiar was especially rustic and remote, and it was. That said, the road conditions were very good. It looked like a lot of it had recently been repaved, so I think some of the reports I saw of rough road might be outdated now. The reason we took the Cassiar Highway was just so we could see more of British Columbia and experience a different route than the drive north.
Our destination that night was Bell II, British Columbia, home of the Bell2 Lodge. In the winter, it's a major heli-skiing destination, but it has a lovely chalet village year round. We stayed in a super cozy chalet (again, upgraded from our originally-booked campsite) with a wood-burning stove. The grounds of the resort were beautiful and we had a great dinner that night from the restaurant.
Given that you can drive for hours and not pass anything else, it's kind of amazing that a resort like this can exist out in the middle of nowhere. They generate all of their own electricity and run their own plumbing and water supply. It was a bit pricier to stay there because of this, but you won't find anything else like it in the area.
Next on our itinerary was Telkwa, British Columbia. I'll be honest and say that when I booked that night, it was kind of just because I saw Telkwa on a map and it looked to be a good stopping point. It's really rural, so I didn't have super high expectations going in. But Grace and I ended up being blown away by Telkwa and now think it was one of our favorite nights of the trip.
First, on the drive between Bell II and Telkwa, we saw FIVE bears on the side of the road! First we saw one by itself eating breakfast, then we saw a mama and baby, and then we saw two more randomly (and were driving by too quickly to notice whether they were by themselves or not). Because seeing wildlife was one of the things we were most excited for on the road trip, this was SUCH a cool day for us.
Then, our day got even better once we rolled up to our accommodations for the night.
Enter the most glorious glamping experience there ever was. Oh my goodness, did we LOVE this place. The name of the site was called Fort Telkwa Riverfront Accommodations. It's an RV park on one side and then they have these tent-cabins along the river. The really surprising thing is that they do not advertise photos like the one above at ALL. We had no idea it would look like this when we pulled up. I booked it just based on the location and the description that they had tent shelters with heat. Not that it's all about money, but for a view like this in the LA area and for the "glamour" of a safari-tent-esque experience, you would be charged $300. This place was $60 and included fresh chopped firewood. There was really great heat and electricity in the tent, and the WiFi was so good (fiber optic) that we could stream movies from inside the tent! Also, the people are THE friendliest around. I could rave about this place all day long. There isn't a bathroom in the tent, but there's a huge bathhouse right beside it with hot showers, a sauna, and nice clean restrooms. We were in heaven.
We did not want to leave! It was just so beautiful and peaceful. Hearing the river rushing by at night was sublime.
The next day, we drove to Williams Lake, British Columbia. I'm embarrassed to say I don't have a single photo from this day of our trip! It was pretty uneventful--this was really just a convenient stop and a place to sleep before getting to Vancouver the next day. We stayed in a Best Western, which was comfy and dog friendly. One thing I really liked about the hotel was that the pet friendly rooms had a back door that opened right up to a green space to walk your dog, so you didn't have to go through the lobby for doggy bathroom breaks. Such a smart setup! I wish I could offer more in terms of recommendations for Williams Lake, and it seemed like a nice little town, but we were exhausted and didn't really see anything but the hotel. It was also around this time that we noticed a decent sized crack in Grace's windshield, which must have come from a logging truck hitting the windshield with a pebble or something. So we had to deal with that (and ultimately will have to replace the entire windshield--just part of the cost of a trip like this!) and didn't venture out that night.
The next day we woke up very excited to get to Vancouver! I'm going to pause the recap here and save Vancouver, Portland, and Northern California for the next one. Thanks for reading!