Winterlake Lodge-First Stop on the Iditarod Trail

The start of our adventure into off-the-grid Alaska began on Monday, August 16th, we flew from Anchorage to Winterlake Lodge, in a Cessna 206, it was a 1 1/2 hour flight into the wilderness northwest of Anchorage. We boarded the Cessna at the Lake Hood Seaplane Base. Lake Hood is the world’s busiest seaplane base, handling an average of 190 flights per day. Winterlake Lodge is nestled at the foot of the Alaskan Range, on the edge of an  ancient valley. This Lodge is located on the Iditarod Trail which runs through the property into the woods and on to Nome. It is open June1st to September 30th for the summer and February 15th to April 1st for the winter season. The only way to get to this lodge is by plane or helicopter. When we arrived at the lodge Amory was there to greet us, she is our guide for the three days that we are staying here. After we settled into our cabin we went for a boat ride on Finger Lake and saw lots of beautiful Common Loons with their chicks, only two months old. Common loons have deep black or dark green heads and necks and dark backs with an intricate pattern of black and white stripes, spots, squares and rectangles. Listening to the sound of the loon as she paddled along was so surreal, such a peaceful setting. The next day we went for a hike on the Red Lake Trail with Amory and on the return we stopped at the kennels to see the dogs. These dogs are trained for the Iditarod Race and are usually up on the glacier training but the weather has been too warm so they are back in their kennels. After lunch I went paddle boarding on the lake, it was so peaceful but I didn’t see any wildlife. For dinner the Chef made Bob a special birthday cake for his 75th birthday, the food here is amazing and every meal is delicious. Click on thumbnail to view image Continue reading

Anchorage and Prince William Sound

We arrived in Anchorage on Friday, August 13th, and went to The Lakefront Anchorage Hotel to check-in. This beautiful wilderness lodge in the heart of the city with sweeping views of float planes on Lake Hood from the deck, Anchorage’s only lakefront hotel. It is one mile from the airport and ten minutes from downtown Anchorage, this Millennium hotel is the perfect place to stay on your Alaskan adventure. We headed to the deck for a drink and appetizers, and had the biggest shrimp, while we soaked up the sunshine. The next day we went to downtown Anchorage and visited the sod-roofed, log cabin Visitor Center and the Alaska Public Lands Information Center run by the National Park Service. We rented bikes in town and rode along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, a 11-mile-long trail along the coast of Anchorage, designated for non-motorized use. At first we saw a female moose and her calf in the woods but we couldn’t get very close. Further along the trail we came upon a bull moose very busy eating the berries from the trees. We stayed and watched him for awhile before moving on. We went to the 49th State Brewing Co, a must visit while in Alaska for dinner. They have the best micro beer and the biggest Alaskan King crab legs I have ever seen. Not to forget the wild mountain blueberry pie for dessert, yummy!!! Click on thumbnail to view image Continue reading

Juneau Alaska – State Capitol

Nugget Falls

On Tuesday, August 10th we boarded the ferry in Skagway and went to Juneau to continue our journey north. Juneau is the capital city of the state of Alaska, and is named after a gold prospector from Quebec, Joe Juneau. Juneau is unique in that there are no roads connecting the city to the rest of the state nor North America. The absence of a road network is due to the extremely rugged terrain surrounding the city. Juneau sits at sea level, below steep mountains about 3,00 to 4,000 feet high. Atop these mountains is the Juneau Glacier on Mount Juneau, a large ice mass from which about 30 glaciers flow; one of these is the Mendenhall Glacier. We stayed in a Best Western outside of the city and it was a long taxi ride to get into downtown. The next day we went into town and took a bus to see the Mendenhall Glacier about 12 miles from downtown Juneau. . Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Skagway Alaska- Gateway to the Klondike

In the railroad yard, an old WP&YR engine with the cool Thunderbird logo.

Skagway was originally spelled S-K-A-G-U-A, a Tlinglit word for “windy place”. The first people in this area were Tlinglits from the Chilkoot village in the Haines area. The windy Skagway valley was good for hunting mountain goats and bear, but no one settled here until 1887. After arriving in Skagway we checked into the White House Inn, built in 1902 by gambler Lee Guthrie. It was the finest home in Skagway, and we had a beautiful, large room on the first floor with picture windows. Our first stop in Skagway was to the Red Onion Saloon for pizza and beer. It was built in 1897 during the height of the Gold Rush, the Red Onion Saloon operated as one of the finest Bordellos in town, and you can visit the brothel museum for a link to the past. Racey, old-timey portraits of alluring women still adorn the walls of the Red Onion Saloon and the ghost of Lydia, a former Madame, still haunts the place. Continue reading

Journey to Alaska on the Marine Highway

Enjoying the view of Bellingham as we leave the harbor

On Wednesday, August 4, 2021, we set sail for Alaska to celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary. We wanted to go somewhere that we have never traveled to together, and Alaska was the perfect destination. Marguerite Shepherd drove us to the Ferry Terminal, in Bellingham’s Fairhaven Village. The Alaska Ferry officially called the Alaska Marine Highway System departs from Bellingham, WA to access America’s remote north through the awe-inspiring Inside Passage. We departed at 6 PM and went to our cabin, not too lavish, but comfortable, with a bunkbed and a private bathroom. Rooms are not required on the ferry, many passengers choose to sleep on the deck, with or without a tent. Our Ferry was the MV Matanuska, launched in 1962, 408 feet long, with one vehicle deck and three passenger decks. We spent the evening on the top deck enjoying the sunset and views of Bellingham and the islands. Continue reading

Chief Joseph and Beartooth Scenic Byways

Today we drove the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, Highway 296, a 45-mile-long state highway that follows the route taken by Chief Joseph as he led the Nez Perce Indians out of Yellowstone NP and into Montana in 1877 during their attempt to flee the US Cavalry and escape into Canada. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Cody Wyoming

On Saturday, July 17th, we left Pinedale and drove to Cody, WY, staying at the Cody Trout Camp RV Park until July 22. Cody is one of the West’s great places. It’s surrounded on four sides by mountains, rich in wildlife and a place filled with adventure. We visited the Buffalo Bill Center of the West with 5 museums, including the Buffalo Bill Museum, tracing William F Cody’s life (1846-1917) with multimedia displays, and the Draper Natural History Museum with wildlife exhibits. We spent hours exploring the museum and the fascinating displays. Buffalo Bill Cody was a US Army scout, bison hunter, Pony Express rider, Indian fighter and showman. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Wyoming and Wind River Ranges

On Monday, July 12th, after the Green River Rendezvous was over we moved the RV to the Yellowstone Trail RV Park in Pinedale, WY, a brand new park. We stayed until Saturday for 5 nights enjoying Pinedale and the scenic Wyoming area. We hiked the Sacred Rim Trail, a 4 mile out-and-back trail on the edges of the Bridger Wilderness near Pinedale. We drove the Skyline Scenic Drive with breathtaking views of the Wind River Range at 9,000 feet, to Ekhart Park. We started on the Pole Creek Trail for a few 100 yards until we found the cairn where the trail branched off to the Sacred Rim Trail to the left. At the end of the trail we were rewarded with absolutely incredible views, and you feel like you’re on top of the world. We looked down at Long Lake and looked out across the Wind River Range in the Bridger Wilderness… such a large space untouched by humanity. Sacred Rim is an appropriate name for this short, quiet trail as it is a part of heaven on Earth. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Green River Rendezvous, Pinedale Wyoming

Bad Hand

On July 6th, 2021, we drove to Thane, Wyoming, where we stayed for 2 nights on our way to Marbleton, Wyoming to Rob’s Roost RV Park for 5 days. We couldn’t get into a park near Pinedale because of the Green River Rendezvous Festival was happening, July 8-11, and we wanted to experience the Mountain Men. So we stayed in a cabin at the Highline Trail RV Park for the weekend to be closer to Pinedale. The Green River Rendezvous is held each year and it relives the early Mountain Men history of the area. During the Rendezvous, the town of Pinedale comes alive with activities and events surrounding the Mountain Men theme. The Green River Rendezvous was an annual event in the 1830s. Mountain Men, Trappers, Travelers, and Indians all gathered in a valley “below the Green” river and bartered, traded, sold and swapped various items such as skins, pelts, guns, jewelry and whatever else they needed. Continue reading

4th of July Weekend, Driggs Idaho

We left the RV parked at Challis Hot Springs RV Park and drove to Driggs, Idaho, in the Jeep to visit with Kevin, Ericka and the kids for the 4th of July weekend. We stayed in Victor in a cabin at the Teton Valley Campground for 2 nights. The first afternoon we went to Grand Targhee Resort to go mountain biking in the Grand Targhee Bike Park, voted #2 in the top 5 Best Bike Parks in the Northwest region. Bob and opted out of the mountain biking and took the chairlift to the summit for a fantastic view of the Tetons. We took Austin with us the first time and then after lunch with Harper, they both loved the view and especially the snow still on the ground. They all had a blast mountain biking down the trails and riding the chairlift back to the top. It will be a favorite outing every year for the Jackson clan. Continue reading