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Old 07-23-2013, 11:45 PM   #1
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TWOLOST: Southeast Alaska; July, 2013


My wife, our three year old daughter and I just returned home from nearly three weeks scouting and exploring forest service roads in Southeast Alaska. This trip was planned more than a year ago and the end result exceeded nearly every expectation we had. So much so that if I was planning a future trip to Alaska (which may happen for my 50th) part of that trip would include a return to Southeast Alaska in the month of July. Fishing aside, if you are looking to travel off-road and off-grid in a relatively remote North American coastal rain forest; crisscrossed by an amazing gravel road system; and basically have the place to yourself... then you might consider touching Southeast Alaska as part of any adventure this far north.

Area overview here: SE Alaska Map (*.pdf);


Goal:
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To explore as many dirt roads in Southeast Alaska as we could find - in three weeks.




Itinerary:
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June, 30; Depart; North Bend, WA (USA) for Quesnel, British Columbia (CAN)
July, 01; Quesnel, BC (CAN) to Prince Rupert, BC (CAN)
July, 02; Prince Rupert BC, CAN to Petersburg, AK (USA)
July, 03; Petersburg, AK (USA)
July, 04; Petersburg, AK (USA)
July, 05; Petersburg, AK (USA)
July, 06; Petersburg, AK (USA) to Wrangell, AK (USA)
July, 07; Wrangell, AK (USA)
July, 08; Wrangell, AK (USA) to Ketchikan, AK (USA); then Ketchikan, AK (USA) to Prince of Wales Island (USA)
July, 09; Prince of Wales Island (USA)
July, 10; Prince of Wales Island (USA)
July, 11; Prince of Wales Island (USA)
July, 12; Prince of Wales Island (USA)
July, 13; Prince of Wales Island (USA)
July, 14; Prince of Wales Island (USA)
July, 15; Prince of Wales Island (USA)
July, 16; Prince of Wales Island (USA) to Ketchikan, AK (USA)
July, 17; Ketchikan, AK (USA)
July, 18; Ketchikan, AK (USA)
July, 19; Ketchikan, AK (USA) to Prince Rupert, BC (CAN)
July, 20; Prince Rupert, BC (CAN) to Quesnel, BC (CAN)
July, 21; Quesnel, BC (CAN) to North Bend, WA (USA)



Overnights:
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Camped: 7 nights
B&B: 6 nights
Ferry: 3 nights
Hotel: 6 nights



Misc:
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Our trip included six ferry rides (four with Alaska Marine Ferry and two with the Inter-Island Ferry Authority).
Total driving miles traveled: 3,500
Total diesel purchased (gallons): 350
Total fuel price: $1,575.00 (US)



Of Note:
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* Unexpectedly met some of the great people that I had worked with 23+ years ago.
* Made one unscheduled trip to the emergency room with our daughter.
* 50K miles on van and not a scratch. Then, van gets t-boned by a mule deer on last day of the trip.
* Technology FAIL.
* Amazing $$$ invested in AK road systems that have no apparent traffic.
* Exploring SE Alaska... this place might just be too good to share.
* Tim Hortons (Canada; fell in love with their coffee).
* We found the perfect house for sale. Can we brainstorm how to buy it, now?
* ... and much more.



Cheers,
TWOLOST + 1

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Old 07-24-2013, 12:00 AM   #2
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June, 30; North Bend, WA (US) to Quesnel, BC (CAN)


Date (day): June, 31 (Day 1)
Source: North Bend, WA (USA)
Destination: Quesnel, British Columbia (CAN)
Travel Miles: 500
Resources: Best Western Plus; Tower Inn


Daily Note(s):
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  • Pre-arranged as travel day only.[/*:m:1chhmhzu]
  • Border crossing from USA into CAN at Sumas only had a five minute wait.[/*:m:1chhmhzu]
  • Fraser River Canyon reached a high of 104 degrees (F).[/*:m:1chhmhzu]
  • Nice to have the vans air conditioner and Star Cool systems charged up and working properly once again. Was thrashing right up to the previous night until a mobile A/C guy (Freds Mobile Air Conditioning) properly discharged, dried, and fully recharged the system with 4lbs of R134a. Thanks Fred!! Evergreen Ford in Issaquah, WA failed to properly diagnose and address this issue the week before. I also failed to properly recharge the system with an off-the-shelf A/C recharge kit that I purchased from my local NAPA Auto Parts store.[/*:m:1chhmhzu]
  • Departed North Bend around 10:00am and reached our Quesnel destination at about 10:00pm.[/*:m:1chhmhzu]




Configuration as we left our driveway.

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Passing through tunnels while climbing the Fraser River Canyon (British Columbia, CAN)

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Old 07-24-2013, 12:11 AM   #3
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July, 01; Quesnel, BC (CAN) to Prince Rupert, BC (CAN)


Date (day): July, 01 (Day 2)
Source: Quesnel, British Columbia (CAN)
Destination: Prince Rupert, British Columbia (CAN)
Travel Miles: 520
Resources: Prince Rupert RV Campground

Daily Note(s):
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  • Another designated travel day.[/*:m:8tcjqm4r]
  • Sadly, the 500 mile section of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert is known as the Highway of Tears.[/*:m:8tcjqm4r]
  • Prince Rupert RV Campground was full and we had the smallest setup.[/*:m:8tcjqm4r]
  • There was a small play area in the campground that our daughter took full advantage of in order to burn off pent-up energy before bed.[/*:m:8tcjqm4r]



Intersection of Hwy 16 and Hwy 37; Kitwanga BC (CAN)

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Overnight Camping; Prince Rupert - while waiting for the ferry north.

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Old 07-24-2013, 12:22 AM   #4
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July, 02; Prince Rupert BC, (CAN) to Petersburg, AK (USA)


Date (day): July, 02 (Day 3)
Source: Prince Rupert, British Columbia (CAN)
Destination: Petersburg, Alaska (USA)
Travel Miles: N/A (involved ferry travel)
Resources: Petersburg, Alaska; Alaska Marine Highway System

Daily Note(s):
-------------------------------------------------
  • This was another designated travel day.[/*:m:1md7vzwv]
  • Went through US customs in Prince Rupert prior to boarding our ferry (Alaska Marine Ferry; MV Matanuska).[/*:m:1md7vzwv]
  • Boarded ferry; picked up key for our reserved stateroom.[/*:m:1md7vzwv]
  • Ferry underway by 9:00am.[/*:m:1md7vzwv]
  • The ferry felt very empty and we basically had the run of the boat to ourselves.[/*:m:1md7vzwv]
  • Stops in Ketchikan, AK and Wrangell, AK... before arrival in Petersburg, AK.[/*:m:1md7vzwv]
  • Arrived in Petersburg, AK around 9:30am local time on July, 03.[/*:m:1md7vzwv]


Loading.

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Loaded on the Alaska Marine Ferry (Matinuska)

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My two adventure buddies.

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Leaving Prince Rupert.

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Temporary stop in Ketchikan Alaska en-route to Petersburg, Alaska.

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Hanging out in the nearly empty solarium.

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Sunset lights the way.

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Old 07-24-2013, 12:38 AM   #5
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July, 03; Petersburg, AK (USA)


Date (day): July, 03 (Day 4)
Source: Petersburg, Alaska (USA)
Destination: Same
Travel Miles: N/A (less than 50 driving miles)
Resources: Sea Level Bed & Breakfast; Sandy Beach Park

Daily Note(s):
-------------------------------------------------
  • While off-loading the ferry, I recognized a person I had worked with 23+ years ago (in Petersburg), who was also traveling back to Petersburg. We had both worked in the shore based fishing industry together in the eighties and early nineties. Because of traffic, I had less than a minute to re-introduce myself and then get out of the way. As good fortune would have it - we would meet again a couple days later.[/*:m:2zeuhdik]
  • Before checking in at our B&B for the evening, I drove my family around the town and pointed out things that no longer existed or had changed significantly since I had last been back.[/*:m:2zeuhdik]
  • We spent a little time at Sandy Beach Park exploring the tide flat so that our daughter could expend some energy and engage her curiosity.[/*:m:2zeuhdik]
  • We also drove 'out the road' to Blind Slough and the Crystal Lake Fish Hatchery.[/*:m:2zeuhdik]
  • Ultimately, we checked-in at the Sea Level B&B (our home base for the next two nights).[/*:m:2zeuhdik]
  • Turns out that the owner of the B&B (Jean) had extended family that I also worked with so many years ago... some of which were still working there today.[/*:m:2zeuhdik]





Work boat (tender) in the Wrangell Narrows.

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Inside the observation deck; MV Matanuska.

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Proof we arrived; Petersburg Airport.

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Sandy Beach park.

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Exploring at Sandy Beach

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Stepping on something gooey, discovery

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Sea Level B&B; our overnight accommodations for the next two nights.

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Crystal Lake Fish Hatchery; Blind Slough.

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Old 07-24-2013, 12:47 AM   #6
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July, 04; Petersburg, AK (USA)


Date (day): July, 04 (Day 5)
Source: Petersburg, Alaska (USA)
Destination: Same
Travel Miles: N/A
Resources: Tongass National Forest; Outlook Park

Daily Note(s):
-------------------------------------------------
  • Jean cooked up a great breakfast and brought it down to our room.[/*:m:2mecgn4h]
  • After breakfast, we ventured the few blocks to the main part of town and enjoyed the towns 4th of July celebration.[/*:m:2mecgn4h]
  • After the parade, we jumped in the van and started to do a little FS road exploring (heading out Frederick Sound Drive/Frederick Drive and the associated spur roads).[/*:m:2mecgn4h]
  • Found at least one great remote/primitive camping spot with unobstructed views high above Frederick Sound (PM me for GPS coordinates).[/*:m:2mecgn4h]
  • Sitka Black Tail Deer and Porcupines were everywhere.[/*:m:2mecgn4h]
  • We also checked out a new (to me) observation point called Outlook Park just north of town. This park overlooks part of Frederick Sound and seems to be a very good place to look for marine birds, whales, ships, and ice bergs.[/*:m:2mecgn4h]
  • While at Outlook Park, I ran into another person I worked with so many years ago while she was out walking her dog.[/*:m:2mecgn4h]





Downtown Petersburg, AK.

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4th of July, parade

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Our daughter, the fisherman.

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Time to go exploring in the van.

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Porcupine (one of many).

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Outlook Park

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Beachcombing.

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Time for me to go to bed. More later...

Cheers,

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Old 07-24-2013, 04:48 AM   #7
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Re: TWOLOST: Southeast Alaska; July, 2013 - (in progress)

Subscribing. Love the TW, you have to tell us more about it. Excellent as always.
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Old 07-24-2013, 05:54 AM   #8
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Re: TWOLOST: Southeast Alaska; July, 2013 - (in progress)

Beautiful! Can't wait for the next installment.
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Old 07-24-2013, 07:28 AM   #9
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Re: TWOLOST: Southeast Alaska; July, 2013 - (in progress)

Great pictures. What is the box on the front of the van?
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Old 07-24-2013, 08:04 AM   #10
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Re: TWOLOST: Southeast Alaska; July, 2013 - (in progress)

WOW.......just WOW!
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