Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.

North to Alaska - Live!

by Kathy 4. August 2011 20:45

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<<Reaching the Arctic Circle | Hyder, Alaska >>


Heading South

There is a certain point in every trip where the mind swings toward going home, even though there are still many adventures yet to be shared. The Arctic Circle marked that point for us. It was our “turn-around spot”—the furthest north that we would go before starting our return journey.

The air had a tinge of sadness as we headed south. It took a while for me to shake the sense that we were no longer surging forward. It felt like the tide had rolled in, and now it was receding. I wanted to reach out and grasp the ocean, like a huge blanket, and tug it back to its high-water mark. But then I just had to let it go.

We retraced our path to Fairbanks and then continued southeast to the Canadian border. Here are some highlights of the next few days:


North Pole, Alaska

We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit Santa in North Pole, Alaska:

The small town of North Pole is located just 15 minutes south of Fairbanks. Its most famous attraction is Santa Claus House, built in 1952 by a couple named Con and Nellie Miller. Con was a local fur trader, and he had been dressing up as Santa and entertaining the local children for several years before he got the idea to create a shop where kids could visit Santa all year long.

Genevieve and Sebastian had both adamantly proclaimed in advance that they were not, and they repeated NOT, sitting on Santa’s lap. But a soothing voice called out to them inside the store—it was Santa! He was walking around in suspenders and regular clothes, with a real beard, and his deep voice sounded eerily just like the real deal. Before the kids knew what was happening, Santa had gently led them over to his chair, and provided them with hats and tinsel necklaces. Then, as if magnetically drawn there, both Genevieve and Sebastian scooched back onto Santa’s knees:

Surely Santa had a bit of magic!


Kluane Lake, Yukon, Canada

Heading toward the Canadian border, we spotted this magnificent bull moose munching water plants in a slough:

His head swiveled towards us, as if asking whether we were friend or foe:

He resumed eating, but kept an eye on us until we finally tore ourselves away.

After crossing into Canada, we spent a night by the shore of Kluane Lake, the largest lake in the Yukon Territory.

The water was like a mirror:

In the evening, a breeze rippled the surface of the lake. Sebastian and Genevieve tried their hand at fishing, but didn’t catch anything:

Before the 1900’s, the Southern Tutchone people had fished in this lake for countless years. They were a nomadic people, traveling to different places based upon the seasons.  Men from the U.S. and Canada transformed the Tutchone’s seasonal trails into roads in the early 1900’s during a short and non-productive gold rush. The mining roads were then used to create the Alaska Highway along the southern and western shores in 1942-43. The two towns on the western shore now have a neglected air and a combined population of less than 150 people.

We liked the quiet of the lake. To the south, dark clouds gathered between two snow-streaked peaks. As we watched, a rainbow appeared—a chunky brushstroke of color:


Boya Lake, British Columbia, Canada

From the Yukon Territory, we dropped down into British Columbia on a narrow, 2-lane road (the Cassiar Highway) that meandered south for 450 miles.

The first of our overnight stops along this road was at Boya Lake Provincial Park, which offered campsites among the trees next to a small lake.

The water was VERY COLD. But the temperature did not deter Sebastian—the only one of us brave enough to go for a swim:

Genevieve and I took a hike on the Boya Lake Shore Trail:

The views of the turquoise waters below the Shore Trail were lovely:

I didn’t take too many photos, however, because the mosquitoes swarmed all over my fingers as soon as I stopped to pull my hands and camera from my pockets. I think that this trail was the fastest mile that I’ve ever hiked!

At night, we roasted marshmallows, one of Sebastian’s favorite activities:

The sun was still in the sky when we went to bed, lighting up the trees across the lake as if they were on fire:


Catching Fish at Kluachon Lake

The next morning, we continued south along the Cassiar Highway:

The fishing at Kluachon Lake was reputed to be “excellent,” so we just had to stop. We could see the lake from our campground.

Ben and the kids hadn’t yet caught any fish on this trip, and they jumped at the chance to toss a few lines. A small trail led us about half a mile through the woods to reach a clearing by the lake:

Looking across:



I left shortly after the first fish was caught, as I have a difficult time watching something alive transform into something that is no longer breathing and thrashing about.

Two hours later, the kids were thrilled to present me with dinner:

And it was dee-licious!

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Comments (2) -

11/8/2012 3:22:36 AM #

james du feu

Great to read your Adventure, lovely Pictures. I live below Britain on a tiny Island called Jersey. Am hoping to buy some property close to Lake Kluachon, i wanted to know if it was any good for fishing, you answered my question ! Once again lovely journal, wishing you all the best, James

james du feu United Kingdom | Reply

11/8/2012 7:39:09 PM #

Kathy Hensley

Hi James,
I'm glad that we were able to help answer your fishing question! The Lake Kluachon area was beautiful, and I wish you the best of luck with purchasing some property there.  Thank you for taking the time to write such kind words to us--we really appreciate them.  
Warm regards, Kathy

Kathy Hensley United States | Reply

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Map of Our Journeys

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Our travel map

Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

   Bumthang Valley
   Gom Kora
   Paro Valley
   Punakha Dzong
   Sangdrup Jongkhar
   Wangdi Phrodrang

   Janko Marca
   La Paz
   Laguna Colorada
   Laguna Verde
   Salar de Coipasa
   Salar de Uyuni
   San Pablo
   Santa Rosa
   Sud Lipez
   World’s Most Dangerous Road

   Banff National Park
   Battle Hill Nat'l Hist. Site
   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
   Burns Lake Bike Park
   Canyon Sainte-Anne
   Dawson Creek
   Eastern Townships
   Fort Nelson
   Jasper National Park
   Kluane Lake, YK
   'Ksan Historical Village
   Lake Louise
   Liard Hot Springs
   Niagara Falls
   Quebec City
   Thousand Islands
   Vancouver Island
   Watson Lake

   Forbidden City
   Great Wall at Mutianyu
   Hong Kong
   Summer Palace
   Terracotta Warriors
   Tiananmen Square
   Yungang Caves

Costa Rica
   Arenal Volcano
   Finca Corsicana
   Hanging Bridges
   Manuel Antonio
   Poas Volcano
   Proyecto Asis
   Sky Trek Zip Lining
   Venado Caves


   Amazon Rainforest
   Chaquiñan Bicycle Trail
   La Mitad del Mundo
   Napo Wildlife Center
   Papallacta Hot Springs
   Proyecto DCR
   Yasuní National Park


   Baja California
   Frida Kahlo Museum
   Hierve el Agua
   Marietas Islands
   Mexico City
   Monte Alban
   Oaxaca City
   Puerto Angel
   Puerto Escondido
   Puerto Vallarta
   San Agustin
   San Martin Tilcajete
   Santa Fe de la Laguna
   Santa María el Tule
   Studio of Jacobo Angeles
   Teotitlán del Valle

   Dead Vlei
   Elondo Village
   Etosha Nat'l Park
   Hippo Pools Camp
   Hoba Meteorite
   Khowarib Camp
   Moose McGregor's Bakery
   Mowani Camp
   Ngepi Camp
   Nkasa Lupala
   n'Kwzi Camp
   River Dance Lodge
   Seisriem Camp
   Treesleeper Camp

   Cañón del Pato
   Cerro de Pasco
   La Oroya
   Machu Picchu
   Nuevo Jaén
   Tingo Maria
   Yungay Memorial


South Africa

   Rock of Gibraltar
   Santillana del Mar

United States National Parks
   Arches National Park, UT
   Badlands National Park, SD
   Bandelier National Monument, NM
   Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
   Cahokia Mounds (UNESCO site), IL
   Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
   Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Cape Hatteras National Shoreline, NC
   Capitol Reef National Park, UT
   Civil Rights Memorial, AL
   Death Valley National Park, CA
   Denali National Park, AK
   Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY
   El Morro National Monument, NM
   Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
   Glacier National Park, MT
   Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
   Grand Tetons National Park, WY
   Great Basin National Park, NV
   Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
   Joshua Tree National Park, CA
   Kaloko-Honokohau Nat'l Hist. Park, HI
   Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM
   King's Canyon National Park, CA
   Martin Luther King Jr. Nat'l Hist. Site, GA
   Mesa Verde National Park, CO
   Montezuma's Castle Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Monticello, VA
   Mount Rushmore National Memorial, SD
   Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
   Olympic National Park, WA
   Petrified Wood National Park, AZ
   Pinnacles National Monument, CA
   Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Nat'l Hist Pk, HI
   Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historic Site, HI
   San Antonio Missions Nat'l Hist. Park, TX
   Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ
   Walnut Canyon National Monument, AZ
   Washington Monument
   White Sands National Monument, NM
   Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK
   Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC
   Yellowstone National Park, WY
   Yosemite National Park, CA

United States, Cities and Places
   The Alamo, TX
   Alaska Wildlife Conservation Cntr.
   Alpine Loop in CO
   Anchorage, AK
   Antares Junction, AZ
   Arctic Circle, AK
   Barrel Oak Winery in VA
   Biloxi, MS
   Bottle Tree Farm in CA
   Calico Ghost Town, CA
   Canfield Mountain Trail System, ID
   Cape St. Vincent, NY
   Carson City, NV
   Carter Caves State Park in KY
   Chappie-Shasta OHV Area, CA
   Child's Glacier, AK
   Circle B Chuckwagon Show in SD
   City Museum in MO
   Cody, WY
   Corn Palace in SD
   Crazy Horse Memorial in SD
   Custer State Park, SD
   Dalton Highway, AK
   Dinosaur Tracks in AZ
   Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC
   Dry Falls (Sun Lakes-Dry Falls), WA
   Fairbanks, AK
   Front Royal, VA
   Gallup, NM
   Goffs, CA
   Grand Canyon Caves, AZ
   Grand Canyon Skywalk, AZ
   Grave Digger Monster Truck in NC
   Great Salt Lake, UT
   Hackberry General Store in AZ
   Hannibal, MO
   Hatteras Island, NC
   Hawaii (Big Island)
   Hickison Petroglyphs, NV
   Holbrook, AZ
   Hole in the Rock, UT
   Homer, AK
   Honey Island Swamp Tour in LA
   Hoover Dam, NV
   Hyder, AK
   Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. in AZ
   John’s Peak OHV Area, OR
   Kailua-Kona, HI
   Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in AZ
   Kennecott, AK
   Kennecott Copper Mine in UT
   Kingman, AZ
   Lake Havasu, AZ
   Lake Tahoe, NV
   Las Vegas, NV (winter 2010)
   Little Brown Church in IA
   London Bridge in AZ
   Loneliest Road in America, Hwy. 50, NV
   Los Angeles, CA
   Lost Colony Show on Roanoke Isl., NC
   Lowe’s Speedway in NC
   Mardi Gras World in LA
   Mark Twain Museum in MO
   Meteor Crater, AZ
   Million Dollar Highway, CO
   Minnesota Zoo
   Mitchell, SD
   Moab, UT
   Moab, UT (dirt biking)
   Montgomery, AL
   Montpelier, ID
   Navajo Nation, AZ
   Needles, CA
   Nevada Beach, NV
   Newberry Springs, CA
   New River Gorge, WV
   New Orleans, LA
   Niagara Falls 
   North Pole, AK
   Oatman, AZ
   Old Faithful Geyser in WY
   Omak Stampede, WA
   Painted Desert, AZ
   Park City, UT (summer)
   Plymouth, NC
   Portage Valley, AK
   Portland, OR
   Prospect OHV Trail System, OR
   Resaca, GA
   Riverside State Park, WA
   Rock City in TN
   Rosa Parks Library and Museum in AL
   Roswell, NM
   Russian River, AK
   Salt Lake City, UT
   San Antonio, TX
   San Diego, CA
   San Juan Islands, WA
   San Francisco, CA
   Santa Catalina Island, CA
   Seattle, WA
   Sedona, AZ
   Shoe Tree in CA
   Shoe Tree in NV
   Silverton, CO
   Sonora, TX
   St. Louis, MO
   St. Paul, MN
   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
   Twin Knobs Recreation Area in KY
   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
   Williamsburg, VA
   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.

Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin