The other day I asked Rich what his favourite trip that we’ve taken together thus far is and after a few minutes pondering his reply was: “Either our Canadian west coast road trip, or Alaska”. When I mentioned that with all the places we’ve been to, it’s interesting that his top two are Canada and America, he laughed and said “Yea, cause they’re both not in Europe”
Yesterday Rich returned the question to me, and after thinking about it I said probably Prague and Barcelona. Rich laughed at this and said: “Because they’re not North America?” So although our top two trips don’t match up in the slightest, it’s good to know that what we do have in common is a desire to travel away from our home continents!
Although Alaska was on our list of places we wanted to go to, it was pretty far down it and not a place we were planning on going to anytime soon. However, a school friend of mine was getting married to his Alaskan sweetheart, and we wanted to be there – so Alaska very quickly moved to the top of our list!
Logistically it was a bit of a trek for us to get there as we were coming from England, and we needed to go via Calgary to see family and friends and meet up with the rest of the gang heading up north. We ended up flying into Calgary, spending a few days there, going up to Alaska where we spent 5 days, and then flew back into Calgary for a couple days again before coming home.
Alaska is pretty big, and we by no means saw a lot of it, it what we did see what beautiful and we’d definitely like to go back one day and see more of it. The bride, Iris, is from a little town called Haines, just here on the map, which is pretty close to the Canadian border. As, I assume, a lot of Alaska does, Haines had a much more ‘Canadian’ feel to it, and I probably wouldn’t have known I was in the US except for the fact that we had to cross the border. Haines felt really relaxed, and everyone was super welcoming, especially as most of the town grew up with and knew Iris.
As there was a group of us from way back in high school going up, it made sense for us to travel and stay together. Six of us were able to take the same flight which got us to Whitehorse, Yukon, where we rented a car and drove the roughly 400 km into Haines. Being such a small town that’s somewhat off the beaten track, Haines doesn’t have much selection of hotels and b&bs, and so we ended up renting an entire house for the 6 of us to stay in. It ended up being ideal – 3 bedrooms, right close to town, and a massive back yard with a firepit where we were able to hang out.
Although we weren’t able to spent a lot of time in Alaska, we were able to cram a lot of things in. Most importantly was Doug and Iris’s wedding, and the whole reason we were able to go. It was a great day, and even though the weather wasn’t the greatest (it was
so rainy and so windy), there was so much love and joy that it didn’t even matter. They held their ceremony outside in the Haines fairground, which also was the movie set of White Fang! Instead of a sit down dinner, they had a potluck on the beach and had kegs set up of beer that is brewed in Haines. There was so much good food, a lot of great beer, and we danced well into the night before stumbling back to our beds. It is still one of our favourite weddings we have ever been too, and we’ve racked up a few in the years since!
Other then the wedding, we were also able to spend a day at the Kroschel Wildlife Centre, which is run by Steven Kroschel who is an independent film maker who takes in orphaned wildlife indigenous to Canada and Alaska. We were able to get on a tour and it was a really eye opening experience listening to how Steve works with these animals and advocates for their conservation and habitats. For more info on his films, work, and wildlife park, click here.
Something else we were able to do, which ended up being one of my favourite things, is a morning kayak trip where we got to see salmon spawning. It was very cool to watch them jump upstream, unfortunately, none of us were able to get a picture of it! Somethings are better left to memories though.
We couldn’t leave Alaska without also doing some hiking nor eating some fresh Alaskan crab. Fortunately, Haines didn’t disappoint on either front! We hiked out to a place called Seduction Point, and on the way back to the house stopped at a local crab shack and picked up freshly caught, humongous crabs to eat for dinner! They were so tasty, and the perfect ending to a fantastic trip. The next day we packed up, piled back into the van and started the drive across the border and back to Whitehorse to get our flight back to Calgary.