Ending My Trip In Style – The Yukon and Alaska

It felt a little strange to be heading back West – the complete opposite direction to home and covering a journey which had taken me 5 months to drive in just 7 hours on a plane. My 3 flights up to Whitehorse were well rewarded however – leaving the airport the Northern lights were right above us. Carly explained that I was very lucky because although Aurora activity is common, you aren’t always able to see them due to the clouds. The night was clear and the view only got better as it got darker throughout the night. IMG_2622 I managed to pick up a cold the day before leaving Halifax so that, combined with the journey and difference in time meant I was a little pathetic for the first few days of time up North. Actually the cold stayed with me the entire time I was there… but I like to think I put a brave face on it and soldiered on without complaint (which isn’t actually true) IMG_2597 With Carly as my guide we explored the local scenery (of which there is a lot!) with Cash the dog by our side. There are some really great hikes a short drive out of Whitehorse which give you stunning views of the area. The mountains were starting to collect snow again at their peaks – it’s that time of year again! IMG_5904 IMG_5984 Having someone from the area to show me around meant I really made the most out of my time there – which was nice after being a bit of a tourist for so long and not really knowing anything about anything. I enjoyed meeting Carly’s friends who were typical Canadians – very friendly and always up for doing things… my kind of people! It was also nice to have base and we managed to find time for lots of relaxing – which was very much needed after being on the road for so long. IMG_5936 IMG_5914 We visited the MacBride Museum in Whitehorse which has some fascinating exhibits about the local nature and also the first inhabitants who braved extreme conditions in the hope of making it rich from gold. IMG_2638 We visited a wildlife preserve just outside of Whitehorse which had lots of exciting animals to look at. We also saw some wild foxes really going at each other which was eventually broken up by a muskox who very slowly and deliberately wandered over. This was another time during my time in Canada where I have felt like a nature photographer. IMG_6019_t IMG_6014 When Carly suggested a quick trip to Alaska I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much in case we didn’t manage to pull it off. Luckily it turns out that going to Alaska isn’t thank much of a big deal for Yukoners and with minimal planning we were on our way to Skagway. The drive was beautiful and after a bit of a hike we were on a ferry towards Haines where we had booked a B&B for the night. IMG_6039 That evening we went out for some food at to a local bar which was an experience in itself. Although I am told Haines can get quite busy with tourists in the summer months we just missed the crowds. The locals in the bar were very interested in us and were quick to buy us drinks and ask us about ourselves – just because we were from out of town! I was also able to show off my newly acquired North American geography knowledge when asked to draw maps of where I had been and where I had come from. IMG_6056 You don’t have to go very far to get jaw dropping views in The Yukon and Alaska and this was a really great way to end my time in Canada, which has by far been the best time of my life. Having met so many great people and seen so many amazing things I can’t  help feel that my time here has changed me. When I left the UK 15 months earlier I had certain things that I wanted to do and certain things I wanted to achieve but I was worried about how things would turn out. I can honestly say that after arriving I did not look back for an instant and I don’t regret taking the plunge at all! While I am not sure when, I can definitely see myself moving to Canada for good one day. In the short term I am enjoying seeing my friends and family once again, but I don’t think it will be very long until I pack my things once again and hit the road. But where?