The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels

The Long Journey North Part Three – Haines, AK to Tok, AK – The Ice Road

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Here continues the story of moving up to Alaska.

Should you need to catch up, Part One is blogged Here – Part Two is blogged Here

The ferry traveled along the snowy mountain lined Inside Passage, through chill and biting air.  Driving out of the womb of the boat and onto an icy road was a wake up call.

Mosquito Lake. That sounds like a place I’d like to go.  :  )


Could Haines be in a more pretty a setting?


438 Miles to Tok from Haines.  But I knew it would be a slow drive.  Not interested in driving at night, and it being after 6 PM, I booked a room at a hotel and left the next AM.


The road out follows the Chilkat River and its accompanying AK Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve.  480,000 miles of river bottom land are set aside for protection. Eagles use all at some point of the year.  Miles 18-24 provide excellent viewing areas of the eagles feasting on spawned out salmon (they die after spawning)  in late fall and early winter.

It was a gorgeous stretch of road with the jagged Takhinsha mountains (with glaciers!) and the river rolling by.  Likewise, ice glazed the road and I, sans studded tires (next winter, oh yeah) creeped along surely pissing off the semis that passed me by.

Good thing the scenery was stunning.  I took my time drinking it in.

Passed through the Canadian Border Station.  Kept moving upwards to the Haines Hwy. Summit at 1070  meters  (3509   ft.)  Seems pithy compared to CO’s 14’ers but remember, these mtns. feet start at sea level just a short bit away.  White. Barren, snowy. Stark.  Glad the weather was cooperative. It would be a dangerous disaster up here in a blizzard.



Most of the Yukon Territory I drove through was open and treed with distant mountains.  Must be wet and swampy in the summer.





Stayed the night at the nastiest motel I’ve ever been to. But there was no other option. That’s the way it was out there.  Remote. On some stretches of road I noted a car’s passing every hour to hour and a half.   That’s also why I carried a full gas can, tow straps, and winter survival supplies along.  I also filled my tank at every gas station, never letting it lower than a half a tank.

The next day it was bitter cold.  Not having an engine block heater installed (I was relying on my newer vehicle and battery) I crossed my fingers when I put the key in.  She started but oh, the noises of protest!



The trees.

These trees could be in a Dr. Seuss story.  My housemate told me they are spruce and called them “test tube cleaning brushes.”  I agree. Apparently spruce are all over the place and their size and shape vary based on soil content, weather,etc. The poor soil keeps the trees small.


I loved ’em:


I made it to Tok.  No photos. It’s not that interesting anyhoo.  Averaged about 45 mph that leg.  Fellow ferry-goers headed to Fairbanks stayed pointed north (most moving for military jobs.)  I turned west towards Anchorage.

The sights would make my head spin.

More to come!

One thought on “The Long Journey North Part Three – Haines, AK to Tok, AK – The Ice Road

  1. Thought it was all pretty until I saw that -22 😉 Ha ha had enough of that cold stuff in the Dakota’s this year.

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