Have you noticed the huge crowds at national parks in the US and Canada? Have you noticed the absurd number of tour buses? We have. We purposely planned our trip back through Canada from Alaska to arrive at Jasper and Banff after Labor Day, thinking the crowds would be smaller and we could better enjoy the parks.
Was that the case? NOPE! As we arrived at Jasper we had no problem finding a parking place in town and had some hope that the crowds would be smaller. But when we went to Maligne Canyon we realized that were completely wrong. Crowds! Crowds! Crowds! Owen felt much like the Grinch and his yelling of “Noise, noise, noise…”.
But that was not the worst of it. We then headed out to Athabasca Falls, hoping to beat the crowds by arriving at 8:00am. When we parked there were very few cars in the parking lot an only 3 buses and 1 tour van. But by the time we made it to the first vista the tour buses started arriving… and kept arriving. To the point that it was impossible to really enjoy this beautiful spot. The crowds became unmanageable in a hurry and to make it worse those 100 folks dropped off by each tour bus were literally running to each vista, snapping a selfie and then running to the next spot, many times making us worry about being knocked down steps or over benches. By the time we called Uncle and returned to our van there were more than a dozen big tour buses parked in the parking area with another 8-10 lined up on the road to get in and dump their tourists into the crowds.
Our experience has been similar at many US National Parks as well, but Banff and Jasper in Canada have to be the worst for this fly in, take a tour bus to a national park kind of issue. Will it ever get better? We doubt it. Money talks and each of those 100s of tour buses pays money and taxes for the privilege to shuttle these millions of tourists to these pristine spots. But, we sure wish it was different some how. Maybe limits on the number of buses? Maybe limits on the number of bus tourists? Our experiences have taught us that money talks and nothing will be done other than maybe expanding the width of roads and creating additional parking for buses. That’s a shame really because we are not sure these natural wonders can live on with so many visitors coming. Granted we were one of those visitors and are just as guilty of wearing away at the trails as any of the tour bus tourists. And many will say the buses are better for the environment with less vehicles on the road. That may be true if every one of those that flew in to see these wonders still came… but they would not because that convenience of being shuttled to and from these places is the big draw.
So are we whining? A little. Sorry. We just couldn’t help visualizing the Grinch shaking his head at all these buses and yelling “CROWDS, CROWDS, CROWDS!”. We have always preferred the off the beaten path, less popular spots to enjoy nature and after our experience in Jasper and Banff we’ve decided that state parks and remote areas fit our lifestyle better than the stress of these over-crowded places. We’ll still go to those… but you can bet at least one of us will complain about it.
Goodbye Alaska… for now! Salmon Glacier Was The Icing On Our Alaska Adventure Cake! As we are heading back to the lower 48 we get one more magnificent glimpse at Alaska in Hyder. And Salmon Glacier turned out to be one of the most stunning, magnificent sites we’ve ever seen… even if we did see it through tears in our eyes!
As we continue our trek back to the lower 48 from our trip of a lifetime in Alaska we get to explore the beauty all along the Cassiar Highway. We think you’ll agree that we saved the best for last! Glaciers are something we haven’t really seen that much until our trip to Alaska. We’d heard from friends that Salmon Glacier was the most stunning to see from land and all we can say is WOW! Salmon Glacier was an experience we will never, ever, never forget. Top that off with the salmon at Bear Creek and getting to watch a big black bear standing up to eat leaves right in the town of Hyder. Hard to top that experience for sure!
BEAUTIFUL SCENERY AND WILDLIFE IN THIS ONE AS WE SHOW YOU ONE OF OUR FAVORITE BOONDOCKING SPOTS EVER
OK… we know we’re spoiled. Alaska has been the best and even though we’re traveling down the Cassiar Highway it’s easy to think the best is behind us. But it was not. It’s like every night something special happens as we travel along this awesome highway. So what did we experience this time:
✅ The most awesome boondocking spot right on a beautiful lake
✅ Beautiful mountains and fall colors around every turn
✅ A Black Bear and her 3 cubs (watch her nod her head at us like she’s saying “How ‘ya doing?”
✅ And…. Bear Glacier
As we end this leg of the journey we find ourselves in Stewart, BC. Thanks for being part of the journey… lots more to come for sure so keep coming back, OK?
There are lots of roads to travel on while visiting Alaska where the driving part of the trip is almost as impressive the destination itself. A few of these roads come to mind. First of all the Alaska Highway. We took this road all the way to Dawson City and it did not disappoint. In fact even though we saw a ton of wildlife while recently traveling down the Cassiar Stewart Highway, we saw many many times more wildlife while on the Alaska Highway. Why? Maybe because it was spring… who knows… but man we saw everything under the sun… all the bucket list wildlife you dream of when making this epic trip to Alaska.
Then there’s the Dalton Highway. We did that one too. Probably wouldn’t do it again but for a one time is enough trip I guess it’s a good one. The thing about the Dalton is it’s huge challenge it presents. Only a few gas stations. Total isolation and remoteness. And the road is just crap!!! Potholes would be one thing… there are millions of those… but couple that with the trucks passing every 10-15 minutes throwing rocks at your windshield (even though they don’t mean to). Then there’s the draw of making it past the Artic Circle all the way to the Artic Ocean. To be honest, it’s not as big a deal as it sounds like. Once you pass Adigun Pass it becomes what is known as the Northern Slope which is geography speak for flat, flat, flat barren land. So you see… one time was enough.
Then there’s the McCarthy Highway out to McCarthy. Awesome! It leads out to one of the most unique towns in Alaska and takes you across one of the highest, oldest, scariest bridges in the world. Even though it is a washboard infested road we’d do this one again for sure.
So the point of this BLOG? We had heard great things about the Stewart Cassiar Highway (better know as simply the Cassiar Highway)… so we knew it was going to be a memorable part of our journey. What we didn’t expect was the sheer beauty of this small one and one-half lane road that many travel to and from Alaska on. The views… WOW! The seclusion… yep! Awesome boondocking spots along the way too. And tons and tons of wildlife. In fact on one day of the trip we counted 10 black bears while driving! And this little road takes you to a few places that you can’t get to without it… the little town of Stewart, which provides a good resting spot for the real reason for the ride down this road… Hyder, Alaska and Salmon Glacier.
Want to see for yourself? You should you know! But until you can go and see this for yourself take a gander at what we saw in our latest video:
SO MUCH WILDLIFE! SO MUCH BEAUTY! SUCH GOOD FRIENDS! LOVING OUR TRAVATO VAN LIFE!
It was bound to happen. We had to point the Winnebago Travato van towards the lower 48 from Alaska. But little did we know that the journey/adventure home would be one of the best parts of this epic trip. Our first stop was Whitehorse, Yukon, a place we literally just spent the night in the Walmart parking lot on the way to Alaska but this time… this time we spent 4 nights there and loved every minute of it. Some of the highlights include:
🔴 4 nights of boondocking at Long Lake…WOW!
🔴 An EPIC hike at Miles Canyon!
🔴 Wildlife galore… including a coyote, many red fox and crazy river-crossing ducks
🔴 Fun days getting to know our now dear friends, Jim and Rhonda
🔴 A Top-10 meal at Klondike Salmon and Rib
🔴 Owen gets a haircut in the woods
🔴 And Maggie got to chase squirrels until she couldn’t do it anymore.
MAGGIE HAS ALWAYS LOVED FISHING BUT THIS IS A FIRST! SHE ACTUALLY CATCHES A HUGE SALMON IN A STREAM ON HER OWN. AND WE ENJOYED SKAGWAY ALASKA TOO!
If you’ve watched any of our videos fishing in Florida you’ve likely seen Maggie diving in the water after a fish that we caught. You see Maggie spent the first year of her life fending for herself on the banks of a river in our home town. It’s not hard to figure out that she found a way to actually catch fish in that river and maybe stole a few from stringers. When she adopted us she was literally starving but no longer. She loves eating fish, but this is the first time we’ve actually seen her catch a fish, any fish, but a huge salmon with her mouth in a stream.
And there’s lots more in this episode too. We spend quite a bit of time with our friends, Jim and Rhonda who also travel around in a Travato. We go for an awesome hike in Skagway and even take the ferry over from Haines to Skagway. After this little town we only have one more Alaska town left during this epic RV trip to Alaska so we make the most of it.
EVERY STORE WAS WIPED OUT! YOU HAVE A VAN OR RV THEN YOU KNOW… YOU HAVE TO USE RV OR MARINE TOILET PAPER. WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU NEED TO DO AND EVERY STORE IN TOWN IS OUT OF RV POOPER PAPER?
One of the things we learned being in Alaska is how remote the towns you visit really are. You learn that when you are at a bigger town that has more than just a general store you need to stock up, especially on staples like RV toilet paper. Every store we went to in Haines was wiped out… get it??? Wiped out. This episode shows off how beautiful the little harbor town of Haines is including hikes, eagles a search for grizzly bears and even singing around the campsite with new friends!
✅ Most of our footage is shot with DJI Osmo Pocket, iPhone X, iPhone 8 and Sony DSHX80 cameras
✅ Our Equipment:
Our RV: 2019 Winnebago Travato 59K
Our SUP: BOTE Rackham Aerobote and BOTE HD Aerobote
Our VLOGGING Cameras: DJI Osmo Pocket and SONY DSCHX80
Our Action Cameras: GoPro Hero 5 Black and GoPro Hero 5 Session
Our Editing Software: IOS iMovie and IOS LumaFusion
✅ About Us:
We are Owen and Lynn Poteat and Maggie. We travel the country in our Winnebago Travato 59K camper van and try to document what we see and experience at destinations we’ve always dreamed of going to. We love the water and our trips seem to always be centered around having fun on the water… either fishing or just paddling around enjoying the wildlife from our BOTE inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards.
We hope you will consider subscribing to our channel and more importantly share your adventures with us as we share ours with you. #BOTE #Travato #Travato59K #WinnebagoTravato #RetiredVanLife