2018 Kasilof RV Park Summer Blog

Kasilof RV Park 2018 Summer Blog

 

Welcome to a summary of our 11th Wonderful Summer at the Kasilof RV Park.

As in past years I have used some of our great animal summer visitors as speakers for the happenings at the Park and again this year I was going to use our ornery little Sammy Squirrel.

 HOWEVER, he immediately got into trouble opening up a bag on the picnic table, then dumping the peanut jar from the bag off the table on to the floor, opening the lid and then ate the remaining peanuts in the jar.

Kim Brooks just loves to leave cookie crumbs along the deck railing for him! We love her cookies too so we don’t complain too much.

2017/2018 was a cold winter at the Park and we had a lot of frozen pipes when we got back. Fortunately, we only had one broken line on campsite 16. (Note that John Brooks did all the work while I supervised! It’s sure nice to have help!)

We didn’t get all the lines thawed until the 5th of June, but did manage to get them open before other campers started showing up. Although we put anti-freeze in all the campsite lines, we finally determined that our old compressor was just not putting out enough air to fully blow out most of the water. We finally bought a new Husky compressor with a 20 gallon air tank. Hopefully we will not have that problem this fall!

This was another very poor year for Sockeye (red) fishing in the Kenai River.   In fact it was the worst salmon season on the Kenai in the 21 years that I have been fishing it.  We barely caught a third of the reds we normally catch for the summer.  Fish & Game managed to reach in their excuse bucket again and pick out the cause for the poor showing of reds.   It seems that the ‘Brown Blob’ occurred in the Gulf of Alaska.  A biologist for F&G suggested that the warming of the ocean in the Gulf of Alaska during 2014 might have killed much of the food that the young sockeye salmon need to survive and grow prior to coming back to the Cook Inlet in 2018.   Thus there was a very poor showing of Red salmon this year in the Kenai.   F&G reduced the daily limit of reds from 3 to 1 per person and then shut down red fishing in the Kenai on the 4th of August through the 24th of August.   At that time, they stated that a big run of red salmon had entered the Kenai and that they had reached the minimum required number to assure future Kenai red salmon so they raised the daily limit of reds to 3 again.   It was strange because all we could catch after August 24th were Pinks and Silvers!

Maybe they can’t tell the difference between Pinks and Reds?   

 

AND it was a banner year for fishing in the Kasilof River. ????   John Brooks caught his first King of the season in the Kasilof in early June and the Sockeye (Red) fishing was the best the Kasilof has ever had.

 

IS SOMETHING FISHY IN F&G LAND?  

 

Cody and Nelson came up in early June and Cody took a photo of Nelson and I fishing in for Reds in the Kasilof.   Nelson caught his first Red that day.  

 

It was the first Red of the season and large for Reds in June on the Kasilof.   

 

Nelson and Cody continued to fish on the Kasilof and had good success.  The Reds continued to be large for the first run on the Kasilof River.   

Of course they had to share their success with a beer in the Kenai River Brewery in Soldotna.

 

 

We had more fun with Nelson while they were here such as eating crab with the help of pair of scissors. 

“Come-on, Alaska crabs are not that tough!” 

 

Jan and I also gave him a lunch bucket that he could use when he becomes a Math teacher. The lunch bucket from the Kenai River Brewery had three beers in it.  We thought he might need those after teaching math to high school boys.

 

However, our family visitors never get away without doing something to help improve the Kasilof RV Park. We do that because eventually the Park is for their pleasure and future.  Nelson and Cody helped us by trimming up some of the overgrowth of trees around the north end of the park. The trees had grown under the electric lines to the point where they could cause a problem so the boys topped off the trees and hauled the limbs down over the back of the hill.

4th of July Celebration

 

The 4th is always a celebration for us at the Park and for the past two years we have had a potluck dinner for all our visitors in the Park.  Cody and Nelson stayed for the celebration and Cody cooked his special recipe for brats. Sister Sally and her husband Bob also came.

Most of the campers in the Park came plus our friends the Pierce’s who were former campers.

 

 

  

 

 

It was a fun afternoon and a nice 4th of July celebration.

 

 

MOOSE in the PARK

It’s always interesting to see moose in the park and the campers especially always enjoy seeing them, particularly the mothers and their babies. This year was no exception; however, for some reason the mothers were bringing them at dusk or after dark to eat the new tree leaves. We would find many large and small moose tracks in the mornings, but rarely see the moose during the day. 

The one exception this year was the momma, I call ‘Bear Scar’. I call her that because she has a scar on her left side along her ribs that ‘may’ have been made by a bear. We have another photo of her taken in 2010 that is hanging in our camper.   She has been coming into the park for eight years showing off her babies to us.

This year was no exception although she hadn’t had her baby yet. However, she did come into the park this year followed by last year’s young male (he has horn nubs). She was pregnant with another calf and wanted him to quit following her around before the baby was born. She chased him through the Park and along the front,  clear to the south end.  He finally he left. 

 Kim Brooks saw her walk through the Park later with a calf.   Then we saw her and the calf tracks several times later.

The hill behind the lodge where we have the DJS Folly pole was becoming over grown with bushes and weeds. It was a favorite spot for the moose to eat the young leaves and branches off the scrub bushes. During the summer, we cut down the bushes and weeds because it was becoming an eyesore. We wanted toplant grass on the hill.

A couple of weeks later ‘Bear Scar’ momma was standing on the cleaned hill looking at us on the porch like she was asking ‘what happened to all my food?’

 

Nephew Ryan Pyle arrived on the 8th of July and brought his daughter, Ainsley and his step daughter, Ella (she wouldn’t let us take a photo of her) for a visit with him.   He took them to all the fun places on the Peninsula, Homer and Seward. They had a great time and then flew back home to Kansas before fishing season started.

 

Each year Ryan treats us with a Pad Thai dinner.  Sally and Bob came out for the feast. Bob just loves Ryan’s Pad Thai so it is a yearly feast for us.

Cary had arrived the day before as a surprise because we hadn’t expected him to come up this year.

Debbie had just arrived with her cousin, Scott Farber so they got to enjoy the feast also.

 

 

 

Kim Brooks and Jan had gone to the local wood shop to learn how to carve wooden bowls from Burch tree wood blocks in June.

They had so much fun and the bowls turned out so well that Jan took  Debbie to learn how to turn a bowl also.

 

Kim and Jan had also made dishes out of grey clay with fiber. They made them in the shape of Rhubarb Leaves. Jan had made one for Debbie also. When Debbie came to fish, the three of them finished the dishes painting them to look like Rhubarb leaves with flowers laying on them.

 

SOCKEYE (Reds) FISHING TIME

The Reds had started coming into the river in the third week of July and Ryan, Cary and I had gone to the Kenai to see if they were coming up the river yet.  We each did catch two and then on Friday the group including Debbie and Scott went to the river and caught 11. Todd arrived on the 21st and we caught 10 Reds that day.

On Sunday, the weather was warm and the river was high and running fast.  It had been a warm, wet spring and the grass along the river was shoulder high as is shown by Debbie fishing in the rocks beyond the grass.

Scott had already caught his limit showing 3 fingers in the air as he worked his way back to the cleaning area with his fish where Debbie and Ryan were cleaning their limits.

Todd, Cary and I were also fishing on the Kenai and managed to catch 7 more Reds.   On Monday, the 23rd John and Cary each caught three on the Kenai. Debbie, Scott, Todd, Ryan, Jan and I flew over across the inlet to Crescent Lake on a Talon Air Tour and caught 3 Reds each. That was the best day of Red fishing with a total of 24 Reds caught.

 

 

TALON AIR TOUR TO CRESCENT LAKE & WOLVERINE CREEK

Debbie, Skip and Scott had taken the tour in 2016 and were so excited and happy about it that Jan, Todd and I took it again in 2017. We were also enthused about it so we wanted to go again this year. We added Ryan to the group and drove out to Mackey Lake for our flight over to Crescent Lake at the base of Mount Redoubt. The only problem with the trip was the weather.                IT RAINED ALL DAY! Other than the rain, it was a great trip with lots of bears, plenty of fish and lots of fun.

The trip over to the lake was in Talon’s 12 passenger and two dogs pontoon airplane. The dogs were the owners (the pilot’s) Brittany Spaniels that loved to fly and run on the lake bogs.  Of course Scott made up with them as soon as they entered the airplane and then they went to sleep.

They flew us across the Cook Inlet toward Mt. Redoubt, then up the river on the north side until we approached Crescent Lake.  We landed on the water and taxied up to a bog where the boats were stored.  The bogs around the lake are large patches of water plants and bushes that have grown so thick that they float on the surface of the water.  People can walk on them without falling through and the dogs had a ball running around on them. 

Talon guides had pulled their boats up onto the edge of the bogs and store their boats until the airplane lands.  Then they walk across to the boats and bring them over to the pontoons on the plane so they can load the passengers.  The boats are owned by Talon and provided to the guides to give touring and fishing assistance to each of the people onboard.  Each guide provides his own fishing gear for 4 guests and equipment and receives a part of the tour payment from Talon for each person.

In our case since there were six of us, they put Scott, Debbie, Todd and Ryan with a guide in one boat and Jan and I and two other young men with a guide in the other boat.  We were then taken across the lake to Wolverine Creek, a falls (very steep rapids) from Wolverine Lake which is fed by a glacier on the side of Mt. Redoubt. The lake is on the next level of land several hundred feet above Crescent Lake.

The Red salmon come out of Cook Inlet, swim up the river to Crescent Lake then rest at the base of Wolverine Creek before swimming up the falls to the lake to spawn.  There are usually several schools of Red salmon swimming around in the water resting before making the climb up to the next lake.  The abundance of salmon in the shallow water draw a lot of bears and a lot of people wanting to watch and photograph the bears as well to catch the salmon, us included.

There are generally a lot of boats in the small area at the base of the falls wanting to view the bears.  The guides have come up with a plan to help with the problem.  Each of the boats are in a line pointing at the falls for fishing and watching.  Each boat is allowed 30 minutes to catch their limits of Red salmon and watch the bears.  Then it is required to move off to other areas or to get in the back of the line to start again. There were two other boats in front of us and we were in the lead boat of the two from Talon Air.  The fishing had been slow as we approached and there had been no sign of bears.  Then as the boats in front of us started catching fish, the black bears started coming down to the falls.  

As we moved forward toward the falls, we began hooking Red salmon.  Then as the fishing really got busy with lots of splashing and fish being caught, a huge brown bear came out of the trees and crossed the rapids making its presence known. The black bears quickly moved out and other brown bears began to come down to the falls. In the mean time, we were all catching Reds and had several in the boat.

Every one in our boat had caught their limit of Red salmon except me.  The guide told me to hit a special spot in the water with my hook.  I did and hooked the final fish in our boat.  The guide noticed it was a nice large one and told us that we would use it as our lunch.

We rotated out of line and let our second boat come to the front.  Ryan immediately hooked another large Red and fought it to the boat. 

 

 

 

The brown bears were really getting excited and were out in the water looking for fish. 

 

 Scott caught the last fish for their boat and

 

as they moved out of the line another brown momma and her baby moved down to the big rock from up the hill.

 

 

  She moved 

 

along the shore with the young one (notice him peeking out by the tree) as we went along the shore in the boat to a bog where the guide could cook lunch.

 

The guide was really set up to cook for his guests.  He started by filleting the salmon leaving the skin on one side.  Then he set up his small grill with a pan for the two fillets.  He oiled the meat first and then used a little sea salt and sprinkled seasoning over the fillets.  He even had an umbrella to cover the grill while the fish was cooking. It was really raining.  When the salmon had cooked for about 10 minutes and was still very moist, he cut the fillets in bite sized pieces and gave a bite to each of us in the boat, then cut up the other fillet and gave the bites to each of our group in the boat parked beside us.

 

 

Of course they had to show off all the Red salmon that they had caught on their boat.  We had caught the same number of fish so we had to show our fish to them.

 

 

When lunch was done, our guide took us on a scenic boat tour of the area including another beautiful falls flowing down from the level above.  This falls did not have a lake above it so there were no Red salmon climbing it to spawn. 

By then it was time to head back to the airplane for the trip back to Mackey Lake.  On the trip back, the pilot flew over the very interesting Redoubt glacier.  Although it was still raining with heavy cloud cover we could still see all the deep ice crevices and huge area of ice and snow. 

Although the airplane trip is expensive, the combination of watching the bears and fishing for salmon plus the flight across the Cook Inlet was worth it and we will probably do it again.

 

The Red salmon fishing was pretty much done after our trip across the Inlet.  Although the group still tried to fish on the Kenai, most of the Red salmon had already swam up river to spawn in Skilak and Kenai lakes.   We were only catching one or two Reds a day.                (Jan, Debbie and Scott on Pierce’s dock)

Fish & Game reduced the limit to one per person per day due to the small number of Reds in the river. Then on the 4th of August they closed the Red fishing on the Kenai completely because they only had three quarters of the minimum number of Reds in the river to spawn for the future.

 

 

 

SILVER FISHING

The first run of Coho (Silvers) salmon also started coming up the Kenai in large numbers in late August.  In even years (such as 2018), huge numbers of Pink salmon also enter the Kenai.  This year a huge number of salmon entered the Kenai the third week of August.

On the 24th of August, Fish and Game declared that a huge number of Reds had entered the Kenai River, which allowed them to reach the minimum limit to replenish the Red salmon for the future (??).  Do to the (so called) large number of Reds in the river,  F&G increased the Red limit for fishermen in the Kenai back up to the normal three per day.   Unfortunately, there weren’t many Reds in the river.   It’s funny, but we caught only one Red after they increased the limit back to 3,  but we caught a LOT of Pinks and some Silvers.

Although the Red fishing was poor this year, we still had a great time and lots of fun fishing and working together.

Pink salmon are fun to catch! They will hit almost anything, even a bright silver bare hook and are really feisty fun to catch. Unfortunately, their meat tends to be rather soft and has less flavor than the Reds, so we much prefer to catch the Reds for food.

Coho (Silver) salmon are larger than Pinks and Reds and their meat is slightly more oily than Reds. Many people prefer Silvers to the Reds for food.

Sliver fishing is more like catfish fishing in a pond or river. You bait your hook with salmon eggs or a lure, throw your line with a sinker and bait into the river and sit there waiting for a fish to hit the bait.

 

A Visit from the Luthi Girls 

My first wife, Lindy was very close to her mother’s family, the Luthi’s from Lamont, Kansas. We would often go down to Lamont for Holidays, especially Thanksgiving and often Christmas while I was still in college. We kept up the visits whenever we could, even after we moved to California, Ohio and the East Coast. Beside Elva, Lindy’s mother, there were three Luthi sons with grandkids totaling 8 girls and three boys. The entire family was very close. And they continued to be close to me after Lindy’s passing.

 

 

Soon after Jan and I married and purchased the RV Park in Alaska some of the Luthi girls wanted to come to Alaska for a vacation. This summer they got their chance and we had a great time with them. (left to right from the top) Jill and Janette Luthi, sisters; (botom) Laurie Wilson and Allison Luthi.

 

Unfortunately, we were in a rainy spell in Alaska and they never did get to see the beautiful mountains across the Cook Inlet. However, we took them Homer for the day and a fun time on the Spit.The rain had stopped and the sky had cleared over Kachemak Bay and the Spit, the mountains and 

glaciers were visible from the hill above Homer.  

After a great seafood lunch at Captain Mike’s the girls had to visit all the stores on the Spit including a rest stop along the way and a few curiosities.

 

 

We all eventually gathered at the Salty Dog Saloon for a photo opt and a beer before heading back to the Park for the night.

 

 

Back at the Park we relaxed for the evening, had dinner and then played a game of Mexican Train.

 

 

The nest day was a trip to Seward where we spent most of the afternoon at the Sea Life Center. Again it was a really rainy day, which is not unusual for Seward.

But we toured the beautiful seaside town in the Van and stopped at the Seward Falls to take a photo of the girls holding the Madison Kansas newspaper (near where the Luthi family lives) that they found at the Seward Sea Life Center (small world)!

On the final day of their visit, we toured our local area with a trip to Soldotna. We had a waffle breakfast at Whistle Stop Hill in the Alaska Train Caboose (fun!, fun!) and then toured the Kenai River area before driving on down to Kenai and the Visitor’s Center there.

It is always great fun to have family and friends visit us in Alaska. Alaska is so beautiful even when it is rainy. The summers are cool, but not cold. The flowers and trees are spectacular in their color, growth and quantity. And the scenery is spectacular! We just love to show it off!

 

END OF SUMMER

 

As August was coming to a close, we had our last group come in to celebrate their parents Wedding Anniversary. Arlene and Galen Gordon (at the top of the photo) have been celebrating their anniversary at the park every year for the past six years. They live in Homer and love to fish for trout.  So each year they have been spending their anniversary at the Park and fishing for trout at Johnson Lake.   This year, their entire family came with them to celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversary.

And as every year, the end of the fishing season means canning time. Kim and Jan were filling the cans with salmon and heating them prior to putting on the lids.

 

John and I were in the back room sealing the cans with lids prior to cooking them in the pressure cooker. There were only 83 cans this year, less than half of our normal year.

 

 

Kim Brooks at the Kenai airport (AP).       

 

 

Sally, Bob, Jan (w/camera) & I at AP.

 

 

 

 

And, as always the end of the summer arrives and we have to wish all our great Alaska friends goodbye for another year. It was a rainy year and the fishing wasn’t great, but we had a lot of fun and

 

 

WE WILL BE BACK AGAIN NEXT YEAR!

Hope you come too!

Salmon Fishing

King (Chinook) Salmon

King salmon enter the Cook Inlet in late April as the water begins to warm.  The king fishery starts in the salt water out of Homer and continues up the Kenai Peninsula coastline in early May. They swim up the shore line and enter the Kasilof and Kenai rivers to spawn.  Fishing for Kings in the Kenai river is accomplished entirely by boat.  The size and strength of the fish preclude bank fishing.  There have been slot limits for the length of fish taken in the early run, but your guide will know all the regulations.  We know several of the better fishing guides on the Kenai and Kasilof rivers and can make arrangements with them for your fishing trip.  Peak times are always busy so let us know early in order to get a date.

We had a good day on the Kenai in late July 2006 when we caught two Kings (48 and 52 pounds), a Red, a Pink and two Silvers.  The four of us were fishing in our own small river boat without a guide.  It was very crowded- there were approximately fifty other boats in the lower river below Eagle Rock.  We were very lucky to land both Kings with all the boats around us.

Kenai Kings are generally large in the 40 to 80 pound range.  These two Kings weighed 48 and 55 pounds.  The one on the left took 45 minutes to land in the boat and we traveled almost three miles down river before it wore out.

 

The Kasilof river King salmon include both native and hatchery fish.  The first run of Kings in the Kasilof are usually under 30 pounds and can be fished from the bank.  Although sometimes landing a feisty 30 pound King from the bank can require a lengthy run down the bank trying to wear the fish out! In 2008, native Kings could only be kept on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday although hatchery Kings could be kept every day.
Also there was a two fish daily limit on the Kasilof.  Be sure to read the Fish & Game regulations this year.  The Kasilof river is restricted to drift boat fishing only due to the shallow water and many rocks. We will be glad to tell you the best places to fish on the Kasilof river and will contact guides to take you on a trip down the lower river in a drift boat to fish for Kings if you prefer.

Red (Sockeye) Salmon

In mid-June, the first run of Red salmon swim into the Kenai river and quickly head upstream to the confluence of the Russian river. There they will stop and stay in about a three mile stretch of the Kenai until some unknown signal happens telling them to swim up to the Russian lakes to spawn. This is really the first chance to catch the delicious Red salmon of the year and thousands of people from all over the world gather in this out of the way spot on the Kenai river to enjoy ‘COMBAT FISHING’.

This is the river ferry located on the north side of the river. Fishermen gather here to cross to the south side of the river where most of the salmon are laying in wait before swimming up the Russian river.

On the south side of the river, you will have to find a gap in the people fishing in order to catch the wild salmon.  You may be between an Oriental, a German, a Dane, a lower 48-er or another Alaskan.  Whoever is next to you, you can be sure that you will be hung up in their fishing line more than once.  Usually everyone is congenial and having a good time.

It is hard to catch your limit though as most of the fish either break your line or are released in the tangle with other people.  Add to this a few brown bear that think that this place is their fishing ground and they also enjoy what fish you catch.
This fishing frenzy usually lasts for about two weeks before the salmon get that signal that it’s time to swim up the Russian river to spawn.

Mid-July starts the second run of the Reds in the Kenai river.  The thrill of catching a 10+ pound Red salmon from the bank of a swift river is enough to get your heart pounding! The Reds are so strong that many a line and fishing pole have been broken by a fighting fish.

The season on Reds starts out with a limit of three fish a day, but normally when the minimum number of spawning fish up the river is reached, Fish & Game will raise the limit to six fish per day.  Be sure to read the regulations for the limits and locations where you can fish.  A beautiful large Red salmon is a thrill for any fisherman.

The Red salmon start entering the Kasilof river in late June.  Although they are not as large as the second run Kenai fish, they are still fun to catch especially in the swift, shallower water of the Kasilof.  Also the river is not as crowded as the Kenai and there you might also catch a large Rainbow, Cutthroat trout, a Dolly Varden or even a King.  Fishing for Reds on the Kasilof is much different than fishing on the Kenai as the fish are less concentrated at the edge of the river.

Down near the mouth of the Kasilof are primary locations for Alaskans to obtain their annual subsistence salmon both by hand netting and set netting. The Kenai mouth is also a hand netting location.  You can stand at the edge of Scout Park on the bluff in the city of Kenai and watch the locals netting the Reds on the beach below. 

The Silver salmon start entering the Kenai Peninsula rivers and creeks around the first of August.  These fish are usually caught with bait or lures and therefore are generally fished from a boat on the Kasilof and Kenai rivers.  The Silvers normally bite best it the very early morning or late evening as they are very sensitive to light.  The Silver Salmon Derby in Seward is a huge event with prizes amounting up to tens of thousands of dollars.  Generally fishing is done from boats in Resurrection Bay although at certain times the Silvers can be caught from the shore.
Catching my first red salmon was a thrill of a lifetime and hooked me on fishing in Alaska.  Fighting a 10 to 12 pounds salmon with a fly pole in a river that is running 12 knots is to me the ultimate in sport fishing.  Add to that enjoyment of eating a fresh wild native red salmon convinced me that the Kenai Peninsula was going to be my summer home.  It gives us great pleasure to provide our visitors with a beautiful place to stay while they are enjoying our great and wonderful state.

See more on the salmon prime fishing times and places.

Fishing on the Kasilof River
Kasilof King
Kenai Reds
Neal shows off his catch
A good catch of reds
Salmon fishing in the shallows

Combat Fishing
A great catch of reds on the rack
Fishing from the bank
Tom holds up his catch
Reeling one in from the bank
Cary with his catch

Our Drive – Alaska to the Lower 48

It’s the middle of September and this year’s salmon have all entered the river. Crooked Creek is full of red salmon fighting for a place to lay their eggs. The salmon eggs will hatch before the creek freezes and the young will head back down to the deep holes in the Kasilof River to spend the winter. They will stay in the river for a year then head out into Cook Inlet and the Pacific Ocean. In a few years, they will be back again to spawn in the same place they were born, their life cycle complete.

We began to close down the Kasilof RV Park for the winter. The kitchen screens are covered, time to take down the flags, put away the picnic tables and the flower pots for another year. We will turn off the water and blow out the lines. Fill them with RV antifreeze and lock up the buildings until the 2009 summer season. We are taking our 5th Wheel back down to the lower 48 states this year so we can use it during the winter. The birch trees are turning gold and are beautiful against the dark green of the spruce. We will take you on a tour of our trip back from Alaska.

Here is a good example of the colors and we can begin to see the terminal dust (new snow line) lowering from the top of the mountains. These small lakes (Tern Lakes) are at the crossroads of the Sterling Highway (1) which takes you down the Kenai Peninsula and the Seward Highway (3) which leads to the city and port of Seward. The lakes are nesting grounds for ducks and terns during the summer months. We turn onto Highway 3 and take the beautiful drive over the Kenai Mountains to Anchorage.

From Anchorage, we drive to the town of Palmer and then over the Chugash Mountains to Glen Allen and Tok. The Tazalina Glacier is a beautiful sight surrounded by the fall colors. Here again we see the terminal dust making it’s way down from the peaks of the Chugash mountains and soon this area will be covered with snow.

After Glen Allen, we travel just above the famous Copper River Basin to Tok and the Alaska/Canadian Highway (Alcan). It has become cloudy and we are getting a few drops of rain. The low clouds have almost covered Mt. Sandford off in the distance. This road which we snowbirds call the ‘Tok Cutoff’ is a shortcut to the Alcan Highway eliminating the long drive up the Parks Highway to Fairbanks to reach the Alcan.

As we head south of Tok on the Alcan, the sky off in the distance near the Canadian border begins to clear and promises a beautiful day for our trip through the Yukon. We pass by the US border without stopping and several miles on to the Canadian border entrance. The guard is friendly and has a few questions where we are going and if we are carrying guns, animals, liquor and cigarettes. Satisfied with our answers, we are on our way into the Yukon.

Further on we were rewarded with a beautiful view of Swan Lake nestled below the St. Elias Mountains. The Trumpeter Swans fly north to Alaska in the summer to their nesting grounds. In the fall, they again fly south with their young stopping along the way at their favorite lakes. There are several swans on the far side of the lake and can just be seen as tiny white specks.

On toward Watson Lake near the top of British Columbia (BC) where we will leave the Alcan Highway and travel the Cassiar Highway down the western side of BC to the Yellowhead Highway east of Prince Rupert. We had not traveled that route for some time as it was very poor in the past although the fall colors have always been spectacular. We were very pleasantly surprised as the road was in good shape this year and the fall colors were spectacular.

We stopped at Jade City 75 miles south of the Alcan Highway to see all the beautiful jewelry and sculptures made from the local Jade mines. We made arrangements with the owners to carry a few of the Jade items in our store at the Kasilof RV Park. Beyond Jade City, we reach the first stretch of gravel road. In the past, these 20 mile stretches have be almost impassable due to the constant travel by lumber trucks. This year the road had been recently graded and was excellent. We came over a hill and below us was Deese Lake and the town by the same name.

Below Deese Lake, the road continues to wind through the coastal mountains with the gold and green colors. The Cassiar Highway continues to live up to it’s spectacular fall scenery. The road is narrow and the traffic is light. Although not a fast route through BC, it certainly is one worthy of the time taken to drive it.

Further south lies Natadesleen Lake, a long narrow lake beside the Cassiar Highway. Below Iskut, a series of rivers run along side the highway almost all the way to Kitwanga where the Cassiar ends at Highway 16, known as the Yellowhead Highway.

We had decided to visit the beautiful National Parks of Canada, Jasper and Banff on our way back down to the lower 48 states. We traveled the Yellowhead highway across BC through Prince George into the Providence of Alberta and the town of Jasper. The beautiful scene greeted us at the entrance of Jasper National Park.

After a stop over at the beautiful ski village of Jasper, we traveled south on Highway 93, called the Icefield Parkway. The scenery was again spectacular with beautiful mountains, fall colors, a winding river along side and views of glaciers flowing out of the mountain ice-fields.
The parkway travels 135 miles of fabulous scenery between Jasper and Lake Louise. There are many glaciers flowing out of the Columbia Icefield.

 

We stopped at city of Lake Louise and pulled the 5th Wheel up the winding mountain road to the lake (large RV’s were not recommended although buses were traveling it). We were greeted by the huge Fairmont Resort Hotel at the edge of the lake.

The view from the hotel is the reason that Lake Louise is so popular. The glacier nestled in the V of the mountains feeds this beautiful lake. The lake is a dusty green caused by the suspended glacier flour (the finely ground rocks and minerals from the glacier). From Lake Louise, Highway 16 continues to Calgary, Alberta. There we picked up the Interstate 2 which will take us down to the Montana border of Interstate 15.

It was a beautiful and spectacular trip from Alaska to the lower 48 and we highly recommend it for a future trip for you.

Our Drive Up to Alaska

From Great Falls we drove up the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains to the border of Canada.  After answering the border guard’s questions we were on our way to Alaska!

We stayed the night on the outskirts of McLeod, Alberta. The next day was a long one, on the side roads west of the freeways past Calgary (we had decided to visit Banff and Jasper in the fall due to the snowy weather, see our Trip from Alaska) and on to Whitecort west of Edmonton.

The next afternoon, we reached the start of the Alaska/Canadian Highway (Alcan) in Dawson Creek, British Columbia.

North on the Alcan for 332 miles to reach the top of Steamboat Mountain, we had left the plains of Canada and entered the Canadian Rockies. Steamboat is the highest pass that we encountered and it was the first mountain that we climbed. The Canadian Rockies are not like the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The peaks aren’t as high and they are spread over a longer area. Once you pass over the first mountain, you are up high making your way through the mountains with beautiful, clear, sparkling streams, forests and lots of wild animals.

 

The first animals we encountered up high were the bighorn sheep.  It wasn’t long before we started seeing lots of Caribou. 

They looked pretty scrawny and rough with their winter coats shedding and their horns were just spikes. There were open areas along the road in many places where the new spring grass was growing and the Caribou were concentrating there.

One group of about ten decided to run down the middle of the road ahead of us. We of course just followed along with them waiting for them to move off the road. We probably saw thirty Caribou in different groups through a section of about 50 miles.

As we got down lower in elevation, the grass along the road became more plentiful and we began to see large numbers of buffalo. This is a wild herd that I would see every year when I used to drive to and from Alaska. They are free to roam the area although they seem to stay close to the highway where the grass is always plentiful.

We had seen several moose also on this part of the drive, but hadn’t been able to get photos of them. After a comment that we had seen everything but a bear, a few miles on we saw this black bear standing along the side of the road waiting for his photo opportunity.

 

Nestled in the mountains is this beautiful lake called Muncho Lake. It is a bright green from the copper and iron in the soil.

We filled with gas at a Lodge near the far end of the lake since we still had 177 miles to get to Watson Lake (the nearest town).

We stopped at Laird Hot springs. This is the lower hot spring that is much lower in temperature and used more often. The hot spring is in the lower foreground where the blue ripples are. There is a large number of people in the water at the other end—the further away from the hot spring, the cooler the water. The warmer (about 120 degrees) upper spring is more remote and less popular.
Watson Lake was our stop that evening. Don’t miss the visitor center and their film about the construction of the Alcan Highway.

The Sign Post Forest is in the center of town and was started by one of the American Servicemen building the highway in 1942. He made up a sign identifying his hometown in the lower 48 and hung it on a post in the town park. It caught on and other visitors added their signs to it. There are now over 54,000 signs in the park. Jan found a sign that says, ‘Jan Lake 4 km’ right in the front of the park sign at the end of the boardwalk.

 

Back on the road again, our next stop was across the Nisutlin River from the small village of Tinglit Indians called, ‘Teslin’. There is a neat little museum there that highlights the life of the local celebrity, George Johnson. He was Tinglit Indian that became a very well known photographer who used his proceeds to provide a taxi service for the town.

We left our camper outside of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, to make a side trip to Skagway. We took the White Pass & Yukon Route railroad. On the way one of the stops was at Emerald Lake. The minerals in the water cause the unique colors in the lake water.

White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad

 

Fraser, BC hosts the Canadian Customs and is the first train stop from Alaska.  The inside of the parlor cars had been restored to their vintage condition except the seats had been upgraded and the restrooms were modern. The train is used strictly for sightseeing now. It was fabulous trip and we highly recommend it to any traveling the Inside Passage or driving down from Whitehorse.

The train route from Skagway climbs 3,000 feet from sea level to the summit of White Pass in just 20 miles, a grade of almost 3.9 percent. Thirty-five thousand men constructed the roadbed and tracks starting in May 1889. During World War II, the railroad was instrumental in carrying supplies and men to build the Alaska/Canadian Highway.

The scenery was absolutely magnificent, with breathtaking views occurring over and over again.

 

Sawtooth Mountain was one of the more beautiful and interesting of the mountaintops seen from the train as we proceeded through the range to White Pass summit.

 

Further down the mountain, just beyond the Skagway river delta, we got our first view of the Skagway Harbor. Although they are hard to see in this small photo, there are three cruise ships in the harbor.

Skagway

As we got into Skagway, we were greeted by the Skagway tour bus. Started in the early 1900’s the buses have been renovated and are now again hauling tourists around Skagway to see the city sights.

The downtown area of Skagway has been restored to the era of the gold rush days and is a very popular cruise stop.

The brothels in Skagway had a Can-Can show every day for the gold rush miners. Prior to the shows, the girls would come out on the second floor porch or hang their mesh hose covered leg out the window to attract the men on the street. Now the Eagles Club recreates those shows four times a day with a story about the notorious Soapy Smith who ran a bar/gambling hall/brothel with the intent of scamming the miners.

 

We also enjoyed the old gold rush cemetery outside of town which has a monument to the Hero of Skagway, Frank Reid. Seems like he and the notorious hoodlum Soapy Smith got into a gun fight over Smith stealing a miner’s gold. Reid killed Smith with a shot through the heart but was fatally wounded himself, dying a few days later.

We left Skagway that afternoon, after a very special trip, back to our campground where the truck and camper were parked.

Dawson City

Leaving Whitehorse we traveled off the Alcan to visit the Klondike gold fields in Dawson City. The Yukon River was very pretty as it meandered through the valley. As we proceeded up toward Dawson City, the river increased in size and the road moved away from the river. Soon we began to see smaller spruce trees and more alpine type vegetation. It didn’t seem that the area was getting that much colder, but we were obviously traveling north toward the Arctic Circle. We arrived in Dawson City in mid-afternoon and stayed in the RV Park right in the town.

 

Dawson City has also been restored to the gold rush days, like the Palace Grand Theatre, a restoration of the original Opera house.

Almost all the buildings on Main Street have been beautifully restored. Many of them hadn’t opened for the summer yet when we were there or were closed for the day by the time we were walking around that evening.

The sign to the left of these two buildings indicated that it was typical of what happened in northern climates where the ground freezes and thaws every year. If the buildings don’t have adequate foundations to a depth below the freeze line, they will eventually lean or sink. (Try as I might I couldn’t straighten them back up).

Top of World Highway

The next morning we were first in line to take the free ferry across the Yukon River to the start of the Top of the World Highway. The river was high and running swift.

 

It didn’t take to long to reach the Top of the World Hiway and from up there, I could have sworn that we were in fact there. The road climbed right up to the tops of the mountains and ran along to the tops. The road was in pretty good shape with some broken spots. The snow had mostly melted although there were banks along the road occasionally.

Looking back down into the Yukon valley below you could realize how high we had climbed and in fact, this road was at the top of the local world. There were no guardrails on the side of the road and the shoulders were very narrow. There were some places along the road where it wasn’t wide enough for two vehicles to pass. Fortunately by leaving early there was very little traffic on the road.  It was an interesting drive with beautiful scenery and we were glad we did it.

On to Alaska

We reached the Alaskan border, a very lonely outpost for the custom officers and families that lived there. The closest town, Dawson City is 65 miles away on the Canadian side although you have to travel the Top of the World Highway or you could drive 122 miles to Tok on the American side. However, the roads on the American side were mostly gravel and had not been well maintained.

We then proceeded to Chicken, The story of how chicken got it’s name is pretty funny. The townspeople decided that they would name it after a local game bird called a Ptarmigan. Unfortunately none of them knew how to spell it… so they ended up calling it ‘Chicken.’ (One of our favorite books ‘Tisha, about a school teacher going to teach in Alaska, is set in Chicken- we highly recommend it!)

The people of Chicken are still having fun with their name. The four stall outhouse erected away and down wind of the business district is called ‘Chicken Poop’. There are other buildings in the area that are also decorated with chicks and chickens, but not quite as funny.

On our way out of Chicken, we had to stop in the Post Office where they postmark the cards and add chicken tracks. The Post Office was a neat small log cabin that serviced the local area.

After the trip to Dawson City and Chicken, we came back to the Alcan Highway just 12 miles east of Tok at Tetlin Junction. From there over to Glen Allen was another rough ride with lots of patchy roads. From Glen Allen the next day, it was a short drive to Anchorage and down to the Kenai Penninsula.

We so enjoyed our journey from the lower 48 through Canada and on to Alaska. Our side trips made it truly extraordinary. We hope you have found some inspiration for your own trip here. 
 
 

 

Fishing & Clamming

landing 40 lb. King SalmonThe Kenai Peninsula is considered one of the premier salmon fishing sites of the world.  It boasts two major salmon rivers. One of which, the Kenai, holds the world record for the largest King Salmon (98 pounds) rod caught by a fisherman. It has two runs of the delicious Sockeye (Red) salmon, a Coho (Silver) salmon run and in even years millions of pink salmon. Then there is the Kasilof River with it’s early runs of Kings, both natural and hatchery, followed by a growing Sockeye (Red) salmon run and a big Coho (Silver) salmon run. In addition, King salmon can be caught on Deep Creek, Ninilichik Creek and Anchor River on Memorial weekend and the following two weekends, then Coho (Silver) salmon in the fall.

Early May also starts the entrance of Kings into the Kenai River and the guide boats fill the lower river. Combat fishing at the Russian River starts around the end of June bringing in fishermen and women from all over the world for the annual event (more detail in the fishing section). 

The middle of July brings the second run of Reds into the Kenai with the big males up to 12 pounds.  For two weeks, the river is full of reds and the banks are lined with fishermen.

Starting the 1st of August the Coho (silver) salmon enter all the rivers and creeks on the peninsula and the annual Silver Salmon derby starts in Seward.  Is it any wonder that the Kenai Peninsula is considered: ‘THE SALMON FISHING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD’

A large halibut from the Cook InletThe Kenai Peninsula also boasts the ‘HALIBUT FISHING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD’ in Homer, Alaska.   The Cook Inlet is salt water and provides easy access to some of the largest Halibut in the world.  Guides with large boats can take fishermen and women on daily trips to the fishing grounds from Ninilichik to Homer.  Some guides offer both Halibut and King salmon fishing on the same trip.

ClammingThe beaches of the Cook Inlet also offer the fun of digging for the famous and delicious Alaskan Razor Clams.  The beaches at Coho, Ninilichik, Deep Creek, Clam Gulch and Whiskey Creek are always crowded at the low tides with people digging for the elusive clams.  Come and enjoy the fun and then having the pleasure of eating the fresh clam strips, clam fritters and delicious chowder.

Rafting on Johnson LakeAnd don’t let us forget the fun for the entire family of fishing for Rainbow trout in Johnson Lake.  Each year the Alaska Fish and Game stock Johnson Lake with Rainbows.  They are a delight to catch and good to eat.

IT IS EASY TO SEE WHY SUMMERS IN ALASKA ARE A FISHERMAN’S PARADISE

 

Wildflowers Abound

MH

Wildflowers and berries in Alaska are truly beautiful and everywhere. Twenty hours of sunlight during the summer and the natural cool, moist summers make the state a wildflower paradise. The park setting of Kasilof RV Park allows one to truly enjoy the serenity and the natural beauty of the wildflowers and wildlife that are plentiful in the park. In addition, the park is surrounded by a natural area where wildflowers and plants flourish and an undeveloped forest area at the back of the park overlooking Crooked Creek.

MH

Across the road is Johnson Lake which supports a large water lily bed plus a bog area with unusual flowering plants. Following are photos of the flowers and berries that we have found in the park and the surrounding areas. Many of the following flower photos are from Mary Hopson’s ‘Alaskan Wildflowers‘ which features many wonderful photos of Alaskan wildflowers.

MH

The park has natural areas between each of the RV sites. These natural areas abound with a large variety of flowering plants and berries. The ground is covered with the small green leaves of the low bush cranberries which bloom in the spring and have bright red fruit in the fall.

 

In addition, there are areas where dwarf Dogwood blooms in the spring and then has inedible berries in the fall. These plants provide a cover for the very fertile soil that is made up of peat and other humus.

A large variety of other plants make up the natural areas between the RV sites. Wild Daisies are very prolific and last most of the summer. Buttercups and sweet clover usually bloom earlier in the summer.

 

MH

Purple Lupin also blooms early in the summer followed by Dutch Iris. It is common for the natural areas to support the ground cover of Dogwood and Cranberries and then have other flowers coming up through them and blooming above them.

 

MH

In the early spring, large clumps of green start rising out of the natural areas and by mid-June the long stems are covered with ‘Bluebells’ and ‘Wild Geraniums’. Although each have a short blooming period, the plants continue to provide a green cover.

 

MH
MH

Mid-summer finds the Larkspur (Delphinium) bloom on tall stocks around the Lodge building both in pink and purple. Then peaks out the beautiful Chocolate Lilies hidden among the huge ferns at the back of the Lodge. 

High-bush Cranberries are also prolific in the park in all of the natural areas and along the front. They bloom through the summer and produce fruit which ripens usually in the fall when the leaves begin to turn a bright red. There are other edible berries also in the park including red Raspberries, black Currants, wild Strawberries, Elder berries, Watermelon berries and the low-bush Cranberries.

MH

And we shouldn’t forget about our state flower, the ‘Forget-me-not’. These beautiful blue flowers cover large areas of the natural areas in the park.

MH

 

We have a large number of wild rose bushes in the park, most the pinkish red. However, we have found several wild white roses. These bushes flower most of July and into August followed by a multitude of rose hips. In August and September, the Goldenrod add color to the beginning change in the temperature.

And we should never forget what I consider flowers that truly define Alaska, ‘Fireweed’. The new shoots start appearing as the snow melts and the surface ground thaws. The locals called these shoots, ‘Alaska Asparagus’. The stem grows during the spring and then in early July pods begin to appear at the top of the stem and continue to appear as the stem grows sometimes up to three feet. In mid-July, the pods begin to open revealing the bright reddish strands of blooms. 

In some areas, the ‘Fireweed’ covers large areas of the open ground. Here the sun make the plants grow taller and the color is more intense. Indian lore says, ‘When the flowers reach the end of the stem, snow falls in six weeks’. I don’t know if that is true, but I do know that when the blooms reach the end of the stem, the pods open to release the seeds to the wind. The seeds are similar to seeds from the ‘Dandelion’ with feather like tops that carrying the seed on the wind. I have to admit that sometimes it appears that it is snowing. 

And finally although this does not include all of the flowering plants that surround the area of the Kasilof RV Park, each summer we have a somewhat rare plant that we enjoy seeing and showing to all that are here. Northern Yarrow is very common across Alaska, but it is unusual for the flowers to be pink. The soil conditions have to be just right for this phenomena to occur. You will just have to come and see it for yourself. Please do!

MH photos by Mary Hopson

Alaska Cotton Grass-Mary Hopson
Monkshood-Mary Hopson
Pushki-Mary Hopson
Trailing Raspberry-Mary Hopson
Prolific Daisies
 Wild Iris-Mary Hopson
Wild Geranium
Mary Hopson Geranium
Orange Hawkweed – Mary Hopson
Kinnikinnick-Mary Hopson
Yellow Anemone-Mary Hopson
Watermellon Berry Flowers (MH)
Watermelon Berries-Mary Hopson
Sitka Burnet-Mary Hopson
Alaska Fireweed
Wild Mustard-Mary Hopson
NorthernBlackCurrant (MH)

Bird Watching

Eagle *

Kasilof RV Park is a haven for Alaskan birds.  The trees in the park, the lake across the road, and the forest behind the campground all provide a bird friendly habitat for a large variety of birds and waterfowl. Whether it is an Eagle flying over head, a Ptarmigan foraging in the grass with it’s chicks, or a Orange Crowned Warbler flitting from branch to branch in a alder tree, the park is a great place for bird watching. Over twenty species have been spotted to date.

Yellow Rumped Warbler*

The small birds are lively all summer long with the Chickadees, Finch, Thrush and bright Warblers flitting through branches of the cottonwoods, alders and willows.  The Owls are busy catching the small furry creatures in the natural areas between the campsites and along the road. 

Blackbilled Magpie*

There are Eagles flying overhead occasionally, Ravens sitting in the treetops mimicking other birds, and Gray Jays and Blackbilled Magpies flying from tree to tree in the park.

 
Common Loon*

Johnson Lake across Crooked Creek road from the RV park is summer home to a large number of waterfowl.  All of the summer residents of the Park enjoy the birds on the lake and particularly the Common Loons with their beautiful calls in the early morning and evening. 

Trumpeter  and Tundra Swans often spend the late summer in the lake on their way south although occasionally a pair will raise young. 
 

Common Merganser*

The lake has a large variety of ducks. Teal and Mallard ducks plus Grebes and Goldeneyes share the lake for the summer.  Canadian and Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes arrive in the fall from their nesting grounds up in the tundra of northern Alaska.

Eagles with young on Kachemak*

Not far from the park is the Cook Inlet with it’s variety of sea birds.  Eagle pairs and their young spend time on the beaches of Kachemak Bay in Homer.

 

Arctic Tern in flight*

On the other side of the Kenai Peninsula out of Seward are major rookeries for all types of seabirds.  The Kenai Fjords National Park is home to both horned and tufted puffins, Kittiwakes, Cormorants, Arctic Terns and a large variety of Gulls.  The cruise boats that tour the Kenai Fjords National Park spend time touring all the sea birds rookeries as well as the sea animals and the many glaciers that flow out of the Harding Icefield in the Kenai Mountains.


Mergansers with large broods are a common sight on Johnson Lake

Images with an astreisk (*) courtesy of the US Fish and Wildlife Alaska Image Library. We thank those photographers that provided their photos to the library for our use.

Orange Crowned Warbler*
Downy Woodpecker*
Red-necked Grebes*
Willow Ptarmagin*
Mallard Drake*
Fox Sparrow*
Belted Kingfisher*
Closeup of a Sandhill Crane*

Local Wildlife

There is an abundance of wildlife around the Kasilof RV Park largely due to the park-like setting with natural areas between the campsites, the forested area behind the park, Johnson Lake across the road and it’s secluded location away from large populations. Moose are the most often visitors. Around the park and on the local roads, adult moose are regularly seen.

There is a female moose that shares her usual twin calves with the park visitors and they have been seen to grow from new born to large calves over the season.

This momma moose brought her calf in to learn how tasty the willow bushes are, and he is affectionately named after KRVP moose mascot Spike.

 

*

Although not often seen in the park, there are several small herds of Caribou on the Kenai Peninsula.

*
They can be seen occasionally along the roadsides, in the meadows and open areas especially in the spring and early summer.

 

*

They generally spend the summer months in the cooler ranges of the Kenai Mountains.

*

Bears are plentiful in Alaska. If you are interested in bear watching, we can make arrangements for you to visit Katmai National Park across from Homer.

 

*

Fortunately, the Kasilof RV Park is not bothered by them as long at no one leaves trash and food around for them. We are very careful about removing the trash each day from the park to avoid the problem.  You can help by making sure that your trash is placed in the containers at the Lodge by five each day.

*

Driving down to the Kenai Peninsula, Dall Sheep are often viewed in the cliffs along the road.  And occasionally they will even come down on the road to eat the salt off the highway.

Be very careful driving through the cliff section of the Turnagain Arm south of Anchorage as sometimes there are sheep and tourists on the highway.

 

*

The Kenai Peninsula also boasts one of the premier sea life viewing areas of Alaska.  Many species of sea life and sea birds are seen from the daily cruise boats leaving Seward and touring the glaciers and fertile waters of Resurrection Bay and the Kenai Fjords National Park.  Often several species of whales are seen including Orca (Killer Whales), Sperm, Minke, Humpback and rarely Beluga.

*

There are otters, sea lions, seals in the waters and occasionally black and brown bears, mountain goats and sheep on the shoreline cliffs.

 

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Add the beauty of the area and close-up views of many glaciers and the boat tours become a must see on your trip to Alaska.  The Park can book trips for you with several different cruise companies and will be happy to explain the differences.

These are but a few of the wide variety of wildlife in Alaska.  Herds of wild buffalo, musk ox and caribou exist in large numbers in the vast plains of the north and east.  Elk and deer are plentiful in the Southeast.  Mountain goats and sheep are plentiful in the many different Alaskan mountain ranges.

*

And lest we forget our little furry friends, the Spruce Squirrel (we call Boomers) the ermine, marmots, lemmings, ground squirrels and the not so friendly Wolverine and Lynx. 
One nice thing!  There are no reptiles in Alaska except for a very small spring frog.  NO SNAKES!
Images with an astreisk (*) courtesy of the US Fish and Wildlife Alaska Image Library

Two Bull Moose*
Spike Welcomes You!
Adult Moose kneels to eat grass
Caribou along the roadside
Brown bears are seen on the rivers during the salmon season
Cubs fishing from a log
Brown bear cubs play in the river*
Brown bear fishes in local river*
Orca (Killer Whale) spouts
Sealions lounge on rocks
Otters feed in the rich waters*
Orca pod seen from the boat
Sheep on the road
A mother moose leads her calf

Getting Here to Alaska

Getting Here

If you have been wanting to see what Alaska is all about, now may be the time to do it.  The Alaska-Canadian Highway is now paved all the way to Fairbanks and generally the roads are clear by the first of May.  Fuel prices are generally somewhat higher in Canada than in the US and they sell their fuel by the liter instead of the gallon.  So if you are paying one dollar Canadian per liter, that is equal to $3.79 per gallon (liter price x 3.7854 = price per gallon). The interchange rate between the US and Canadian dollar has been fairly equal for the past couple of years.  You will need US passports to cross into Canada and back into the US.

 

There are three main routes that are used to make the trip to Alaska: the Far-eastern route through North Dakota, the Eastern route through Montana and the Western route through Seattle.  An absolute must in making the trip is a new copy of the Milepost Magazine.

This magazine will provide a detailed description of the eastern and western routes to the Alaska-Canadian Highway (Alcan) and roadside details of everything along the Alcan Highway. It also has very good maps of all the highways in western Canada and all of Alaska.

FAR-EASTERN ROUTE:

This route is often used by those coming from the east coast as it angles from the border of North Dakota via the North Portal border crossing to Regina, Saskatchewan, to Saskatoon, then northwesterly on Highway 16 to  Edmonton, Alberta. Then Highway 43 takes you northwest to British Columbia where it starts the Alcan Highway at Dawson Creek.  You can follow the Alcan all the way to Tok, Alaska where you will take the Glen Allen cutoff to Anchorage (Highway 1).  From Anchorage take the Seward Highway (Highway 9) to the Sterling Highway (1) which will take you to Soldotna, Alaska. The Kasilof RV Park is located 15 miles south of Soldotna.

EASTERN ROUTE:

This route enters Canada via Interstate 15 north of Great Falls, Montana. In Canada the Interstate becomes 4 which passes through Calgary, Alberta and then to Edmonton, Alberta. (A beautiful side trip from Calgary can be taken through Banff and Jasper National Parks then Highway 40 to Grande Prairie, Alberta on Highway 43) Then Highway 43 takes you northwest to British Columbia where it starts the Alcan Highway at Dawson Creek.  You can follow the Alcan all the way to Tok, Alaska where you will take the Glen Allen cutoff to Anchorage (Highway 1).  From Anchorage take the Seward Highway (Highway 9) to the Sterling Highway (1) which will take you to Soldotna, Alaska. The Kasilof RV Park is located 15 miles south of Soldotna.

WESTERN ROUTE:

From Seattle, Washington take Interstate 5 to Bellingham, Washington where you follow the roads over to Sumas, Washington and the Canadian Border crossing there.  At Abbotsford, British Columbia (BC) take Highway 1 to Hope, BC and north to Cache Creek, BC through the beautiful Frazier River valley.  At Cache Creek continue north on Highway 97 through Prince George to Chetwynd, BC.  Here you can either take the beautiful winding short cut through Hudson Hope to the Alcan Highway north of Fort John, BC or continue on 97 to Dawson Creek.  You can follow the Alcan all the way to Tok, Alaska where you will take the Glen Allen cutoff to Anchorage (Highway 1).  From Anchorage take the Seward Highway (Highway 9) to the Sterling Highway (1) which will take you to Soldotna, Alaska. The Kasilof RV Park is located 15 miles south of Soldotna.

Whatever route you decide to take to Alaska, you will truly enjoy the beautiful scenery of northern Canada and the magnificent scenery of Alaska.  The roads are good and there are plenty of places to stay along the way.  Don’t forget to get a copy of the Milepost.  It will make your trip much more pleasant.  We hope to see you sometime this summer.

The Sign Post Forest
Muncho Lake
Big Horn sheep along the road
Lower Cassier Hiway
Jasper
 Top of the World Hiway
Icefield Park
Matanuska Fall
Tern Lake

Meet the Owners

Jon and Jan Pyle were sweethearts through the 4th Grade of school in Hoxie, Kansas. In 1949, Jon and his parents moved to a farm in eastern Kansas and for 58 years, Jon and Jan were separated. In 2007, they were reunited via the internet and several visits to each other. They were married November 23, 2007 in Copper Mountain, Colorado with all their children and grandchildren attending.

Jan stayed in Hoxie and married her High School sweetheart. They had a dairy farm for several years and then started a Title business in Colby, Kansas. During this time, Jan had three children, two girls and a boy. They lived in Lawrence, Kansas and Castle Rock, Colorado, before moving to Apache Junction, Arizona where Jan managed an RV park. Her husband, Kyle died of Leukemia in 2003. They have 10 grandchildren.Jon moved to a farm near Emporia, Kansas. He married Lindy and graduated college at Emporia State. They moved to California after graduation and had three children, two boys and a girl. Jon worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as an aeronautical engineer and program manager. They moved for NASA to Ohio, Virginia and finally Washington, DC and he retired in 1993. Lindy had developed Multiple Sceloris and was no longer able to get around. They purchased an RV and traveled the US visiting their children and two grandchildren. In their travels, they made it to Alaska for the first time in 1993. Except for two years when Lindy was hospitalized, they made the trip to Alaska for the summer until 2005 when she passed away.

Jon has driven the Alaska-Canadian highways twenty times over the past fourteen years and knows all the routes to make your trip easier. Most importantly, he knows all the sights to see and when to see them. To see an example of their trip to Alaska and returning in 2007, visit ‘Trip to Alaska’ and ‘Trip from Alaska’.

Jon is an Alaskan resident and although he is a ‘snowbird’ spending the cold winter months in the lower 48, he loves the springs, summers and falls in Alaska. He is very familiar with all the summer activities on the Kenai Peninsula and much of Alaska, where to go and when to make your trip memorable. If you like clamming, fishing, sightseeing or boating, he and Jan will be happy to discuss things to see, things to do and will even make arrangements and reservations when possible for you.
 

RV Pad
Big Rigs Welcome!
The new Camp Kitchen
Moose off the deck
Wildflowers around the park
An eagle surveys the park
Wild cranberries at the Park

Extended Stay Campground