Day 35: Back in Yukon

It was strange leaving Alaska this morning. Even though I still have nearly half of my trip left, leaving Alaska somehow seemed like the beginning of the end. I’d made it to Alaska, and that was such a big focus on the trip. To be headed home now, even though I have 4 weeks left, is still a little sad. But it also means I get to finish the rest of the Alaska Highway that I’d bypassed with my detour up to Dawson City. And it’s always fun driving a new route. There’s actually very little of my route that I drive twice, which is really exciting. I stopped in Tok to look for wifi without success, but I was able to update the blog via my iPhone. I also bought diesel and then hit the road south. After leaving Tok I’d head down the Alaska Highway. I wanted to get to Destruction Bay or Haines Junction if I wasn’t too tired. Ideally I’d find a lake I could paddle. The road was in pretty good shape. The usual frost heaves, construction, and stretches of gravel which are typical of the Alaska Highway. It was hard to keep my eyes on the road to watch for road damage when the scenery was so amazing. We had intermittent rain, but nothing too bad. But it did create muddy puddles which did a number on the nice clean bus:

But that’s ok. The scenery was worth every bug splat and mud splash. And the highlight of the day was about 15 minutes outside of Haines Junction when I passed another skoolie (term for a school bus converted into an RV). I flashed my lights at them and waved and they did the same. I looked in my side mirror and it looked like they were slowing down. Then my Instagram started beeping and I saw that it was not only a bus I knew, but that they were going to turn around and come meet up! Sweet! So I pulled over and waited for them to catch up. It was AWESOME to see their bus in person and also to share stories of our journeys. I just wish we’d been traveling in the same direction! It would have been cool to set up camp and hang out. Maybe when they come through Colorado. Check out their bus on this page.

More diesel in Haines Junction and then it was getting to be time to look for a campsite. I was hoping to find a free boondocking site (place you can just pull off the road and camp for free) but I saw a sign for “Pine Lake Campground” and decided to check it out. If there was really a lake and it looked paddle board friendly, I’d pay the $15 to have access to a lake. I drove in and snagged one of the last campsites and I’m glad I did. The lake is gorgeous. I’m definitely paddling in the morning and taking Pepper for a swim!

In other news, now that I’m back in Canada I have awesome cell service again, so prepare for more regular updates!