September the 8th rolled around, which meant it was time for most of the Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge Staff of 2018 staff to depart Aialik Bay, and head for greener pastures. We said goodbye to our friends, new family, and the amazing time we all shared this summer.
As the boat roared to life, and the loud motor gargled, we pulled away from the rocky shore and began our journey southward. Our smiling faces and hand waves beamed across the stern of the boat, just as the warm sun beamed across the surface of the water.
Although we shared an incredible four months, I was eager to stretch my legs and set my gaze on some new scenery, and sure enough, new scenery is what I got!
After arriving in Seward, James and I grabbed our buddy Alex’s car and made the drive towards Anchorage. We made our first real stop to fuel up; shop for food, and ultimately, jet out of that strangely dingy and urban Alaskan city. Due to our desire to make it to the lower 48 relatively quickly, we skipped our proposed trip to Denali, and began making our way toward the Yukon.
Our 9-day trip was marked by 2,600 miles of open country that even to this experienced traveler, revealed not only breath-taking beauty, but an awe-inspiring diversity of landscapes. We came upon steep cliffs hugging the tops of river canyons, scraggly spruce horizons, and the low-lying, marshy peat land of the Yukon north.
The miles and land we covered were all new to me, and went along way towards filling up my “nature tank.” During our countless hours together, we talked of summer, reminisced over good times shared, and explained our next plan of attack. James shared his vision for his videography career, and I explored my goals for BIRDS by BIJS.
We scored free camping eight of the nine nights, and only had a couple evenings of weather below 25˚F. Every day we made our way south, racing rapidly towards the border that separated our native soil and that of our Canadian neighbors.
As we entered Burns Lake, British Columbia, it dawned on me that my dear friend and mentor, Stephanie lived in B.C. and that we should pay her a visit. James quickly agreed and was excited to check out both Victoria, and see Vancouver Island.
After calculating that we only had twelve hours of driving to do get there, we grabbed coffees and put the pedal to the metal-or as best we could. It turned out there are a lot of tiny towns along the highway, many of which require that you drive ~25 mph through them… which, if you know me, provided a serious challenge!
Regardless of my personal distaste for low speed limits, we motored on, and ended up sleeping just three hours north of Vancouver. The next morning we awoke early, jetted off for coffee and flew to make the 10 a.m. ferry to Vancouver Island – Success!
We arrived in Victoria around mid-day for a delicious lunch, and a ridiculous trip to the thrift store. After our city shenanigans, we arrived at Stephanie’s amazing home and were greeted by the warm company of her two inquisitive and playful daughters.
BIRDS by BIJS