Other than having our tomatoes confiscated, crossing the international border into Alaska was uneventful.
For the first 65 miles in Alaska the AlCan follows the north side of the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge. It’s about 900k acres of mostly wetland habitat, and considered an important avian flyway. A bird blind in the small campground where we stayed was an added bonus. (Plus it helped the mosquitoes know where to find us.) It was overcast but we could see the mountains of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in the far distance.
The first sign of permanent human habitation on the AlCan is about 90 miles up the road in the crossroads town of Tok, (pronounced “toke”), population 1400. Our gas stop there took a little longer than we expected.
We stopped in Delta Junction this time to see the AlCan Highway terminus marker. I couldn’t help but notice that the numbers on the sign as to cost, distance, and construction workers conflicted with what we had read at the other end in Dawson City.
The drive south to Valdez from there was spectacular, with peaks and glaciers overhead in every direction.
We enjoyed the seaside city of Valdez (pronounced “Valdeez”) located at the southern end of the Alaskan pipeline, and inhabited by about 4k people. The aqua-blue bay is ringed by the glacier-topped Chugach mountains rising straight up from the water.