Kankles, knee aches, headaches, sleep deprivation and poor diet pretty much describe a through-drive trip from Colorado to Alaska. Evan’s general demeanor at this point is that of someone coming off of a 10 day bender; but for those of you who know Evan the more reasonable explanation is a completely backasswards schedule.
Google maps still puts us about 800 miles from Anchorage, and that’s ok because we have gotten ourselves into a schedule where Anton and I are mostly awake during the day and Evan and Aaron are the night owls. Its mostly effective so far. We’ve only had to make one pitstop on the side of the road for everyone to sleep for a couple hours.
Almost the entire drive through Alberta was akin to driving through the midwest of the USA, and as such it makes for some of the least ideal driving conditions for maintaining focus on the road, but some rather fast travel. We kept begging for something besides grass and wind to look at, and finally in BC we got to look at some mountains and trees here and there, but of course now after this far on the Alaskan Highway, all we really want is a regular change of scenery as the deeply cut alleyway through the lodgepole pines seems to go on endlessly.
We are on this stretch of road about a month earlier than the Wildsnow Ski Denali Crew a few years ago, and as such the open gas stations are significantly farther apart. No worries though we picked up 20 gallons of extra gas in the states before we left (where it is significantly cheaper anyway) and those got us through the night last night until we found some open stations along the way today.
Last night’s death march through northern BC had one highlight for our night crew though: the green hue of the northern lights constantly lighting the NW sky in front of them. Outside of this nice little distraction from what is otherwise painful theft of days from our lives, there were more little extras to make our drive just a bit scarier. The Alaskan highway has no lights whatsoever, no reflectors to lull you to sleep — and a plethora of wildlife. Evan reports multiple animals sleeping in the middle of the road as he came hurdling down. Maybe the pavement is still warm?
We haven’t quite made it to the frost heaves characteristic of the Canadian side of the Alaskan Highway yet, but I am anticipating some choice words from the crew as Anton blasts over them in our heavily loaded Tacoma. Air time is a possibility. The next time we post hopefully it will be from stateside — only in the AK. Cheers from the road!
(‘Big Three’ is an Alaskan ski mountaineering expedition cooked up by four deprived (or perhaps depraved?) guys who never get enough ski and snowboard mountaineering. The idea is to ski Denali, Mount Foraker, and Mount Hunter all during one expedition.)