Tag Archives: alaska

Vancouver -> BANFF -> Toronto -> Ottawa

After a month in Vancouver, I rode the train to Edmonton, bussed to Calgary, hitch-hiked to BANFF, and then hit the rails again to Toronto & Ottawa. I'll be here in Ottawa for a week, then I take the rails up to Montreal, Qubec, and Halifax.

A procession moves down a street full of people. A truck drives down the road with a truck-long sized joint that's emitting smoking from the front. In the back of the truck, a canadian flag with the maple leaf replaced by a cannabis leaf is flying. Behind them, a giant rainbow pride flag serves as a shade cover for the following vehicle.
Vancouver Pride

Vancouver & BANFF have been the highlight of my Canadian journey so-far.

If you can manage to find free rent in Vancouver (it's legal to erect an overnight tent on public property in all of British Colombia, per BC Supreme Court), you will find it to be a very cheap place to travel. The city's cycling, beaches, people, discount fruit, free events, and near-by hiking are great. For a $30 bus, you can take touring bike & all your gear up to Whistler, and ride the 120km Sea-to-Summit highway in reverse, descending the 600m from mountains to the sea, which is a beautiful & easy 2-day ride--but don't forget the bear spray.


A mirror-like lake reflects a tall mountain behind it. Around the lake are lush green trees.
Egypt Lake, BANFF

Continue reading Vancouver -> BANFF -> Toronto -> Ottawa

Anchorage to Vancouver

We awoke to the sound of a marmot under our mini-van shelter atop Hatcher Pass. It was my last weekend in Alaska, and S wanted to take me outside the Anchorage bowl--where I've been living the past month. We ate breakfast as we gazed upon the snow-capped mountains in the distance, then grabbed our packs and climbed up to the ridgeline, stopping to appreciate the fine view of Mount Denali--the highest peak in North America.


I hosted S as a couchsurfer in my temporary "apartment" in Anchorage, but we initially met in an online form; we were both searching for a travel companion to split the cost on a ship from Anchorage, AK to Vancouver, BC.

Mikey stands on an mountain in Alaska on McHugh Peak overlooking the ocean
Mikey stands on an mountain in Alaska on McHugh Peak overlooking the ocean

3 months ago, S left her office job in Z├╝rich, flew to Vancouver, and bought a mini-van named Bourbon. Living in Bourbon, she drove through BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Yukon, and west into Alaska. I hosted her a few times when she passed south through Anchorage down to Homer, then again West to Valdez. Our last weekend in Alaska, we took one last trip outside Anchorage before she sold Bourbon

After climbing down from the ridgeline above Hatcher's Pass, we drove through the valley down a long gravel road to the Reed Lakes trailhead. 4 miles and much climbing later, we arrived at the most pristine, glacier-fed lake I've ever seen. A local told us it's the best lake in Alaska, and that the glacier that fed this lake (just over the ridgleine) was called "bomber glacier", as a crashlanded (world war 2?) bomber plane could be found atop the glacier. If we had more time, gear, and food, it would make a glorious multi-day weekend hike to Bomber Glacier--perhaps for my next visit to Alaska.


Continue reading Anchorage to Vancouver

Portland to Seattle

I've been in Seattle for nearly 3 weeks. On Saturday, I'll pack my bicycle in a box and fly the furthest north I've ever been--to Alaska.

Mikey sits on a hill at Gas Works Park overlooking the PUget Sound and the Seattle Skyline
Gas Works Park, Seattle

After I left Dexter, I took a 4 hour train north to it's big sister city: Portland. From San Francisco to Eugene, Portland to Seattle, and--soon--Vancouver, there's pretty much one dominating theme: homelessness & gentrification.

In Portland there's a joke that you don't meet anyone actually from Portland anymore. And it's true. I met folks born in Portland only in Eugene & Seattle, and they had a wealth of knowledge to share.

From the half-dozen cranes stacking gross luxury apartment complexes in Portland's Pearl District to a new-age/city-integrated sprawl of Amazon's office towers that blight Capitol Hill in Seattle, big tech companies have drastically changed these cities. And if you pack a bowl at the ever-growing tent cities that form in clusters under nearly every bridge in these Pacific Northwest cities, you'll learn how these "developments" aren't helping its people.

I never saw someone sitting in a public space tied-off, needle-in-arm, searching for their vein on the metro in Santiago (as I did in San Franciso's Civic Center BART station).

Continue reading Portland to Seattle