Alaska, Canada and Yellowstone
The trip in a nutshell. From Brisbane to LA, followed by Alaska and then on to Churchill Manitoba, Canada; finishing with travelling through the Tetons and Yellowstone National Park.
We were hoping to experience a sensory overload of nature - wildlife, landscapes, sunrises and sunsets and no cell or wifi for the next month. I had organised private charter flights to drop us into the remote areas, arranged to raft down some of the most glorious rivers; and kayak to glaciers and on some of the untamed rivers.
The links from each part of the trip will explore the most interesting aspects of each area, with many links to the wonderful wildlife we spent our time with in the wilderness.
Please be patient as it will take some time to complete each link, with thousands of photos and many interesting stories.
A month away in the wilderness started with an early morning flight from Brisbane International Airport. As always, we would spend lots of time waiting for big and small planes, unless you are late and they are calling your name to board the plane.
Arriving in Los Angeles is another story. The full day's itinerary quickly changed after losing my computer, but we still managed to spend the evening at Santa Monica Pier.
The next morning we were on our early morning flight from LA to Anchorage. We have been to Alaska before and I just love the atmosphere and scenery. The Winner Creek Gorge Trailhead, Girdwood is where you can retrace the footsteps and sled tracks of those who journeyed along the Iditarod Trail.
After another early morning start, we took our charter flight to Lake Clark, where we would spend time living with the Brown Bears of Alaska. Freezing mornings and nights, stunning landscapes and incredible bears and salmon runs. A life time experience, never to be forgotten and to be repeated.
This "Big Boy" I loved sitting and watching. A magnificent display of fishing and curiosity. Brown bears, Alaska.
A not so early flight back to the mainland from Lake Clark, to raft down the Kenai River, en route to exploring backcountry Kenai.
After experiencing the wonders along the Kenai River and the associated backcountry, we arrived at Aialik Bay after a 4 hour, not so smooth, boat ride from Homer. Aialik Bay resounds in absolute quietness, only altered by the thundering of the calving of the glaciers and the many wildlife sounds. The views of the mountains, the rivers, the glaciers and the wildlife are not to be missed. I could have spent many more days tracking this area.
Our stay in Alaska had come to an end and we travelled back to Anchorage via the Alaskan Railroad from Homer, arriving around midnight. Our next adventure would start in 3 hours, boarding a plane to Winnipeg, Canada and then on to Churchill, which is known for its Polar Bears and flat tundra landscape.
My lifelong dream has been to spend time with the gentle giants, the Polar Bear. Whilst we could only see them this time in summer, the experience was amazing and we will return in winter to spend more time immersing ourselves in their natural environment.
I wasn't sure you could top being with the Polar Bears, but was willing to try. We were now heading to the magnificent Tetons and Yellowstone National Park to spend an exciting time ticking off as many animals as we could find and witnessing the expansive landscapes of both of these parks.
Many of the states around Yellowstone National Park and Tetons were on fire throughout our stay and at this time are still experiencing devastating fires. The mountains were covered in smoke and the effect of the fires were seen daily.
Driving through the Tetons to Yellowstone Lake was incredible, with vast expanses of mountains and geysers. We stopped at the side of Yellowstone Lake to stretch our legs and take in the magnitude of this vast land.
And there is no way you can miss the massive herds of Bison as you pass through Yellowstone.
Lamar Valley is very well known for sightings of animals, including Pronghorn, Wolf, Bison and many more natural inhabitants. We passed through and spent many days in Lamar and Hayden Valley. As you pass through Lamar Valley you can choose to continue on to Silver Gate and Cooke City (we managed to stay in both towns) and drive the Bearthooth Highway - the scenic highway which winds its way through South West Montana.
Next took us on to Mammoth Hot Springs, a large complex of hot springs on a hill of travertine in Yellowstone National Park adjacent to Fort Yellowstone.
Mammoth is also a very popular place to spot Elk roaming around the countryside and along the road around dusk.
The Old Faithful area is an extremely popular spot for witnessing the eruptions of the geysers. The main geyser erupts approximately every 90 minutes and this shot was taken around 11pm. This would be our last stop on our journey and we had decided to spent 2 nights at this majestic Inn - a little different to our wilderness accommodation.