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June 2016: Alaska

Another month done. This was a weird month I crossed the border from Canada to Alaska on the first day and spend the rest of the month in Alaska. Except of course those two weeks where I flew back to Europe to fix my visa problem (So happy with my extra 90 days) and visit a wedding.

The good

  • Denali National Park clearly is going to be one of the highlights of my trip. Great views, great hikes, nothing around you but mountains, rivers and forests (and an occasional bear)
  • Finally getting in the proper travelling mood and going for the unexpected:
    • Turn around for a campsite with a great view at noon (Grizzly Lake)
    • Getting stuck on a hike in shoulder high bush and spending the rest of the day on the beach skipping rocks, reading and swimming (Valdez)
    • Starting a short hike up Exit Glacier and ending up walking to the top (Valdez)
    • Starting a hike and ending up sitting at a lake with some other people fishing for a few hours (Kenai Peninsula)
  • Meeting loads of people: Glen and Amanda invited me to their place, made me food and drove me from and to the airport (THANKS!!!); meeting other long term travelers driving, cycling or even running (!!!) the Panamarican Highway; meeting loads of locals on campsites and hikes. Clearly the season has finally started and I got to adventure land.
  • Seeing my family and loads of friends back home was great (but a bit weird). I couldn’t wait to get back on the road so that’s a good sign

The bad

  • The van still has some issues: loosing oil, sometimes low on power, needing two new tires, funky smells
  • Rain. Rain. Rain. A lot of rain. It has made me skip some parts I really wanted to explore or leave them earlier. But this makes a good reason to come back
  • Mosquitos. I know it’s a small one, but those animals are not supposed to come at you in big black clouds…

The unforgettable

  • The views from the top of the mountain, completely quiet. Until a herd of 12 caribou runs by (Denali National Park)
  • Spotting another bear but this time at a safe distance so I could actually have a look (Denali National Park)
  • The view over Exit Glacier and the Harding Ice-field (Valdez)
  • Getting stuck on the hike and going for a dip in the freezing ocean (Valdez)
  • Bald eagles flying by at close range while being fed at the campsite (Valdez)

The stats

  • No days: 30
  • No. km: 3729
  • Countries: Canada, USA, Iceland, Belgium, Netherlands
  • States/Provinces: Yukon, Alaska
  • No. Border crossings: 1 in van, 2 flying
  • No. of places stayed at: 18 (11 campsites, 1 in airplane, 3 at friends/family, 1 at hotel for the wedding)
  • Hikes: 7 (70km, 3000m elevation gain)
  • Books: 0
  • Movies: 9 (all in the airplane)
  • New Beers: 7
  • Photos: 1413
  • Weather:
    • Days: warmest 20C, coldest 7C, average 14C (not including time in Europe)
    • Nights: warmest 11C, coldest 2C, average 7C (not including time in Europe)

Even though I spend two weeks in Europe and drove less than half the distance from last month I actually hiked the same amount and almost made as many pictures. The weather was less extreme than last month, on average 2 degrees warmer. I didn’t finish any books. Partially because I started some hard to read book, partially because I spend many of my evenings chatting with other people on the campsites

Daily Costs for June (not including time in Europe)
After last month I had lowered the budget for campsites, but it looks like I can lower it again. Food was also lowered a bit and seems to be perfect now. I’m still not spending much on fun activities because the hikes are for free. But the US west coast will be filled with cities to take my money.

  • Campsites: 21 Euro per night (plan was 30)
  • Food: 12 Euro per day (plan was 12)
  • Fun: 3 Euro per day (plan was 6)
  • Total: 36 Euro per day (plan was 48)

Overall driving (3 months):
The driving plan was updated when I was in Europe, counting for some more detouring in Alaska. Still I managed to drive a bit more than that. However, I’ve been managing to find cheap fuel and I’m still driving more and more efficient now getting to 11km/l.

  • Distance: 13709 (plan was 13440)
  • Fuel costs: 62 cents/l (plan was 66 cents/l)
  • Efficiency: 11.0 km/l (plan was 10.5 km/l)
  • Total 60 Euro less than planned

Other costs:

  • Flights back home for the wedding/visa. Flying from Alaska is not cheap. But also not that expensive, ~1000 euros, as budgeted.
  • New passport/international drivers license/vaccinations: those things add up to some 200 Euro quite quickly
  • Camera lens: New one to replace the broken one: 300 Euro
  • New tires: 300 Euro for two. Was hoping I would get further on the old ones

So both my unexpected costs and car repair are going up quicker than expected so I’ll need some extra money there. This I can nicely move from the money I’ve been saving with cheaper campsites. Leaving the overall budget unchanged.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Two questions:
    – Why did you stop posting songs?
    – Do you (try to) read some special books worth being mentioned?

    Hope you’re doing good – and tell us about the smell’s origin in the next adventure..

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