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Alaska bound, end of July

trip planning alaska yukon

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#1 daverave


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Posted 16 July 2019 - 08:57 PM

Well I tried to post this through the WtW app that I just downloaded to my phone but there appears to be some operator (me) error... not surprising.


Anyway this will be our first trip to Alaska and back in our Hawk/F-150 rig. I think I've got the general plan down as to routes, etc, (although I was surprised at the poor Google Earth resolution once you look into northern BC and the Yukon.)


However, we are not big fans of being a bit lower on the food chain so I'm hoping some of the veterans here can clue us in to the bear protocols up that way. We're hoping to get off of some of the "major" highways for some boondock camping and was wondering how to handle graywater. Typically we just hose it from the camper into a 3 gallon container next to the truck. Not a big deal in the Mojave but maybe a bad idea in bear country. So walk it 100+ yards and disperse in the ground? What about using the grille outdoors and then storing it back in the truck or camper as clean as we can get it?


Also we will have, as always, our 18. y.o. cat with us who likes his food and litter out on the floor of the camper at night. Any suggestions as to how to manage that? This trip will be his 34th state and 4th and 5fh provinces in the camper BTW  :D


Hoping for some cooling and rain to mitigate the hoax that is global warming up that way before we depart. We ended up retreating back to California, believe it or not, from the Canadian Rockies a couple of years ago due to all of the smoke and fires back then.Really don't want to go through that again. Like many places, it's been the hottest, driest, smokiest ever in Alaska so far this year.




Edited by daverave, 16 July 2019 - 08:59 PM.

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#2 Dirt Rider

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 09:27 PM

Drove up there in 2009, a great adventure! hope to get to TUK next year instead of just AK. Yes expect to have to be in the boonies as there is a whole lot of nothing in places, and long distances in between anything. The thing that got me was not being aware of the frost heaves and how I suddenly found myself doing a 70 MPH jump. Be aware of that and the grooves in the roads from tire chains and studs, if your tires dont fit in them, you tend to drift around, I ended up trying to straddle on side or the other. take your time and take it all in!

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#3 Forrest



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Posted 16 July 2019 - 10:05 PM

Hi Dave,


It has been hot and smokey up here but recent rain is helping improve things a bit. 


Bear aware; I typically just discharge my gray water to the ground up here (when not in a camp ground) or into a fire pit when jug is full and never had a bear issue but your management for gray water is the best practice. Cooking a bit away from the camper also never hurts although I dont follow that one either when camping with the camper. I always make sure nothing is left outside with food residue like a grill. A bear can or old ammo can works great for sealing trash up when not near a dumpster for a few days. I recommend picking up an air horn and bear spray (or 2) to have handy to deter any unwanted visitors. I have not had a bear experience at the camper yet but good to be prepared. 


Road side camping up here is easy and popular, lots of spots to pull off and some get you off the highway a bit. Definitely recommend the Top of World highway and Dawson, the Denali highway and the Dalton if you have time. Not sure when your trip is but the fireweed blooms are everywhere now but the fall colors are my favorite. 



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#4 Casa Escarlata Robles Too

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 10:32 PM

We have made 2 trips to the north in our Bobcat.2016/2011.

In 2009 we made a tent trip to Alaska.


You can find our trips on my blog.There are 3 trips there.

Denali 2016 4 parts, Denali 2011 posted 2014, SE Alaska BC 2009  posted 2014.



I carry bear spray and an air horn.Never used either but nice to have around.

One thing we have done in bear country,when sitting outside at a camp table

sit across from each other not next to.


We had an experience at the Mendenhall Glacier campground.

Sitting at the camp table for breakfast we were both on the same side of the table

faceing the wooded area near the lake.A black bear came out of the woods toward us about 30'

away. We calmly got up moved toward the car and the bear moved on back into the woods.

Had we had our backs to the woods the bear would have sat down to have breakfast with us.

So sit face to face and watch over the others back.


Our trips have been late Aug early Sept. The colors are fantastic and less people and bugs.


Top of the World/Old Denali Hwy/Dempster Hwy & Cassiar Hwy all great drives.

Denali NP is nice in the fall not as meny people and lots of animals around.


If you would like more info you can PM me.


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#5 daverave


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Posted 16 July 2019 - 11:06 PM

Thanks for the quick feedback!


We're taking 10 weeks overall for the trip with return to NorCal around 10/8 so we should get some time with fewer bugs/people and a little fall color. I figure we will spend as much time both on the drive up and back as we do in the state of Alaska.  Cassiar on the way north from here, not sure on the way back down, probably a function of energy. Definitely doing the Top of the World and Denali highways plus at least the east side of Denali up to Fairbanks and a bit beyond (Chena?). Cassiar Hwy on the way north from here, not sure on the way back down, probably a function of energy. My better half is retiring this week  :)  hence this trip and we hope to do more up there in the future.


We already have three bear sprays and an air horn. I know my wife will wear her bells... probably constantly  :rolleyes: 

Good advice on the facing different directions when outside.

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#6 klahanie


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Posted 16 July 2019 - 11:15 PM

We try to reduce the amount of food residue in the grey water by keeping pots and plates to a minimum, eating everything, wiping dishes if needed before washing etc.


Dumping the grey water away from the camp spot (and away from a water course) is a good idea, if only for the "next guy". And, if concerned, best do it before retiring for the night. Just be aware when walking away from the camper. Frank makes a good point about having another pair of eyes, my wife spots me when I'm in a compromising stance and even sometimes when I pee at night ....


If there's a pit toilet around, a small amount of grey can go in there or look for a grey water site, even in a rustic forestry site.


From our experience, I'd say don't be overly concerned about bears as long as you are always bear aware including when choosing a camp spot. An open area helps obviously for sight lines, while a seasonal hunting or angler camp could merit caution.


We always have bear spray handy when eating outside. I've used an airhorn without effect - whereas a pistol type bear banger has turned bears around ... or reluctantly sideways.


We've had a couple of times I can recall when a bear has visited the camp at night, sniffing or bumping around. Prob there have been other times we didn't notice. That's one reason we don't leave anything out at night, no chairs or shoes etc., easier to leave in a hurry if we had to, but mostly for other nighttime nibblers and poopers.


Can't help with the cat.

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#7 Atlin


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Posted 17 July 2019 - 02:08 AM

Pretty smoky in lots of places up here right now.  Highway between Whitehorse and Dawson is bad in places - there is one big fire within a couple miles of the road.  Lots of fires and smoke over in Alaska.  Good website for smoke prediction in Canada is firesmoke.ca which predicts smoke patterns a couple of days out.  Based on fire locations and wind patterns.


Don't count on bear horns working.  I've had more than one just go "pffft" and not make any noise.  Others that have made noise have done little to scare them off.  Unless you're very close, the sound just dissipates too quickly (in my opinion, this is the problem).


Coming up the Cassiar, side trip to Stewart/Hyder is worth a day or two.

Edited by Atlin, 17 July 2019 - 02:10 AM.

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#8 Vic Harder

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 07:08 AM

we camp bear aware in our camper, as if we were tenting.  No cooking or food or cosmetics in the camper.  Food locked in the truck or a bear shelter.  Guns are no good, as research shows you can't kill a bear fast enough, even if you hit it multiple times.  Bear spray is a must, and bear bells... well, the old joke goes "What's the difference between black and grizzly bear skat?  The grizz has bear bells in it."


Honestly, some noises attract bears!  

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#9 daverave


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Posted 23 July 2019 - 05:28 PM

Just wondering how folks on this thread that have been to Alaska manage potential serial killers  :wacko:


The photo of those kids now burnt out truck camper really struck a nerve.


Sure hoping that the RCMP get their man (or woman) before we head out on Monday. I sure as hell don't want to spend the entire trip in campgrounds as our ability to get off the pavement and boondock is the entire reason we have our FWC. I've spent many hours on Google Earth locating such places but now have quite a bit of trepidation about putting our cat in that situation on top of his issues with bears.


I generally don't let media hype get to me but Alaska, Yukon and BC will still be there next year... 

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#10 daverave


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Posted 23 July 2019 - 06:12 PM

Apparently the missing kids from the burning truck camper are the primary suspects in the deaths of all three people. They are no longer considered missing and were last seen on the run in northern Saskatchewan. Nice work  RCMP!

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