We left Gakona Lodge in the morning and headed towards Beaver Creek.
We had to drive along Tok Cutoff road till we reach Tok and then fall on to Alaska Highway. We then travel along the Alaska Highway to Beaver Creek. We cross over to Canada just before reaching Beaver Creek.
As we are finally leaving Alaska, this is a good time to give more details about some of the things we could not include in our previous entries.
Natives of Alaska lived in Alaska long before the Russians and Americans came there. Very broadly they can be classified into three ethnic groups. They are Indian, Eskimo and Aleut. Then there are so many sub groups. Some of the Indian subgroups are Athabascan, Tlingit, Haida etc. Then Eskimos have sub groups like Alutiiq, Cupik, Inupiaq etc. You need to read a book on Alaska to get more information on their culture and history.
Some of the names of places and rivers come from these native languages. Places like Anchorage and Fairbanks are English names, but most villages and rivers have been named by natives.
Hunting and fishing:
Hunting is one of the big recreations in Alaska. There are game rangers to control and monitor hunting. If you have a hunting permit, you can hunt a limited number of animals per year. However these restrictions do not apply to the native Alaskans. They can hunt any number of animals. This has created some bitterness among the non-native Alaskans. They feel there should be one rule for everybody.
Fishing for Salmon also needs a permit. There is no limit to the number of fish, but you have to pay and buy the permit before taking part in Salmon fishing.
Alaskan mosquitoes are well known for their size. It is not as bad as I thought it would be. We haven’t seen many of them in Anchorage and Fairbanks while we were in the hotels. But when you are on the road in a remote area and stop the car to take a photo, you will find them coming from all directions. If you apply a mosquito repellent, they tend to move away from you. We learned that we should always keep our car windows closed. In the hotels, normally the windows have mosquito meshes. When we open the front door, we should close it quickly without keeping it open for a long time.
Roads in Alaska get easily damaged due to Permafrost. On Alaska Highway, you always find bad patches sometimes extending to several miles. In most cases it is just lose gravel. Lose stones can easily damage windscreens and body paint. In some places, the road can be extremely dusty. Moving vehicles can raise a cloud of dust causing poor visibility. The biggest problem is when you have to stop the car and wait in one place for nearly one hour when the road is under repairs.
The distance from Gakona to Beaver Creek was only about 400 kilometres. We were in no hurry to get to Beaver Creek. We knew Beaver Creek is a very small village and there are not many facilities in the village.
On our way, we saw a tourist bus has stopped on the road and the passengers were taking photos. We stopped our vehicle to find two Moose by the side of the road. This was the first time we were able to take some photos of the moose.
Moose on the road to Beaver Creek
We drove up to Tok junction on the Tok Cutoff road . At Tok this road falls on to Alaska Highway. We then travel along Alaska Highway to Beaver Creek.
At the Tok junction, we stopped for lunch and also visited a souvenir shop. The souvenir shop was pretty good and was the last place we could buy Alaskan souvenirs.
We were not keen to buy anything made out of animal skins for two reasons.
1. We did not like hunting or killing animals for sport.
2. We cannot bring leather or animal products to Australia.
Souvenir shop at Tok Junction
Souvenir made out of hunted animals
We then dropped in at Fast Eddy for lunch. We ordered our lunches and Malisha ordered a Nachos. This place serves big portions of food. Malisha’s Nacho plate was so big that another tourist who saw it asked her whether she is going to eat all of that. We could not finish even half of the plates we ordered. The food was very tasty. We put half of the food in a box and took it with us to eat later.
Huge plate of nachos
Beaver Creek is on the Canadian side only about two kilometres from the Canadian Immigration office. We had to stop at the Immigration office and show our passports. It was very quick. They just asked a few questions and let us pass through.
We arrived at Beaver Creek around 3:00PM and checked in to the hotel called Buckshot Betty. This is a very small hotel. The main building is a restaurant. Behind this building there are several cabins. We were given a cabin that had two double beds. The cabin was quite comfortable and good enough to spend one night. We had to buy our breakfast separately. We also had to pay separately to use the hotel Internet. The temperature outside was about 24oC today. We have got used to low temperatures and we were sweating. Most of the small hotels in Alaska have heaters, but not air conditioners. I think they do not need air conditioners. We had to have the fan on during the night.