Thursday afternoon, June 28 and the temps in Phoenix reached 109*. Wrangell had told us he'd had enough of the heat, so we began our road trip north. Our general plan was to head due north through the mountain west, up through the Canadian Rockies, deep into the Yukon and finally along the Alaskan highway to spend 5-6 weeks exploring the ins and outs of Alaska. We loaded up a 2001 Toyota 4Runner with homebuilt shelving and cooking area, topped with a rooftop tent supplied by Freespirit Recreation, and hit the road for cooler temps. A trial night in the mountains of Utah had us loving our new digs, and by day 2 we felt right at home as we pulled into Wyoming's Wind River Range. After a quick supply run in Pinedale, WY and using freecampsite.net to find camp, we made Soda Lake home for the night.
Evenings consist of a delicious camp made meal by Alison, mornings usually mean a search for the coolest coffee shop around. So after catching a bit of the World Cup and putting back some espresso we have a short drive to Jackson, WY and the Tetons. With the 4th of July approaching we were welcomed with busy parks and busy campsites but with some perseverance found camp in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
The national parks system is not so 'dog friendly' so a big part of this trip for Alison and I would be finding places adjacent to the parks that would allow us to hike with Wrangell. National forests and state parks prove to be great for this. A couple that camped next to us in Bridger-Teton gave us intel of a dog friendly hike nearby, Goodwin Lake.
Hyalite Canyon just south of Bozeman was our next stop, and the crowds did not let up. After about an hour searching forest service roads in the rain we stumbled onto a gorgeous spot, sitting about 1,000 feet above Hyalite Reservoir and with grand views of the surrounding mountains. Just as we finished setting up camp for the night, the most unbelievable double rainbow appeared... Wrangell approved.
Bozeman proved to exceed our expectations with several cool coffee shops, MAP Brewery which had an acre dog friendly yard on the river, and our favorite brewery feature, the ice bar. We pushed north into the Flathead Valley, and seeing field after field of a bright yellow flower bloom, we decided to pull off for a little photo shoot, much to the dismay of the canola farmer.
After an afternoon of gin and tonics and huckleberry bearclaws in Polebridge, and a night deep up a forest service road with mamma bear and her 2 cubs nearby, I set a 4am alarm so we could spend the sunrise hiking in search of mountain goat in Glacier National Park. The birthday hike did not disappoint.
As I write this, we are finishing up a day of errands in Whitefish, and will be hitting the road again this afternoon. Spending the next week through the Canadian Rockies and the Yukon, we are excited to be getting closer the our main destination. Alaska.