I wake up in the Fairbanks yurt to see the sun has fully risen, which means that I’ve overslept. Normally this is a good thing, especially while on vacation, but not today.
I have thirteen plus driving hours ahead of me. I forego a shower and coffee, throw my things into my backpack and hit the road. Just outside of Fairbanks I come to the infamous town known as North Pole, and stop to get some much needed coffee and breakfast. My eyes hurt from the gawdy and touristy place that North Pole appears to be, even this early in the morning. I’m ready to get out of town and into more open and wild landscapes.
It doesn’t take long for my wish to come true. North Pole disappears from my rear view, and soon I have moose running alongside the road as I cruise along hour after quiet hour.
I come to the town of Tok, which marks my halfway point. My eyes are wild, my mind free. I come to Wrangler-Elias National park, and see eroding glaciers and seemingly untouched mountains.
I pull into my next Air BnB of this trip, a lovely house on the Kenai river. Close enough to town for me to get provisions, yet tucked away off the main road and into the Alaska wilderness.
The host welcomes me warmly, helps me get settled in, and shows me the path down to the river where I can fish, relax, and unwind.
Unbelievably, I sit and watch King salmon jump out of the river as they are swimming upstream. A family of moose come out across the river as the sun starts to set. I still need to be wary of bears, even this close to town, but this reality only heightens the experience.
I feel like my Alaskan adventure is really starting to take hold now.