A red fox in its "blue" phase trotting along the roadside in Denali National Park.
Lien and I were actually married twice. Once in a cute ceremony on a cliff face overlooking Lake Tahoe from the Nevada Side and another time with the families in a huge bash in Sacramento. So of course we had to have two honeymoons! Our first honeymoon was a full-on expedition to Belize, Guatemala and Costa Rica in 1992. Lien never let me forget the horrific experiences in the jungles of Central America – being eaten alive by no-see-ums in Pine Ridge Belize; being chased by Fer de Lance vipers in La Selva Reserve in Costa Rica; and being surrounded all night in Cockscomb Reserve, Belize by very irritated and aggressive Jaguars who kept us up all night with their barks and warning calls (I didn’t know it at the time that they were warning me! (See the Belize page for the details on this one…)). Poor Lien was mortified!
So naturally for our next honeymoon, I decided to take her to another wilderness – one with no Jaguars or deadly pit vipers or anything as horrible as that. This time I was going to take her on a three month safari to Alaska, where we would be surrounded by packs of howling, growling wolves (who were so close that we wouldn’t even get out of our truck and had to sleep in the cab all night long!). We would also be on whale watching boats in rough seas where she (and one other honeymooning lady) would spend the entire time puking her brains out! And of course there was the campsite in Valdez where a Grizzly sow visited and ravaged our campsite while we watched in horror from the camper of our truck. I was such a sadist…poor Lien! (I finally gave in and treated her to a civilized two-month trip to Europe the following year – no wild animals or death-defying nights in the wilderness…so I don't feel so bad anymore...)
Our trip to Alaska was spectacular even with the many horror-filled sunny nights in the Alaskan bush. It all started with a drive north from California – three days to Prince Rupert where we caught one of Canadian Ferries up to Skagway, Alaska. The three day ferry ride through the Inside Passage was sublime. I could not believe the incredible beauty of the Passage. The wildlife was amazing as well. We saw countless Orca and Humpback Whales cruising the Passage on their way to who knows where. Bald Eagles were as common as starlings in some places as well. There was one spot near Juneau where a fisherman was cleaning his salmon catch and there were over 50 eagles in the trees near his home! They looked like little white Christmas tree ornaments.
From Skagway, we drove through the Yukon (treated on a separate webpage) and made our way in to Alaska. We camped at a taiga preserve near Tetslin. We explored the black spruce forest and had good luck with birds and wildlife. We also camped for a bit at Wrangell Saint Elias National Park in search of Alaska wildlife! An amazing wilderness for sure.
After a couple days in Anchorage, were we caught the opening night of Jurassic Park, we made our way down to Valdez for a week of explorations there. I wanted to travel there to see the Exxon-Valdez oil spill recovery efforts for myself. I was impressed with the informative museum and exhibits there as well as the overall appearance of a fairly healthy and basically recovered ecosystem. We saw loads of Sea Otters, Steller’s Sea Lions and Northern Fur Seals in and around Prince William Sound. We even went whale watching and caught fantastic glimpses of Humpbacks, Fin and Sei Whales in the Sound. The views of the bird bazaars in the Sound were awesome. Both Tufted and Horn Puffins were seen up close in the bazaars right next to the nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes. What a great place.
We explored many of the glaciers in the Kenai Fjords and inland areas in this part of Alaska. But perhaps my favorite part of the trip was our week trip in to the great Denali National Park. On the road through to the Denali view point (we had two days of phenomenal views of the awesome mountain – something that few people can say!), we came across at least 13 Grizzly Bears, some with cubs! We saw loads of Dall’s Sheep and Caribou as well. Watching the Golden Eagles hunt at the base of Denali is a natural spectacle.
Please take a look at our North America Image Galleries!
Alaska & Yukon Landscapes Image Gallery
Check out some of the images of this spectacular expedition (sorry, I was not much of a photographer back then...):