That was my first tour to Alaska !

USA / CANADA © Copyright by Ch. Breier

From Toronto I hitchhiked across Canada for 6 months to Alaska and then back to Toronto ! 

Unfortunately this was also the year when the oil tanker Exxon Valdez caused the oil spill in Alaska, that was not a nice sight...

In Fairbanks/Alaska I met my good friend Mark (AL7HT). He usually lives with his family along the Kandik River, a tributary of the Yukon River, above the village of Eagle.

He was in Fairbanks because his wife had a baby. When the child was just born he received a radio message that his cabin had fallen victim to a rioting bear.  He had destroyed the food cache, of course with the food inside. He had also raged in the actual cabin. Mark was completely on the ground. He now had a newborn and an unusable cabin.

I offered him to come with kim to the Kandik River and help him to bring the cabin back in shape.  He was delighted about my offer and promised me, if I help him, he would show me everything at the Kandik! But there was no more room for me in the front of the car, so I had to drive together with some dogs in the back of the truck. That was no amusement, because after some time it smelled quite strong. But I made it through this ride!  

Arriving in Eagle we prepared everything for the departure in a small Super Cub, of course I had a Husky on my lap during the flight. Lori, Mark's wife stayed in Eagle with her newborn and her little daughter Magan. They would follow when Mark and I had fixed the cabin.

The flight to Kandik was a lot of fun for me, the dog also participated and was very quiet on the flight and didn't do any "business", luckily. It's amazing on what rough ground these small machines with their thick tires can land!

The cabin looked really bad, the bear and the spring flood had done there job. All the food, or rather what was left of it, was scattered all over the area. There was a lot of work waiting for us.

The days passed and the cabin and its surroundings became liveable again. When Lori and the children were back at Kandik the first snow fell.

It was time for the moose hunt.  Mark and I made our way upstream towards the Indian Grave River, a tributary of the Kandik. As it was against the current we had to pull the canoe up the river for a few days. Unfortunately, despite intensive search we did not see a moose. But for the first time in my life I heard wolves howling! 

(later I was informed that Mark had shot a moose after all)

Mark kept his word and showed me everything you need to know in the bush. In long conversations I learned a lot about life in the bush. But most important of all, I found  in Mark a true friend.

The days went by and I had to fly back to Eagle. Because my visa was expiring slowly. I said goodbye to Mark and his family and flew back to Eagle. There I got a ride in a truck to Fairbanks.

I spent a few days in Fairbanks and then hitchhiked towards Canada. A car with two young women stopped a few hundred kilometres before the border. They said I could go with them, but only on the open loading area. Super, and that at temperatures around freezing.

Man, that has been a cold ride. At the border a customs officer checked my papers and I was in Canada. Suddenly the truck stopped and I was allowed to drive in front.

They were just scared because they didn't know who I was. After the officer at the border had decided that I was ok, it was ok for them too. Very simple logic!

Actually I wanted to hitchhike the Alaska Highway back to Toronto, but Cynthia Sheridan, the name of the driver of the truck told me to take the Alaska Ferry to Prince Rupert Canada and on this occasion I could also stop by her in Juneau.

Since I had never travelled through the Inside Passage, the waterway between Alaska and Canada, I agreed. So we drove towards Hains/Alaska and there to the ferry to Juneau.

The ride was really breathtaking. We saw many whales. After arriving in Juneau I also met Walt, Synthia's father. And again I found a true friend whom I met again many times in the following years. 

I had a big affection towards Cynthia. So after a few weeks I left Juneau with an unhappy stomach! But the ride through the Inside Passage was simply awesome.

I saw many whales and other sea creatures. The other passengers on the ship were also great folks. They came from every imaginable country. It was the year 1989, the year of the tanker accident at the Prince William Sound. The most devastating oil disaster in Alaska. It was so terrible that I don't want to remember it at all. That's why I won't go into any more detail here. 

Just so much, everyone who has seen this catastrophe live will never be able to forget it!!!

Arriving in Prince Rupert I had to go through customs again, as I came from Alaska. 

Without many questions I got another 6 months visa for Canada. 

I didn't want to hitchhike across Canada again so I took the Greyhound bus to Toronto in Prince Rupert, which took 5 days. Not very amusing I can tell you. 

After I arrived in Toronto I spent some time with my relatives and then flew back to Germany.

But this journey to Alaska, especially the time with Mark at Kandik and the time in Juneau had changed me. 

From then on it drew me magically back to Alaska and I think that will never change ! 

 Many thanks to Mark and Walt and of course to Cynthia!

© Copyright by Ch. Breier

Continue with: Before 1989

Only those who risk going too far, will discover how far they can go!

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