We had a neighbor who lived in Alaska and was full of information, including that we should travel with a 12-gauge shotgun loaded for Grizzlies. So, I bought one and various loads, from pellets to solid slugs. And for added protection, we took Bear, our big mountain Pyrenees.
We traveled the Inland Canadian Highway on our camping adventure. We had a two-person tent, heavy sleeping bags, and cooking gear. It was the beginning of September, and we figured we had two months to wander wherever the roads took us.
Denali was a must-see, so we headed in that direction. Although we thought people camped in Alaska, we discovered this wasn’t really the case. While we camped in our tent, most others stayed in their motor homes.
We thought that at night, while we stayed in our tent, Bear would sleep outside to warn us if bears came around. As it turned out, Bear refused to sleep outside the tent. He slept between the two of us and snored. But that’s camping! I must add that we also slept with a loaded shotgun.
Because we needed to see more than the two-lane road before us, we made it a point to take hikes in the forest. Of course, I thought Bear would go off alone to explore the wilderness, but he never left our side. In fact, he stayed so close that he pushed against us. He knew I would protect him, and he was right.
In Denali, they have a bus that takes the public to the highest point on the mountain. No dogs were allowed, so we tied Bear to our tent and enjoyed a wonderful trip up the mountain. We saw Grizzlies roaming everywhere. At the time, we didn’t know that a family of Grizzlies had walked through our campground and visited Bear. Apparently, they got along just fine.
When we headed North on a lonely road, it began to snow, and the temperature dropped into the teens. As it was too cold to camp, we looked for a place to stay and found the only Inn on that road. It had a hot tub where we spent lots of time drinking wine. It was fantastic for us and also for Bear, who got to stay inside in our room out of the weather.
Afterward, we headed South, eventually boarding a ferry to Seattle and heading home. Those were eight unforgettable weeks.