PART 2: Reminder, I will celebrate the completion of Camp50 along with my birthday while in Alaska by taking a 2 hour flightseeing tour around Denali with a 30 minute Glacier Landing. Yes, that’s 2 1/2 hours with Denali. Hope you like the last story of Camp50 as well as some of my photos.
Alaska – The Last Frontier
Since tent camping isn’t allowed until 4/15 in Seward, I had to work on alternate camping spots before I arrived. As my travel dates grew closer, it was clear to me Alaska was having a warmer than normal spring which could be great for finding a camping spot and not so great for hibernating bears to come out early.
Bears when no other people are around, is not something I want to experience. I’ve camped for almost 10 years and have yet to see or come in contact with a bear, I count this as a camping blessing…… Good Bear Karma I guess!!!
I spoke to a National Forest Ranger a few days before I left for Hawaii, they told me what campgrounds were open since their website was not updated. Sounds like the vendor who manages their website with campground & trail updates is out of New York (OMG that’s sort of dysfunctional I thought). Anyway, they advised me to call when I arrived in Anchorage, because as you can imagine weather in Alaska can change at anytime.
Arrival Anchorage ~ After grabbing supplies, I called to check on campgrounds and then made my way south towards Seward. All I could think about was finding a camping spot in Seward, even though I knew tent camping wasn’t allowed yet.
I checked a few NF campgrounds along the way but, continued on to Seward taking in the amazing scenery along the way. Arrived Seward, exhausted as it had been a very long day of traveling from Hawaii and there’s that whole time zone change.
I drove through the four campgrounds along the Seward harbor and noticed there wasn’t any grass, just gravel spots. I found grass at a day use area but, the sign said “NO CAMPING”. I decided no matter what the sign said this was going to be my spot but, I wanted to be sure I wouldn’t get kicked out so I went looking for someone of authority. I went to the harbor masters office (CLOSED) talked to two locals who said “sure you can camp there, tell them we said it was ok” I said you don’t even live here do you? They walked away laughing saying ” sure we do”. Next stop the police station, they tried to contact the Parks & Recreation department without success. Then a lady came out of one of the town offices and asked if I needed help, so I told her the quick version of Camp50 and explained I would like to camp in the day use area for one night to complete Camp50 in Seward. She said hold on a minute…….. She came back out and said she spoke to the person on call for the Parks & Recs department, he said I could camp in the day use area. She said if anyone tries to kick you out, tell them Brendan said you could camp there tonight. I spontaneously hugged her, thanking her endlessly. I went back down and set up my awesome Tetonsports tent. I ended Camp50 where I wanted to end it, in Seward, Alaska. Mission Accomplished, well when I wake up in the morning it will be Mission Accomplished.
I woke up with a great sense of accomplishment. No time to celebrate, I want to see what Seward looks like before sunrise, so off I went to explore Seward.
Since all the gates are now open, I spent some quiet time exploring Exit Glacier Road too.
Spent a night in Girdwood with a childhood friend. No camping tonight, just some catching up, dinner and a view of Mount Alyeska (sort of). It was like 1/2 a zero day and I sure needed the rest since I had been traveling for almost a week at this point.
Next morning I was off early, heading from Girdwood to Talkeetna, a 2-3 hour drive.
Talkeetna, Alaska (#3 of my all time favorite places of Camp50 )
Arrived a few hours early for checkin but, that wasn’t a problem since the room was all set to check-in. The joys of off season traveling.
Now to explore the town of Talkeetna. A short walk to the Walter Harper Ranger Station, watched a movie about Denali National Park, looked around, then overheard someone say the park road was open to the 30 mile mark. Of course that information had me ready to run to the car. I read that you can only self drive to the 13 mile mark, then you need to use the shuttle service, since the shuttle service wasn’t running yet, self driving 30 miles would be such an amazing adventure. I took a walk to the Talkeetna river to think about the road opening and plot my next move.
The river had great views of Denali and I could feel the tug grow stronger, At 3pm I decided, it doesn’t get dark until 10:30pm, so I’m going to drive to the park. Even though it was only 150 miles away, I was told by several people it would take 3hrs to drive from Talkeetna to Denali National Park and it did take that long. Very scenic ride and hardly anyone on the roads.
Talkeetna Air Taxi Flightseeing….. my time with Denali
Since it’s my birthday and it’s my last night in Talkeetna, I walked to Denali Brewing Co, great atmosphere, amazing food and ice cold beer. No drinking and driving here, everything is within walking distance. Talkeetna is a wonderful town and I will definitely come back to visit.
That concludes Camp50. It’s been an amazing healing journey and I’m so very thankful for the people I’ve meet along the way, the places I’ve experienced and the history I’ve learned along the way. There was that pivotal point back in April 2014 when I had just returned from Yosemite, the past had me stuck in this very emotionally self-destructive way of living, something needed to change and that’s how Camp50 came to be. Solo camping all 50 states saved me, I will be forever grateful for each and every moment.
Don’t be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin! – Henry David Thoreau