1. Kayaking Kachemak Bay
Being out on the water in Kachemak Bay is one of the best ways to get a true feel for Alaska. The trip started from the harbor in Homer, AK and the boat ride across the Bay was beautiful. We arrived in a small cove of one of the many islands in the area and headed out in kayaks to explore. We saw sea otters playing in the water, crazy jellyfish, and even got to hold a starfish. For lunch that day our guide picked wild herbs from Fox Island and prepared a salmon based soup that was amazing.
2. Eating at Two Sisters Bakery in Homer, AK
This little gem is a must try if you are in Homer, AK. We were there during an extremely rainy period. It was fabulous to walk into this warm, cozy bakery filled with delicious smells and tasty food.
3. Visiting Exit Glacier
Exit Glacier is the only area you can drive into Kenai Fjords National Park. There is a short trail that takes you from the visitor center parking lot up to the glacier. Along the way there are markers identifying the recession of the glacier over the past 100 years. Over the past 200 years the glacier has receded 1.25 miles. Exit Glacier is still huge, but you can really see how much it has melted in a relatively short period of time.
4. Podcasting On Our 44-Hour Drive From Alaska To British Columbia
We decided to hightail it out of Alaska due to the rainy weather (as you have heard us complain about for weeks). Living out of a truck where it is already tough to keep things clean and organized is much more challenging in wet conditions. The rain was starting to get to us so we decided to move on. The drive time was 44 hours (not including breaks/traffic/construction) and we did it in 4 days.
A few of our favorite Podcasts are This American Life, TED Talks, Revisionist History, and Serial. It’s a fantastic way to pass the time and always leads to engaging conversation.
Fact - Michael drove the entire way!
Another fact - Michael is the sole driver of this trip so far - nearly 10,000 miles all driven by Michael. He’s determined to finish the road trip as the only driver which might deserve it’s own post.
5. Camping in Whistler and Meeting Our New Friend Chris
We found an incredible campground and casually snagged the best spot in the “house” at 9:30 in the morning (amazing achievement this late in the morning). We stayed at the Nairn Falls campground which is located just south of Pemberton, BC and only 15 minutes north of Whistler. The spot was gorgeous, with a raging opaque-turquoise river running by and many hiking/biking trails to explore directly from the campground.
Our spot was so incredible that we had five other campers ask us when we were leaving and if they could take our site. The first gentleman to approach us was Chris. He turned out to be a super nice guy and a local that gave us loads of tips for the area as well as new areas to explore in Washington. He even offered us his cabin in Glacier, WA to stay at (see more on this below).
6. Backpacking to Wedgemount Lake
This was such an epic overnight backpacking trip it has it’s own blog (soon to come!). Check out this photo as a sneek peak into how beautiful it was!
7. Mountain Biking in Squamish and Whistler
The biking in both Squamish and Whistler is incredible! Many consider this area to the best mountain biking destination in North America. If you are a mountain biker add these two locations to your bucket list. The trails are flowy and full of features and twisty turns throughout.
8. Making New Friends and Rock Climbing in Squamish
It’s amazing how quickly you can make new friends when traveling. You meet other travelers and somehow you create a bond quickly and before you know it you’re out doing fun activities together. We met Slava and Rhiannon while they were eating a “homemade” dinner on a old dock in Squamish. Slava offered beers and the conversation started flowing. We then bumped into them along with our “old friends”, David & Tracey, in a coffee shop the following day. Slava was determined to boulder that day and asked if we wanted to join. We packed up in about 60 seconds, piled into a van (the 6 of us), and headed for the climbing spot!
9. Swimming in Mountain Lakes
Diving into the icy cold waters in a high alpine lake being fed by a glacier is surreal. It feels especially good on a warm sunny day and is absolutely invigorating! We only last a few minutes in the water at best.
10. Going BIG in Vancouver
Possibly the best dinner of our lives! This was such a treat and a night to remember it has it’s own blog posting. Check it out here.
11. Biking Vancouver
The city is gorgeous and best explored on a bicycle. We rode the paved path through Stanley Park and around the perimeter of the city. We made sure to stop for sushi for lunch and gelato for dessert.
12. Mountain Biking Galbraith – Bellingham, Wa
Another amazing area for mountain biking. The trails have more twisty tight turns than we have ever done before. Great place to practice your maneuvering skills.
13. Exploring Mount Baker
Thank you to our new friend Chris who recommended we explore the Mount Baker area! We found a true gem in Washington and North America. This area is incredible! It’s gorgeous, full of incredible hikes, and overall not too crowded.
14. Staying in Our New Friend’s Cabin
This was a crazy experience that comes with the flexibility of long-term travel. We met a guy in Whistler, Chris, who told us about this area in Washington we had never heard of and offered us his cabin. We showed up and he gave us a key, so we let ourselves in. It was perfect! This awesome little cabin in the tiny town of Glacier allowed us take hot showers and cook a nice meal using a real kitchen! It was great! Thank you Chris!
15. Watching the Sunset Over the Ocean
Now that we are on the coast we try to catch the sunset as many evenings as we can. One of our favorites was a cool spot at Dogfish Point just south of Bellingham, Washington. These are the moments we sit back and appreciate how lucky we are to be on this adventure.
16. Exploring the North Cascades and Hwy 20 Scenic Drive
Driving the Highway 20 loop in Washington is gorgeous! The loop takes you through the North Cascades National Park, up into the mountains, through the old western town of Winthrop, through miles and miles of fruit orchards, then into the Bavarian style city of Leavenworth, and finally back around to the greater Seattle area. One highlight of this loop is hiking the Enchantments in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
17. Eating Fresh Fruit in Washington
We had been driving through miles and miles of fruit filled orchards when we came to a roadside fruit stand. We pulled over and stocked up on apples, plums, pears, peaches, and nectarines. All the fresh produce came directly from the farms surrounding us and were literally the best pieces of produce we have ever eaten, especially the pears!
18. Exploring Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park is enormous! We arrived at the visitor center and instantly were overwhelmed by all the places we wanted to visit. During our visit we were able to squeeze in a sunrise in the high alpine, a backpacking trip along the coast, and a hike in the rain forest. All spectacular and unique!
One big lesson we have learned from this trip is that you just can’t see and do everything in every location. There is seriously too much! We both get excited about exploring a new area and wish we could stay and do it all, but with our vague timeline we simply don’t have time. We could easily spend multiple days, weeks, probably even months in many of the places we visited during the month of August. We hit some highlights and kept moving. We know we only got a taste of each of these areas but hope to return to many of them in the future.