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The Alaska Highway

Posted By David Mendosa On September 30, 2013 @ 8:34 pm In Photography | 3 Comments

Not until I drove through the province of Alberta, Canada, on my road trip to Alaska did the weather clear. While I avoided the province’s devastating floods, the near constant rain and overcast skies limited my photography. I stayed two nights only a mile from Lake Louise in Banff National Park and hiked from one end of the lake to the other, but didn’t see the sun for more than a couple of minutes.

I especially wanted to see Lake Louise, because my mother had stayed there in 1931 when she came west and met my father. She had told me many times that this was the most beautiful place she ever saw. My mother had undoubtedly stayed at the Chateau Lake Louise, which stands smack-dab on the eastern shore of the lake. No hotel could have a more perfect setting.

The Chateau Lake Louise Dominates the Eastern Shore of the Lake [1]

The Chateau Lake Louise Dominates the Eastern Shore of the Lake

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The hotel now has 554 guest rooms. That’s a lot, and that’s a problem. From the outside, the hotel is worth the many photographs that I took of it. From the inside, the guests were too many, and I’m glad that I stayed a mile away.

When I drove on, I passed through the length of the park as well as through Jasper National Park, which is directly north. Once, when I stopped to use an outhouse along the road, I heard something in the bushes a few feet away. I had my camera with me, because you never know.

If the Deer Were Any Closer, My Lens Would Have Been Too Big [2]

If the Deer Were Any Closer, My Lens Would Have Been Too Big

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I drove on to Dawson Creek in the northwest corner of British Columbia. This town is known for only one thing: the start of the Alaska Highway, once known as the ALCAN highway, The U.S. Army built in at the beginning of World War II to connect the lower 48 to Alaska through Canada. Opened to the public in 1948, it is legendary for being a rough, challenging drive. But except for fewer than 100 miles being resurfaced when I drove it, the highway is now paved.

Standing at Mile Zero on the Alaska Highway [3]

Standing at Mile Zero on the Alaska Highway

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When I reached the start of the Alaska Highway, I had 1,500 miles to go to reach Fairbanks and another 528 miles to get to Nikiski, where my friends Marveen and Wayne live. While it sounds like I had just got started, I had already driven 1,826 miles from Boulder.

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