The Last Frontier

Here it is, the moment you all have been waiting for. The first big Alaskan adventure of my trip. Let me tell you, this first whimsical decision was quite literally spur-of-the-moment. On the sixteenth of July, we finally crossed the Alaskan-Canadian border. We spent the next few days thinking about where to go first. We decided to go to Fairbanks, to get more information about places to go, and wonders to see. This is where my dad learned about one of the most dangerous roads in Alaska that people call “The Haul Road”. My dad, like the adrenaline junkie he is, thought seriously about actually driving it. It’s about 500 miles of dirt road, mountains and snow, north of Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.  The most northward city in America. A 1000 mile round-trip.

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Ice Museum, Chena Hot Springs: by Colleen Ducat 

That night, we stayed in the Chena Hot Springs Resort and Campground, and it just so happened that we met a few people who had just done the haul road themselves; however, the only difference is they had jeeps, but we were driving a large RV with no extra tires, towing a jeep with limited outdoor camping gear. So we took the night to soak in a beautiful hot spring and take a tour of an ice museum and hotel. Complete with apple-tini’s served in a martini glass made out of, yes you guessed it, ice. After a day relaxing and unwinding from being on the road, and thinking about the haul road, we headed back to Fairbanks. Where we decided, now is the time to do it. We were already in Alaska and didn’t know when we would be back, so what was stopping us? Nothing what so ever, because it would be cool just to say we did it. In a split second we were preparing to go north toward the Arctic Ocean. We made sure to get all the right gear and clothing so we would be prepared for anything.

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The jeep is actually red: by Colleen Ducat

It took about five days to do the entire road and within those days, a lot happened. Mud covered vehicles, cracked windshields, 18-wheeler’s driving 80 miles an hour on muddy two-lane roads, snow covered mountain pass, 180 degree view of The Brookes Range, Musk Ox, and walking on the Arctic Ocean for the first time just to mention a few. Now there are only three gas stations on the entire road. The first on the Yukon River, where the prices are sky high. The second is in Coldfoot, Alaska, which is the most northern truck stop in the world– we loved it, and the staff loved us so much that we declared ourselves honorary regulars (we went there only twice). The last is in Prudhoe Bay, so to drive this road, make sure you fill up.

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A walk on the arctic side: by Patrice Ducat

Now when you get to Prudhoe Bay, there is only so much you can do before you turn around: You can visit the general store for all kinds of trinkets, and you can take a tour of the town and go out to the Arctic Ocean provided by Arctic Ocean Shuttle. This is the only way to see the Arctic Ocean in Alaska. There is another way to the Arctic through the Yukon, which is the same kind of road conditions as the Haul Road. We did not do this road, but I heard it has easier access than through Alaska, so take your pick. After we had our fun in Prudhoe Bay, the only thing left to do was turn around and head back the way we came.

 

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Parental Guidance

To start this off right, I need to thank my parents for allowing me to tag along with them. My parents, who are avid travelers and RV enthusiasts, have always wanted to take a road trip to Alaska. Summer, 2018, they finally went through with it, and they asked me if I wanted to go with them. My original plan was to only go as far as Seattle, then head home. I had so much fun driving with them to Colorado, Utah, Oregon, and Washington. I saw so much beauty and country, that I wasn’t ready to leave just yet.
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Cape Flattery, Washington: by Colleen Ducat
Three days before I was set to fly back to Texas, I took a day trip up the coast of Olympic National Park with my dad. We hiked up to Cape Flattery: the most northwest point on the continental United States. Halfway there we took a short break to get food. On the docks of La Push, Washington looking out over the water sat River’s Edge (I recommend the fish and chips). While I stared out a waterfront window at the waves and rocky islands, and relaxed in the peaceful atmosphere, I realized there was so much more beauty out there to see. I knew that I needed to experience more for myself.
So I messaged my boss, posing the hypothetical question about me going to Alaska with my parents. I was on cloud nine when he replied, “just go, your parents are paying for everything anyway.” So it was final and I dropped everything. I canceled the summer class I was going to take and headed to Alaska. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made. This made me realize that you have to experience things when you are young or else you’ll never get the chance. So thanks to my parents, I was able to go on the trip of a lifetime and I am so grateful to them.

 

Alaska On a Whim


My name is Colleen Ducat. I am an advertising major at Texas State University and an adventurer at heart. In this blog, I will talk about spur-of-the-moment traveling. Many people have a deep desire to travel. I want to help those people bring their desires to life.

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Author photo at Portage Lake Glacier, Girdwood, Alaska: by Colleen Ducat

I hope to inspire people to get out there, travel and see the world unplanned. I took a trip to Alaska, which was on a whim. Every place I went was a spur-of-the-moment decision that was worth every minute. I hope to reach people who love to travel and experience incredible things.

I will include national park websites for more information about the different places I’ve seen. I will also show websites of packing lists for the right equipment you may need (I didn’t bring most of these items since I did not plan to go). I will post photos for each place I went to show its beauty. Hopefully, this will inspire you to get out there and explore.