This one is probably going to be a little shorter. We've been cruising on the Alaska highway and making good progress while doing so. Our legs and our heads are on autopilot most of the time, so the days even start to blur into each other when we try to think back to specific moments. But we'll find something to write about, don't worry!
Rest days are amazing! That's why we took 3 of them in Whitehorse. We stayed with Josef and Dan, two expats from the Czech Republic who settled down in Whitehorse after doing the same trip as we are doing, only they did it from South to North. Josef was really positive about cycling through Mexico. So we are now looking into fitting Mexico into our route as well!
With our legs fully rested and our bellies full of food (we ate so much, you wouldn't believe it if we told you) we continue our journey on the Alaskan highway. A couple of days earlier though, we got the news that there was a big washout on the Alaska highway and that the traffic would have to reroute on the Cassiar highway, which is far more remote and has a lot more climbing. Lucky for us, by the time we left Whitehorse, they fixed the road. A fellow cyclist, who was traveling North, told us he took the Cassiar and that it was really beautiful. Lots of scenery and lots of wildlife. So with that in mind we started reconsidering it, but eventually decided to stick with our plan and follow the Alaska highway.
Because our next "big thing" on our itinerary is Jasper National Park, we figured to put ourselves on autopilot and go a little faster towards Jasper and enjoy more time there. Only the first few days we had some bad headwinds and some climbing. But then afterwards, it was like some kind of cycling karma, we had a few days with practically only downhills and lots of tailwind!
It's funny how fast you get used to certain situations. We were now used to cycling 100+ km a day, with an average speed around 20km/h (because of our good cycling karma). Unfortunately, like everything in life, all things must come to an end. As we neared the Northern Rockie Mountains, our karma turned. The tailwinds evolved to sidewind and very quickly to headwind. Combine this with some hills and you feel like you're standing still. That takes a toll on your mindset! You're working really hard but feel like you're not making any progress...
There must be a life lesson in there somewhere! Something like: don't become too accustomed to a certain situation. Bring some variation in your life, get out of your comfort zone once in a while. Because at some point it might change and you'll have trouble adjusting to it. That sounds pretty good, right? Let's go with that for now.
Enough philosophy, back to cycling stories. We took another rest day at the Liard hot spring. And wow, they were hot indeed! The water temperature ranged from 36 to 52°C (!!!). There's one downside though. Because the hot spring flows into a swamp area, it's mosquito paradise over there. We thought we saw the worst of it in the Arctic Circle, but there it was way worse! Luckily, people are much nicer than mosquitos (in general). On our second day there, we were preparing our lunch on a picnic table, we were wearing our hoodies, long pants (even though it was 25°C outside) and our headnets. And a couple just came over and offered us their dining tent, which basically is a big tent with mosquito net walls which we could put over the picnic table. So thank you to that couple (we forgot to ask their names...), you really made our day!
Now that we've been further along the Alaska highway, we definitely don't regret taking it instead of the Cassiar highway. We're in Fort Nelson right now and the past few days have been absolutely beautiful! The mountains are amazing and we've also seen a decent amount of wildlife (including multiple bears, moose and mountain goats). We heard the part South of Fort Neslon is a bit less beautiful, but that's ok. We can put ourselves into autopilot again and hope for good cycling karma!
So it didn't turn out to be a shorter blog after all! Now, for us, it's fast forward to Jasper National Park. There, Fien's sister Jenne and here boyfriend Jonas are coming to visit us. So we'll take a break from cycling and explore the Canadian Rockies on foot for a while. We are really looking forward to that!!!
For pictures go HERE