Leg 1, July 2021: Montreal to Anchorage
Leg 1, July 2021: Montreal to Anchorage
Leg 1, July 2021: Montreal to Anchorage
Leg 1, July 2021: Montreal to Anchorage
Leg 1, July 2021: Montreal to Anchorage

Leg 1, July 2021: Montreal to Anchorage

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A Road Trip from Canada to Patagonia- Vagabjorn style

The first leg, or first part, of this trip, is a trans Canadian road trip. We leave the home base of Montreal to the West on a sunny summer day.

The plan: head to Alaska to hike the Stampede Trail to the Magic Bus, camp in National Parks on the way, swim in ice cold rivers and eat food on the fire. Simple living. Loop back through the Rockies before starting the descent to South America.

This implies that we will cross Canada, at least from Montreal to Calgary, if not all the way to British Columbia, Yukon, and Alaska, which are lovely at that time of the year. 

What factors in: who joins, how many cars are heading West at that time, unforeseen events (keep in mind this one applies on the whole itinerary). If curious about more details, please ask us.

Date of departure: unknown (around the first of July at the earliest for an Alaska adventure, around mid July for a Vancouver taster, early August if going straight to Calgary).

What sort of experience can you expect? In the second biggest country on Earth, a road trip takes on a new meaning. Driving a couple of hours to enjoy a favored piece of pie is not rare. The abundance of wildlife, wonders, breathtaking views, and camping spots are a fraction of its beauty.

"Yes... but what will I see? What places will we go through? What's the itinerary?", I hear you asking. 

Here’s a rough draft, which is 100% going to differ when the time comes.

1JUL: Leaving Montreal to La Macaza, sleep at Tom’s cottage for a couple of nights, visit Mont-Tremblant on the way. A couple of hours worth of drive North.

3JUL: Spend a few hours on the road and reach Parc National de La Verendrye, a real gem. We have 1200kms until Thunder Bay, the next “checkpoint”.

4JUL: Drive a few hundred kilometers, still North, up to the vicinity of Iroquois Falls.

5JUL: Headed West, we could drive up to 800 kms in the day to build more time for somewhere else or stop in between, by a lake or a river

6JUL: Still on the road. We should be in Thunder Bay or past it already.

7JUL: Expecting to be around Dryden or in Winnipeg, capital of Manitoba depending of the pace. Winnipeg is 750km from Thunder Bay

8JUL: Driving the last few kilometers to or in Winnipeg already, for 2 or 3 nights.

10JUL: Leaving Winnipeg, we take highway 16 (called the Yellowhead pass, it’s the other, original trans Canadian” highway). It leads to Edmonton. It has many authentic villages dispersed in the vast land dubbed The Prairies. It makes for better pit stops among the interminable wheat fields, in comparison to the 1 headed to Calgary.

From Winnipeg to Edmonton is approximately 1000km. We would go through Saskatoon, largest city in Saskatchewan (it’scute).

14JUL: Driving past Edmonton and headed North West. Seeing the Rockies from afar, not to worry, we will spend a good 4 or 5 days driving through the Icefields Parkway (Jasper to Banff) on our way back from Alaska and BC.

17JUL: 2000km later, after as much forest as there was prairies, we arrive in Whitehorse, capital of Yukon, where we will stay a couple of nights to rest. Ridiculously small city, quick to visit.

20JUL: Dawson City, 530km from Whitehorse. We will stay there for 4 nights; you will wish it were more. It’s the far West, the side walks are wood planks, the streets are packed sand and earth, it’s like no other place. Around the city (it’s a town), there are goldmines to go visit, rivers to go canoed on, hikes to be planned, personalities to be met (the people that get up there have stories to tell!).

25JUL: Drive through the Top of the World highway to get into Alaska. Simply majestic. Get as far as Chicken (cool place).

26JUL: 280 miles (450 km) from Chicken, we arrive in Fairbanks. From here, we can drive 800km North to go swim in the Beaufort Sea, which is part of the Arctic Ocean. (Factor in roughly 5 days and minimum 200USD, at best)

27-28JUL: Head out of Fairbanks, direction Healy! A short scenic drive (180km), we arrive at the very humble hometown of famed artist Portugal The Man, where we start preparation for the Magic Bus hike totalling 40km.

28JUL-2AUG: The hike, with a full day at the bus to rest and chill before walking another 20km back.

3AUG: Drive down to Denali National Park, where we can see the highest mountain in North America. We might go take a lookat what base camp looks like, if we get curious enough. Fun fact, the mountain has more elevation (more meters to climb) than Everest, albeit being lower in altitude.

5AUG: Depending on how much we enjoy the national park, we make our way through down to Anchorage for a quick visit and perhaps an airport run.