After our long road trip with thousands of kilometers, we went to the local animal shelter in order to realize the quite spontaneous idea to adopt a dog. The “Humane Society” in Dawson which was placed outside of the town, looked inconspicuous and a bit down-and-out. We went in and some cats received us. There were also some dogs outside. Two or three of them were available for adoption whereas the other were there just for spending their holidays. And then this blue-eyed, clumsy and short-legged husky appeared. It turned out that he was already full-grown and had his short legs from his mother, a corgi. His exclusive appearance had something bizarre, different and definitely special. Surprisingly, this six months old guy reacted to his name “Jake“, whenever he was called during our “test walk”. Without exaggerating, this guy conquered our hearts and after one day of consideration, we decided to adopt him.
A dog as a new travel buddy
The adoption was quite cheap, because the price was 130 dollars including all vaccinations plus a small “starter package” like a leash or collar. What made our decision to adopt him pretty easy was not only his charismatic appearance. Also, we thought that we couldn`t do anything wrong. If everything works well, we keep him. If not, we would bring him to another shelter. That would not have been bad, because he would have seen so many different places and the next owner would not have had any concerns about vaccinations or papers.
The one employee asked us, if we ever made any experiences with a dog. Of course. Not. Absolutely not. But I said yes. What else should I say in such a situation? Imagine, you see some young (20 and 19 years old) tourists from Germany that look more like potatoes than dog experts entering your shelter and who want to adopt one of your dogs. Would YOU say okay? In particular, when the two never had a one? This could bring you to the limits of your tolerance. But it worked and that`s great (a few years later I let her know about Jake and she was really happy). We couldn`t believe it, but now we had one more little bread bin in our car.
With a short-legged Husky through a crazy Alaska
In my opinion, you should never take any route twice when you travel. That`s why we decided to take a detour via Alaska before going back to the south of Canada. We left Jake`s hometown where the Klondike River flows into the Yukon River and took the ferry to the other side.
Soon, we already arrived the US-American border of the most northern federal state, Alaska. Surprisingly, the border control was quite relaxed (okay, what kind of terrorist conquers the border from Canada to Alaska to blow a tree?). In contrast, the street was anything but relaxed. You can rarely drive faster than 30 km/h, because otherwise you would destroy all axes of your car. But who cares about the speed when you drive on the Top of the World Highway. Its endless views definitely feel like you were driving on the top of the world.
Sometime we made a break in the middle of nowhere. Far and wide no civilization, so I just walked down the street to spend some fluid to the plants. I do that and want to turn around, when someone from a hill calls “What ya doin here?!“. In Alaska, “someone” isn`t just someone. This “someone” was an older man with a shotgun in his hands. Or was it a hunting rifle? Well, I didn`t give a shit, because I just wanted to leave. I just said something like “nothing, nothing, sorry” and turned around in order to get back to the car. While doing so, I just hoped to not get shot in the middle of nowhere. But as you assume, everything went well, because I am just typing those words into my laptop. Generally, I am an open-minded person and like people, but after pissing on someone`s land I prefer to not have much to do with the owner.
One night in Alaska…
We continued our journey and sometime it took hours, until we saw another car. It turned night and we moved on contrary to our self-imposed rule to only drive during the day, because
a) you wouldn`t be fucked completely when your car has a breakdown and
b) you could marvel at the beautiful landscapes.
The reason for our night trip was that we had to be in Whitehorse the next day in order to get Jake`s necessary vaccinations and papers. At around 3 am in the morning, we saw a transporter lying skewed at the roadside. The scenery now was very flat, like a stone desert. No tress, no animals, nothing. The transporter got closer and I assumed that someone`s car had a breakdown. As I was driving slowlier, I saw around 10 men standing behind the car. I lowered the window and stopped behind the car and discovered what was in it. While I was realizing that there was a whole weapon arsenal in the transporter, I asked them like a stupid moron if they need help. One of the guys replied quite clearly that I should leave now, which I did with joy. Just to be sure, I tested how good the acceleration of the 190 horsepower was.
But what has happened here? In the middle of nowhere in Alaska, 10 men stood behind an apparantly broken car that was filled with so many weapons that even John Wayne would have applaused. Was it an illegal arms deal? If so, how are you making an appointment where you have no point of orientation? And why were there more people than one van can transport? This was surely one of the weirdest experiences I ever made and I still cannot explain myself what was going on there.
The king of the wilderness
The tour in Alaska came to an end, but there were two more highlights to follow. At dawn I discovered something in the bushes close to the street. We already saw some animals like elks, bisons or black bears, but this moment beat all previous ones. It was a grizzly bear! He was a bit away but still recognizable.
A little bit later, Alaska showed us its true beauty. Big lakes with mountains in the background, like one pictures Alaska to oneself. On that route, there was something like a cyclepath between the road and lake. Nothing special, until we saw another grizzly. It just walked along the cycle path and parallely, I could film from like 10 meters away (Caution: never use technical devices while driving!). The pictures speak for themselves, but still it is so much more intense in reality. So close to the king of the wilderness.
Right after the boarder to Canada, we saw another grizzly and consequently, that trip was an unbelievable and intense experience. By the way, so was it for Jake, who stayed awake for the whole trip from Dawson City via Alaska to Whitehorse.