Border Foods

2011 09 16 Tok AKOur last day in Alaska and now we’ve seen it all. As we’ve been going along we’ve seen a ton of animals and we were very much hoping to see a bull moose at some point. Today, we did. Though it was not what we were expecting…

WARNING: The following is slightly graphic.

We found some native hunters on the side of the road who had just shot a moose. In Alaska this is a way of life – from one moose you can get 2000 lbs of meat. This will last you through the winter and can be shared easily with a number of families.

2011 09 16 Roadside
2011 09 16 Hide removal  Graphic2011 09 16 Set for the winter  GraphicIn talking to the natives we found that they would pretty much use the whole animal. Eating the stomach, liver and heart, and drying the hide for personal use or sale. It also wasn’t as gruesome as expected once you think of it in the context that it’s just how you survive out here – you cut your own fire wood, you hunt your own food, and do whatever else to keep cost of living down.

2011 09 16 Life in Alaska  GraphicWe pressed on to the border after our little experience – feeling like we were lucky, in a sense, to get to see that side of life.

2011 09 16 Border boundOur crossing was fairly standard – though, I think the agent was really considering pulling us to the side. A bright orange van from the 70’s has to be full of illicit substances right? The natives we met earlier very were certain that it was.

Before we made it to the border we got some gas at the last chance station, 40 miles before. In addition to gas, we ate all the foods they are likely to confiscate from us – this means citrus and tomatoes. I ate the orange and Andrew got the tomato. We are pretty much out of food, so the lonely tomato was eaten like the proper fruit it is.

2011 09 16 TomatoWhile we were finishing up at the station, some folks came in asking for a carwash – apparently they had just tried to cross the border and were denied entry to Canada for having to much mud on their trailer and ATV. That’s a new one.

2011 09 16 Welcome backAbout 20 miles separate the control gates between the American and Canadian borders. The road between them, is rough. On our way, we got stopped by construction to which the sign lady informed us “it’s about a 15 to 10 to 20 minute wait”. Very helpful. When we drove through the ‘construction’ 15 minutes later, we couldn’t figure out what the hold up was. No visible work was being done on the road, and workers were even present. All we could think were those poor ATV guys – not only did they have to drive a total of 120 miles extra to get from the border, to the nearest carwash, to the boarder again, but they likely got caught in the same needless traffic. Adding insult to injury, there is a gas station just 2 kms down the road on the Canadian side that you can see from the border crossing. Poor guys.

2011 09 16 Many mountainsWe made a stop in that very same station and picked up some pricey ketchup chips to satisfy a month long craving Andrew has been having. We don’t generally eat chips but one day Andrew decided he wanted chips, specifically those which are ketchup flavoured. We’ve been keeping an eye out for them for a while and weren’t able to find any. Americans are just not into it, but they don’t know what they’re missing..

2011 09 16 Ketchup chipsFurther down the road we spotted another bull moose, this one was alive and well (albeit blurry).

2011 09 16 Bull Moose Crossing2011 09 16 Into the woodsWe covered some good ground and found a gas station near Destruction Bay for some gas, a shower and some dinner. We kept going for a little while making it to the outskirts of Haines Junction before calling it quits. We’re now back in Pacific Time so we’ve lost an hour of good drivable time.

2011 09 16 Nest2011 09 16 Harvest moonOverall, we thoroughly enjoyed our time in Alaska – the people, the food, drink and hospitality were all fabulous. But still, it really does feel good to be back in Canada. The scenery at this point is very similar to what we’ve been seeing but as soon as we crossed the border we noticed the subtle but immediate changes that make the difference – roadside garbage cans, for example. Alaska, for whatever reason is devoid them…