Healy – Talkeetna – Anchorage, Alaska, USA – Day 5-6 – 2019


Since we had a sick traveller, we took it a little easier this morning. Also, Raptors had won the championship and back in Toronto, they were hosting the huge parade so we all tuned in for that.

We took our time and slowly made our way back to Healy. We stopped by Roadhouse in downtown Talkeetna for breakfast – no tipping required as the fee is included in the fee. I got the biscuit and gravy. We shared a nutty cinnamon bun. Great assortment of baked goods and each meal comes with 2 drinks.

We walked around the general area and ended up going to the Talkeetna Historical Society – $5 to go through the museum that is located in an old schoolhouse. We stayed around to listen to one of the guys who have climbed Mount Denali. The talk went on for about 40 minutes and then we decided it was time to leave and begin our long trek back in the direction of the previous day.

We drove an hour and half north to check out Hurricane Gulch viewpoint. Then onto Denali North Viewpoint – You can definitely skip this lookout point as Denali Viewpoint South is much worthwhile. The rain was on and off during our drive. I feel like this drive in particular was too arduous especially for the views. We spent a lot of time in a car and pretty much just backtracked. We already made the decision not to do big hiking back at Denali especially with one of our people feeling under the weather.

Drove back down to Talkeetna and was trying to get to XY Lake (pass flying squirrel and turn right). We missed it the first time around and ended up at Christensen lake. We dropped off Merle and Kenny back at the cabin as both were now feeling under the weather. We ventured back and found the right entrance to XY Lakes. Once you turn onto the street, the entrance will be on the immediate right side and you follow down the path. The longest of hikes is 5.2 miles around XY lakes.

Once we finished the hike, we went back for Merle & Kenny and went back to downtown Talkeetna for dinner at Denali Brewpub. I got the Belgian beer then split fish and chips with sweet potato wedges as well as a sirloin pretzel dip sandwich with Ryan. The Fish & Chips was better than the sirloin pretzel dip sandwich.

After dinner, we walked over to Fairview Inn which was literally in eye sight distance. They had karaoke that night and Kushaan sang Backstreet Boys. We also were able to play some shuffle board and ping pong before calling it a night.


Since we stayed up late the previous night, we had a late start on our final day. The group went for coffee and tea and spoke with Todd who gave us recommendations for our route back to Anchorage. We took the Hatcher’s Pass route that would take us through the mountains before bringing us back to to the highway that would eventually bring us back to Anchorage. This detoured route took us off-road and it was quite nice to see that hidden route. It did get quite intense though as we started to get higher in elevation and Ryan was driving us into the clouds. It was a literal sheet of white that surrounded us and it didn’t help that the roads were narrow and hard to see metres in front as we ascended. We did see a few people on motorbikes pass up coming from above. We made it to the top of Summit Lake which was 3500+ft above sea level. It would’ve been a beautiful view if the clouds and mist had lifted but the eeriness of the fog made the experience pretty cool on its own.

At this point of the trip, 3 of 5 were sick. We all have been in tight quarters of the car for the week and that cough just started to spread.

Since the detour was a lot slower than we thought, we stopped in Palmer to get the infamous Taco Bell we had been talking about before hitting the road again. Since the weather was much colder than Denali and we had sick people, we continued past Reflection Lake, Mirror Lake and Thunderbird Trail which are apparently great little trails and stops right off the highway.

When we reached Anchorage, we decided to spend the day indoors at the Anchorage Museum. It was such a beautiful Museum with great exhibits. We pitched in $5 extra for the special exhibit – Frozen in Time (Not worth it). The collection of art and the dedication to spotlight Alaskan history was very informative especially coming into Alaska not really knowing anything. Alaska is actually quite the melting pot. Besides the Native Americans that lived there before, there were people from Sudan, Russia, Philippines, Japan, and so on and so forth.

We would have loved to stay longer however we needed to get Ryan to the airport by 630PM and we still had one more place to go before we dropped him off. We went to Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria which apparently has been known to be the #1 pizza in America and we had to try it out. The place is pretty cool. You can sit down and eat, order out and there is also a beer garden area where you can sit in a courtyard and drink and if you do takeout, you can eat there as well. We (Ryan, Kenny, Kushaan and myself) shared the Forager – Mushroom & spinach white pizza – not bad but also not the best pizza I’ve eaten.

Kenny ended off our final meal with a gratitude and appreciation circle where everyone went around our group and you had to name at least one thing you appreciate and/or a funny moment that each person brought to the group. It was a great way to end the trip and made us feel closer especially for strangers coming together in a timespan of 6-7 days from different walks of life to experience Alaska together.

After we dropped off Ryan, the rest of us besides Kenny had a few hours to spare before we also had to get dropped off at the hostel. Once again, the light messed with our sense of time as it was already 7-8PM and we were trying to kill time but majority of establishments were already closed. We went to the park by the Airport where we saw what sort of looked like what I’d imagine a sunset would look like at this time of year. We still had time to kill and found a place called Boba Tree and got a little taste of boba before getting dropped off. I got the Banana & avocado smoothie – $5USD.

The route home such as the route getting to Alaska took us from Anchorage to Seattle to Vancouver before reaching Toronto. It just so happened when we landed in Seattle, I messaged my friend Jenn (who is also a mutual friend with Kenny) just so happen to be flying out that same morning. I caught her for a split second before she had to board her plane enroute to Montreal.

San Francisco – USA – 2014 – Day 1 & 2

San Francisco – 0902-0614

I travelled with 3 friends (Michael H, Michael Y & Courtney) to San Francisco for 5 days and also met up with a few friends (Michael T, Cassie (who now resides in SF), Victor, Crystal, Michelle & Joanna). There was no real itinerary made for this trip however we did purchase the CityPass which is a great solution for first timers who want to see what attractions the city has to offer on a short period of time including unlimited access to buses and streetcars.

NOTE: If you want to goto Alcatraz – BOOK IN ADVANCED!


We flew from Las Vegas to San Francisco after a volleyball tournament. We grabbed a SUV taxi and headed for Japantown. The trio booked a really cool little hotel on Sutter St called Hotel Tomo (1800 Sutter St). Originally when Courtney booked this incredible flight and hotel deal for her and Michael H, it was for a single bed so I had messaged Cassie who had just recently moved there for work and coincidently she lives not even a full block away which made my decision to goto SF finalized because she said I could stay with her.

After settling in and me leaving my stuff in their hotel room, we decided to walk from our location through to Chinatown and find some dinner. We first stopped by a place that sold $1 bubbletea. I had asked Cassie for a recommendation and she mentioned Great Eastern Restaurant (649 Jackson St). The food was good but I think we ordered items off the menu that the restaurant wasn’t known for looking at surrounding tables. We walked back from Chinatown to Japantown which was a decent 30-40 minute walk each way. Good thing the Bay area is a 4×4 grid where everything is relatively close. When we returned to the hotel, I grabbed my things and walked over to Cassie’s. The trio (Cassie, Victor & Michael T) had spent the day doing touristy things when I finally met up with them. We all jumped in and headed out for late night bubble tea at Little Sweet Café (3836 Geary Blvd) and I must say bubble tea aka boba is so cheap in SF! I got the Tie Kuan Yin milk tea which was a little too sweet but it was under $5USD.



Michael T and myself woke up early so we went for a stroll while the couple slept. I was also giving my group ample time to get ready. Cassie recommended Sweet Maple (2101 Sutter St) for breakfast. They have millionaire bacon which is a cured bacon that is featured on “United States of Bacon” of Discovery Network. Thick, free range bacon, baked with brown sugar, cayenne, red and black pepper. I got the Eggs Benedict with maple bacon. We grabbed a taxi right outside the door and off we went to Pier 38. At the pier we also grabbed our Citypass which gave us unlimited bus, free entrance into museums and attractions etc. The Alcatraz audio walking tour was really good as it leads you all the way around with informative stories of the history behind this prison and the life of inmates. Remember to book early if you want to do this tour as it fills up quickly. Alcatraz at night tours fill up months in advance.

We came back to shore and took the old school streetcar to Fisherman’s Wharf and grabbed In-N-Out for lunch. A double double with animal style fries yes please! The aquarium was our next calling. It actually wasn’t the warmest day in San Fran and very windy especially near the pier. We also went the tourist route and went to Pier 39 to see the sea lions. We walked around killing time at the pier as we were meeting Courtney’s uncle and his friend for dinner. We settled on Scoma’s for fresh seafood. Too bad we ate a late lunch at In-N-Out that we weren’t hungry enough to order full meals.

After dinner we parted ways from Courtney’s uncle and friends and followed the light; the lights of the Ghiradelli sign that is. It is pronounced gear-ar-delly. We got ice cream and hot chocolate with sea salt in it at the main store and it was delicious plus chocolate to go!