Rocky Road trip: into the Rocky Mountains up to Alaska - June to November 2014

Nov 15: our eBook is on Amazon!

Our first book is now available on Amazon!
The book details the preparation, experiences, campsite info, and recommendations of our 150-day road trip into Mexico and Central America. It also showcases about 130 full color images taken on this trip.

To order the book, click here to go to the Amazon.com store.

The book is currently only available for the Kindle reader (or, it also works if you have the Kindle app on your iPad or other tablet). The eBook format for other tablets (PDF) is coming soon as well as the normal paperback book.

Please check it out and let me know what you think! A review on Amazon is greatly appreciated as well as telling all your friends! :-)

Write A Comment


 

Oct 15 - Nov 14: back in Texas

And so our "Rocky Road Trip" comes to an end. We're in San Antonio, Texas for a while to try and decide what to do in the future ... Move and find a job; travel more or combine travel and work by selling photography along the way?

We've been busy writing our book about our 5 month Central American adventure and the book is currently in editing. If everything goes well, the book will be published in 3-4 weeks, around mid November!

In the meantime, here are the latest picture galleries from the road trip heading south to Texas from Alaska:

Colorado Rockies in October (bugling elk)
Grand Teton and Yellowstone area in September (moose, bears, ...)
Canadian Rockies in September (bighorn sheep)
Here's the video I made in September of the spawning salmon, up in Alaska:

... more info on the future coming soon ...

Write A Comment


 

Tuesday Sep 30 - Oct 15: Wyoming to Colorado

We left Grand Teton national park on Tuesday in the direction of Dubois and Riverton.
We hoped to see some bighorn sheep along the way; especially in the Dubois area; but didn't get to see any. We slept at the Wal-Mart in Riverton (horrible yes, but free!) and headed south into Colorado.
We entered Colorado in the Rockies and spent a few nights in the national forest near the Red Feather lakes: cold (close to freezing at night) but beautiful.

This time of the year is mating season for the elk so we headed towards Estes Park and Rocky Mountain national park. We spent about a week here taking pictures of the bugling elk; we stayed in the national forest outside of Estes Park near the Big Elk Meadows.

Since Haichong needed to assist her parents with a doctor's appointment in mid October, we headed further south into Texas where we arrived on October 15.
Along the way, we spent a few days in the Great Sand Dunes national park and preserve and the Kiowa national grasslands: both beautiful areas.

Write A Comment


 

September 15 - 30: Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton

Update Tuesday 9/30: we're leaving Grand Teton national park this morning and are heading east towards Dubois and Riverton, and then possibly into Colorado. Heading south as the winter is arriving up north!
I'm working on editing the pictures of the past weeks. As usual, check the Facebook page for some of the latest pictures.
Here's a picture of the beautiful fall colors in the Tetons, taken a few days ago:

Update Thursday 9/25: after spending 4 days in Yellowstone, we have now spent the past 5 days in Grand Teton national park. It's still very warm here for the time of year, which makes most of the animals bed down during the day; but the aspen trees are beautiful as we hit the 'peak' time a few days ago.

The border crossing back into the U.S. was remarkably easy. Not bad for a change as the immigration officer usually asks a lot of questions; makes us get out of the car for fingerprints and pictures (due to our Green Card) and sometimes even involves a search of our RV ...

After a quick visit to Glacier national park and the "Going-to-the-sun road"; during which we didn't get to see any wildlife; we headed southeast to the city of Great Falls.

We stopped at the Dodge dealer in Bozeman, Montana for some needed truck repairs on Monday and arrived in Yellowstone on Tuesday, September 16.

Upon checking our email in the small town of West Yellowstone, we received an email from Truck Camper Magazine that they had published an article about our travels: click here to read the article.

Write A Comment


 

September 3 - 14: Canadian Rockies

We left Hyder, Alaska in the afternoon and crossed the border into Canada. About an hour inland, we spent the afternoon and next morning photographing the grizzly bears who flock to Hanna creek to feast on the local sockeye salmon run. We got to see many bears catch the (amazingly) red-colored sockeyes.

After an overnight stop in Smithers and Prince George, we arrived in the Canadian Rocky Mountains; in search for wildlife.
We were expecting to spend 2-3 weeks traveling through the Canadian Rockies but an early COLD winter storm pushed us south. We spent 4 days in Jasper national park; drove the Icefields Parkway to enter Lake Louise and Banff national park (3 days) and then headed south as fast as we could to escape the cold, to end up for 2 more days in Waterton national park (just north of the U.S. border).

The winter storm was great in that we got to experience the scenery and hiking trails covered in snow but the freezing temperatures weren't pleasant for camping (especially for our RV's water tank!).


Haichong at Lake Louise (Banff national park)

During our 11 days in the mountains, we saw many bighorn sheep and 1 moose, but unfortunately no bears or (bugling) elk. Hopefully we'll have better luck on our way south through Yellowstone/Grand Teton/Colorado!

Write A Comment


 

Sunday August 3 - September 3: Hyder, Alaska

We are back in Hyder, Alaska to witness the spawning salmon (chum and pink salmon) in Fish Creek, in the Tongass National Forest.
We'll be staying here a few weeks to photograph the wolves, brown and black bears that try to catch the salmon. Amazing scenery here in between the coastal mountains of Alaska!

Update Saturday, August 9: end of the first week here in Hyder. We've seen many brown bears, black bears with cubs and one wolf (who returned to the creek for two days in a row).
I posted some pictures on my photography Facebook page at www.facebook.com/vangophotos

More pictures are available in the Gallery: I'll keep adding new pictures as I process the pictures over the next weeks.


Detail of a brown bear's foot as he walked through Fish Creek searching for salmon
Thanks to Duane Starr for allowing me to use his 800mm lens to get this shot!

Update Monday September 1: we've been in Hyder for almost a month now and are planning to leave in the next 2-3 days. It's been pretty quiet the 2nd half of August as the bears seem to have shifted to eating the ripened berries around the creek.
Once we leave Hyder, we're planning on heading east towards the Canadian Rockies into Jasper and Banff national parks for a few weeks.


Comments

Write A Comment


 

Monday July 28 - Saturday August 2: up to Alaska!

We left Grand Teton on Sunday and headed north; through Yellowstone; into Montana.
On the way through Yellowstone, we saw lots of wildlife. (a grizzly bear, a black bear with 3 cubs, etc.)

We made our way up into Canada and visited Mount Revelstoke and (Canada's) Glacier national parks. Beautiful mountain scenery!

Kamloops >>> Williams Lake >>> Prince George >>> Smithers >>> Stewart >>> Hyder, Alaska.

Write A Comment


 

Friday June 27 - Sunday July 27: Grand Teton national park

Since Jackson Hole with its Grand Teton national park is one of our favorite nature areas in the entire USA, we decided to spend a full month here!
We stayed at the "Teton Range RV resort", just outside the park at Moran Junction.
From our campsite, we had a beautiful view towards the Tetons: a very pointy and dramatic collection of mountains.


Mount Moran at sunrise

We spend our days here driving around the area (including some visits to Yellowstone national park) around sunrise and/or sunset to look at the views and the wildlife.
On one of our visits to the Yellowstone area, we spotted wolves and even a grizzly eating a bison carcass!

Click here for our pictures of Grand Teton national park

Click here for our pictures of Yellowstone national park

Write A Comment


 

Thursday June 26: Green River, Wyoming

Time for another stay in an RV park as Belgium played against South Korea in the World Cup: friendly rivalry in our household as I'm Belgian and Haichong is Korean!
Belgium beat South Korea 1-0; onto the knock-out rounds!

Write A Comment


 

Tuesday June 24 - Wednesday June 25: Flaming Gorge, Utah

Just like on our trip to the Arctic last year, we headed into the Flaming Gorge area for a few nights this year. We slept in the national forest next to the gorge. Very scenic mountain area: we got to see elk and moose on our hikes.

Write A Comment


 

Monday June 23: Wild Horse Area, Colorado

About an hour northeast of the town of Dinosaur (where they dig up dino bones) lies a large area, managed by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management). Here, a 'herd' of wild horses lives freely.

We drove the dirt road into the area and camped next to the only remaining watering hole: a small pond where all the local wildlife comes to drink!

Click here for our pictures of the wild horses

We saw pronghorn and many wild horses. Sophie had fun chasing the horses and being chased, as the horses were defending their newborns!

If you decide to visit, be careful of biting flies: they're everywhere!

Write A Comment


 

Sunday June 22: Dinosaur, Colorado

We headed north from Grand Junction into some beautiful, dry mountain scenery: kind of a mix between Colorado and typical Utah scenery.

We hiked around the boulders and rocks in the afternoon.

Click here for some pictures of the road trip through Colorado

Write A Comment


 

Saturday June 21: Grand Junction, Colorado

We slept at the KOA RV park in Grand Junction for the simple reason that they provide a TV hookup. We watched the game and left town as soon as we could: we much more prefer to sleep in the national forest ...

That being said: Belgium beat Russia 1-0!

Write A Comment


 

Friday June 20: Glenwood Springs, Colorado

With another Belgian World Cup game fast approaching, we headed into the national forest between Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction. We spent the night with only the distant sounds of cows.

Write A Comment


 

Thursday June 19: Crested Butte, Colorado

We headed further north, into an area of Colorado that we hadn't visited before: Crested Butte, mainly famous as a ski resort in winter.

I was blown away! As you approach the town, you enter a flat valley, surrounded on all sides by dramatic, snow-topped mountains: amazing scenery.
The town itself is in great shape: no rundown, ugly buildings. You can tell there's money here.

We headed into the mountains again on a dirt road and found a place to sleep for the night in the national forest. We saw a coyote, a beaver, several mule and a herd of elk.

Write A Comment


 

Wednesday June 18: Ouray, Colorado

We left Silverton on Tuesday and headed, through Ouray; one of our favorite mountain towns in the US); back into the national forest. We drove the 4x4 road over "Owl Creek pass": there was still snow next to the road on the summit, it got cold at night!

It's amazing how many dirt roads there are to explore in western USA. Compared to Texas, it's amazing to travel around in states like Colorado.

Write A Comment


 

Monday June 16 - Tuesday June 17: Silverton, Colorado

Sunday was game day: Belgium beat Algeria 1-0!

From Durango, we drove the "million dollar highway" between Durango and Silverton: beautiful mountain scenery. We found an RV park that offered a TV hookup (so I could watch the game) in Silverton, at 9,308 ft (2,837 m). Freezing at night but warm during the day.
The town itself is a nice, old mining town. The town survives to this day thanks to the scenic steam train that runs several times daily between Durango and Silverton, bringing fresh train loads of tourists into town!

Click here for our pictures of the steam train between Durango and Silverton

Write A Comment


 

Saturday June 14 - Sunday June 15: Pagosa Springs, Colorado

On Saturday and Sunday, we camped at the national forest in between the mountain towns of Pagosa Springs and Durango, Colorado.
A few miles west of Pagosa Springs, we drove a 13 mile dirt road into the mountains. Needless to say, it was very quiet at night! We spent our days hiking and exploring the forest, but didn't see any big wildlife.

Write A Comment


 

Thursday June 12 - Friday June 13: Conejos river, New Mexico

We drove the scenic "High road" into the mountain town of Taos this morning. On Friday was the first World Cup game, so we looked around Taos for an RV park where we could watch it. To our surprise, we didn't find a park with TV hookup!
We headed northwest for an hour into Colorado. Here we found a campground that at least had a club house with a big screen TV, where I could watch the game!
We stayed at the "Conejos river campground" for 2 nights. Very nice location as the campground is located in a valley, with national forest area right outside the back gate!
We saw several mule deer in the area.

Write A Comment


 

Wednesday June 11: Taos, New Mexico

On Wednesday, we headed further north into the Rocky Mountains between Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico. We turned into a dirt road into the mountains and found a camping spot in the national forest: very quiet and next to a mountain stream. We spent the afternoon hiking in the forest and had our first camp fire of this trip in the evening.
Because of the altitude, it got pretty chilly at night, close to freezing!

Write A Comment


 

Monday June 9 - Tuesday June 10: San Antonio, Texas to New Mexico

Returning from Central America and driving back into Texas makes you realize how boring Texas actually is: hot and mostly flat, not to mention (as most of the USA) a lack of old culture. For someone who loves decent temperatures, mountains and wildlife, Texas has little to offer ... so we left Haichong's parents home in San Antonio after only 2 days and headed to the Rockies!

As we're planning to spend the summer months in the Rocky Mountains this year, we headed west on I-10.
We found a place to camp, surrounded by oil rigs, just outside of Fort Stockton, TX. Since most land in Texas is privately owned (there's hardly any public lands, such as BLM or National Forest, in Texas), it's surprisingly hard to find a 'legal' spot for wild camping.

The next morning, we drove into New Mexico and camped at a state park, north of Roswell: "Oasis state park".
The name would imply that this is a very nice park. The reality is that this is a very small park; surrounded by stinky cattle lots; containing a very small lake in which swimming is not allowed.

Write A Comment


 

Want a copy of our pictures ?

Order your favorite pictures today !

Browse Pictures

To The Top