I got down to my hostel reception at around 7:00am. The guy on reception, who was going to phone for a cab for me, wasn't around and so he told me yesterday to knock on his door and wake him ... and knock I did. After about 10 minutes on continual knocking panic set in ... I had to at my pick-up point (Inlet Towers Hotel) for 7:30am or else I might miss the pick-up. Eventually he got up and called me a cab, which arrived within a minute (I was amazed).
- 2 English people (Alex and I)
- 1 Welsh (George)
- 3 Dutch (Constantine, Sandra who was quite good looking and someone else I can't remember the name of)
- 1 German (antjia)
- 1 Irish (Linda)
- 5 Colonials (Bradford, Gwendolin and Launa who were triplets and Chuck and Jonathan)
- and our colonial tour guide (Eddie).
All of the people were great but I immediately hit it off with George and became good friends almost instantly. Eddie needed us to fill out some paper work before we headed out which included my passport details and travel insurance details ... no problem.
Okay so I forgot to print off my travel insurance details ... still never mind I'll use the hotels internet, log onto my hotmail e-mail account, and download my insurance details .... Simples ... oh so I can't download documents onto the hotels computer. Once again panic set in as the only option available to me was to fire up my own netbook which isn't the quickest machine in the world (In fact I was contemplating whether it was quicker to go back to the the STA in Nottingham, UK and pick up a copy). Needless to say I was last to get ready ... great start.
It was quite strange on the van for the first time; I was expecting silence with the occasional chat, however it seemed we all got on straight away and we were all trying to find out as much about each other as possible. After about half an hour we stopped at a 'Fred Meyers' store for people to purchase out-door gear, food and anything else people might need. I was pretty much 'wet weathered up' but I thought I would look for waterproof trousers ... oh and I needed some breakfast as well as I hadn't had any. I went around the store with George and it must have been the most complicated layout known to man. Firstly I hate shopping, but when a store assistant advised us that the chocolate was located with the nappies on isle 13 we were completely confused. Needless to say, I didn't find any waterproof trousers let alone find the price, however I did find the guns and ammunition located between the frozen meat (nice that!).
After the stop we then got back in the van (which is really tight with everyone in it) and off to our first location ... Wrangell-St Ellias. The trip took us, with frequent 'snack and bathroom stops', all day. The final 2 hours was on a road with no concrete and therefore it got a little bumpy. The view was okay, but with it raining and the clouds being so low we couldn't see much.
Arriving at the campsite it was raining quite heavily ... brilliant, putting tents up in the rain (I knew there was a reason I said a few years ago that I would never go camping again). Our campsite was in the trees, so that gave a little protection but not allot. We were located really closely to a river with mountains in the background; due to being so close to water there were quite a few mosquito's around. That night we had Tacos (Fajitas to you and me) and talked to a lady about the activities planned for tomorrow; Ice climbing, glacier walk and a tour of an old mine. The Ice climbing was around £100 + tip and the glacier walk was £70.00 + tip ... no thank you. In Canada I did a glacier walk for around half that price and I ain't getting ripped off sunshine. Most of the group, all bar me and the triplets, signed up for an activity (including the guide) where as I would be making my own entertainment tomorrow.
After tea, and setting up the tents, we headed into town (when I say town, I mean 4 buildings, 2 cars, 3 sheds and loads of livestock) to find a bar for a drink. The pool table was free and so George and I had a couple of games.
We then headed back to our tent, in the rain, to sleep ... joy oh joy!