Short Stories
Entry No. 2 Somewhere between
miles 250 and 300

Scenic Viewpoints In Alaska

So, the way to get around Alaska and even Western Canada is by using a very accurate book called the Milepost which informs the reader of almost every gas station, rest area, convenient store, campground, fishing area, recreation area, etc... If you're looking for something or need a mile marker, you'll find it in the Milepost. Before leaving for the trip, I cut out all of the pages I would need from Fairbanks to Vancouver. Each highway has it's own map, log of mileages from one junction to another, and mileages from a point of interest to another.

Now the most interesting aspect of this book is their idea of a scenic viewpoint. It might be that they are just regurgitating what is actually on the road, but the Milepost will say that it is, in fact, a scenic viewpoint- For example:

"Milepost 116.7- Scenic viewpoint sign."
"Mile post 117.1 - double ended turnout on the east side of road with scenic view out at
Wrangell Mountain Range."

So I find the sign on the road that does in fact show a camera and it will say "scenic viewpoint-1500 Ft." However, when I get to these scenic viewpoints, they are anything but! Even if there was a view in the distance, which sometimes there is, trees are covering it so you can't see anything in the distance. The more amusing part of this is that there are better scenes before and after the scenic viewpoint than at the actual viewpoint. I've learned to stop before to take my picture and then just use the designated scenic viewpoint as a stop to have something to eat.

Now, this is not in all instances, but there were enough to make me really wonder if maybe I should make a stop and take the picture a mile or two before the designated viewpoint. I've learned to look for my own scenic vistas and have been quite satisfied! So, if you are ever in AK and you find yourself using the Milepost, have your camera at the ready just a few miles before you think you'll need it!

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