I gradually worked my way up into the mountains, still surrounded by forest; the road occasionally rising above the tree line to view the valley I'd just left, trees carpeting the valley floor and creeping up the mountainside, gradually giving way to a little scrubland before the mountains rise steeply to the sky. Maybe a river or mudflats worming through the valley from one end to the other. Sometimes the road winding so much I'd lose sight of it among the trees and have the illusion that I am completely surrounded by mountains, there's no way out, and the world has shrunk to this one small valley.
I had planned to lunch in Tok but numerous road works held me up. I really must learn that this country doesn't care about my plans and schedules. So I just sat back, enjoyed the ride and stopped at the first place that appealed. It was about 40 miles short of Tok and in one of those valleys. It was filled (not hard considering it only took about a dozen people anyway) with locals including four gents who were exactly my idea of old coots, and who took great delight in 'chatting up the young lady'.
I've been travelling steadily north and climbing into the mountains since leaving Seward. At some stage spring had withdrawn and the trees had been again in an uneasy doze. Moving down out of the mountains onto the plains surrounding Tok, spring came again and I feel privileged to have seen it twice this year.
After coffee in Tok I drove straight through to the US/Canada border. I was travelling under the Visa exemption scheme for UK nationals and was supposed to hand in the form, that was clipped to my passport, when leaving. I explained I was going back into Alaska at Skagway so they marked the form for multiple entries and I've just got to remember to hand it in the last time I exit the US. It's valid to July and they impressed on me the importance of not taking it back to the UK with me. Must stick a reminder note somewhere!
And so it was goodbye to Alaska, for now; it's been wonderful!