Couple embarks on wilderness voyage from Rutland to Alaska
By Courtney Parker
Staff Writer | March 18,2013
Marv and Susan Elliott PHOTO
Marv and Susan Elliott are shown in Talkeetna, Alaska.
While some might feel homesick leaving their personal lives behind for more than a few days, an adventurous couple from Rutland embarked on a wilderness voyage of a lifetime, road tripping for three months from Rutland to Alaska.
Avid bird watchers Marv and Susan Elliott took to the road on May 30, 2012, and began their drive to Alaska, pulling their travel trailer and capturing the trip through photographs along the way.
Both being members of the Rutland County Audubon Society and retired, they like to spend as much time as possible enjoying all the wilderness has to offer, which is why they chose the Alaskan adventure.
“This was the ultimate wilderness experience,” said Marv of the trip.
In total the couple traveled 13,815 miles, through 10 different states and six provinces, making about 47 stops round trip.
Throughout their journey they spotted more than 230 different species of birds, as well as other animal species such as bears, moose, bald eagles and a variety of plant life.
“We approached each day as if it were a whole new trip,” said Marv. “It made it more of an adventure.”
Stops along the way consisted of lakes, wildlife refuges and national parks.
Denali National Park in Denali, Alaska, Wabamun Lake in Alberta, Canada, and Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge in northeast Alaska were just a few favorite places the couple visited along the way.
Muncho Lake in British Columbia was also a “one-of-a-kind” spot which left both amazed.
“It was so beautiful we stopped on both ways,” said Marv, reminiscing about the voyage.
Though there were some slight mechanical issues with their trailer at the beginning of the trip, nothing could slow down the adventure-seeking duo for too long.
They did say the three months spent away from home were long, but the two used the time to unwind and focus on their bird watching hobby.
“You kind of forget about everything else,” said Susan, adding that after awhile you become accustomed to the uncomplicated lifestyle.
After arriving in Alaska the two experienced travelers spent time exploring the Alaskan way of life and taking in the remarkable change of scenery.
They witnessed the Alaskan pipeline firsthand and observed local anglers as they fished for famous Alaskan salmon.
“I loved it all,” said Susan, who had trouble choosing her favorite part of the journey. “It was all quite an adventure.”
Upon their return to Rutland the couple gave a presentation about their trip at the local library, hoping to inspire other nature lovers to also go out and experience the natural beauties that our country has to offer.
The two have already made plans for their next trip, which will involve bird watching in the state of Texas, and they hope to continue traveling for many years to come.
“No matter where we go,” said Susan, “We are always birding.”