Welcome to my blog, where I share all the stories from my L2L expedition as I row, cycle and kayak a continuous loop of the planet. I hope you'll enjoy experiencing the highs (and lows!) of my journey so far and the adventures ahead on my way back to Tower Bridge. You can also have a listen to my Phonecasts recorded en route.

Dark times

Who am I?

It has taken a while to write this blog as the stories on which it are based shocked me and troubled me for days. They still do. I have wept while reading stories and spent hours and miles wondering at how on earth it could have happened. Once again, as in the Aleutians while hearing the tales of dwindling Aleut populations and their struggles through time and presently, I questioned my identity and what it means for me to be British, considering my country’s colonial past. I remember a similar feeling watching the brilliant and brutal ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’ over ten years ago, feeling sick for my country’s historic part in the treatment of aborginal families in Australia.

The Indian Problem

Until spending time with Ann Maje Raider in the 1,000 community of Watson Lake, I had only heard allusions to Canada’s dark history of Residential Schools. Meeting me red-faced and grinning as I pedalled uphill into the morning sunshine, Ann whisked me straight up to a women’s shelter in town where we had lunch and chatted about the centre and life in the commnunity. I knew that addiction, drink and drug-fuelled violence and abuse were all problems in Canadian indigenous communities but didn’t know why. Through an afternoon and evening with Ann the answers were filled in with stark, terrible stories.

Herself a residential school Survivor, Ann told me how thousands of children were forcibly removed from their families and whisked away to residential schools over a 150 year period, with the aim of ‘aggressively assimilating them’ into white, modern society, started in the 1800s as pressures on land and resources brought traditional indigenous livelihoods into the furore of expansion and explotiative plans by the government and industry. The Establishment perceived they had an ‘Indian Problem’ and the way to deal with it was to break up families and ‘educate’ children through mandatory schooling between the ages of 6 and 16, hand and hand with the Church. Children as young as 4 were taken away from their tribes, herded into cattle trucks and placed in what have been described as more prison camp than school, institutions scattered about the country.

The Church in Lower Post. As an institution it has a lot to answer for in Canadian history.

The Church in Lower Post. As an institution it has a lot to answer for in Canadian history.

‘I remember I was 6. I didn’t want to go and clung to my Dad’s leg. The Agent said he would be put in jail if I didn’t go and I didn’t want him to go to jail. So I went,’ said Ann. Boys and girls were separated, stripped, heads shaved into identical hair cuts, given identical uniforms to wear and given numbers instead of names. There they remained for the entire year except for summer and Christmas holidays, unless they lived too far away for the government to want to pay their way home. Some remained there for years, returning to their communities as strangers. Ann said she lived for the summer time when she returned to the land with her family, camping, hunting, gathering berries, fishing and trapping.

Prison camps

While at ‘school’, children were forbidden from speaking to the opposite sex, forbidden from talking with their brothers and sisters and punished severely for doing so. They were taught to be ashamed of their heritage, their family and culture and punished and beaten for speaking their own language. Stripped of their dignity, their identity, undernourished and subjected to long arduous hours of labour and religious lessons, children were often sexually and physically abused, too, by the very people that were employed to look after and teach them. Many died along the way, through illness, beatings or murdering by their caretakers. On leaving aged 16, many descended into dark spirals of despair, alocholism, drug addiction and violence, suicide claiming many. For Survivors, the effects have been intergenerational and lasting, both personally and culturally. Language and culture transmission have been thwarted, families have been devastated by violence, abuse and addiction and the cycle of abuse and trauma continues for many.

Healing Journeys

When the last Residential School in Canada was shut in 1996 a government fund was set up to manage a $350 million healing fund over ten years. Ten tiny years for seven generations of children lost to the schools? I had to check I had heard it correctly. Healing still takes place in communities today through a variety of methods – Western counselling and therapy alongside traditional healing practices such as sweats and cultural activities. From what I hear from Ann in her role as leader of the Liard Aboriginal Women Society, the resources are limited and the need far outstrips local capacity to administer, especially now the ten year Healing Fund is closed. Ann and her team spend most of their year chasing grants to activate programmes around women’s rights and domestic violence. If only I had a golden ticket to help. Her energy and commitment were inspiring and her willingness to share her experiences humbling. She tried telling me I was brave for my journey and I pointed out that her journey has been far braver than mine. In 2008, nearly 20 years after the end of the schools Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologised for the government’s role in isolating indigenous children from their families, communities and cultures, condemning the practice and the policies which protected and supported the system. The various churches involved have apologised on a sliding scale, it seems.

Travis and Ann of the Liard Aboriginal Women's Society

Travis and Ann of the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society


That is but a tiny overview of the story. Search online or in books and you will find more. Be sure to read some of the hopeful healing accounts too, of strength and inspiration amid darkness. Ann smiled and laughed at times as she weaved in stories of defiance and bravery of herself and peers, fighting to maintain their dignity amid the relentless and brutal bid to stamp on it. She and her group are doing great things

In my mind there is but a whisker or two between this cultural genocide and the Holocaust and other genocides throughout history. It is institutionalised racism, a shocking bid for white supremacy. When one race deems another as inferior and sets out to dominate and erase their identity, they are not human. It troubles me that this happened so recently, instigated by people from my country, and it troubles me more that support, funding and understanding are not more forthcoming. I am grateful to Ann for sharing her stories and hosting me in Watson Lake.

Go well, my friends.

My Healing Journey – Art and poems by Mary Casear (ISBN 978-3-941485-28-0)

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The road less travelled

Goodbye Alaska, Hello Canada!

Goodbye Alaska, Hello Canada!

The border between Alaska (USA) and Yukon (Canada) is unfortified, a narrow strip of bald land sweeps up the mountainside between trees on both sides, declaring the divide. 20 miles after this I rode into Beaver Creek and the Customs Post, chuckling ‘I wish’ when the guy asked if I was carrying over 10,000 USD. I grinned a lot at the country ahead as the uniformed chap stared back at me wide eyed as I rattled off my plans for the next twelve months. ‘I’d better give you six months’ then, as he realised he hadn’t stamped my passport when I mentioned the Atlantic and he had dropped the pen. He raised his eyes when I said I would be camping, lifted them even higher when I said I would be alone and higher still when I said I hadn’t yet been eaten by a bear and had spent the last few months camping in bear country.

Lake Jarger - My last night in Alaska (for now)

Lake Jarger – My last night in Alaska (for now)

Team Canada

For me the promise of Canada was trees, mountains and wildlife, and more trees and mountains and wildlife – Alaska on repeat. I had seen a lynx slink off the road into the bush just a few miles before and seen a throng of birds floating on a marshy lake, so it was already doing well. Mostly my love of Canada  came after being coached at university by a Canadian Olympian rower. Buffy Williams inspired me (and the rest of my then rowing crew) ever since I met her a decade ago. Imagining the country to be full of kindly, eager folk like Buffy, it was always going to be a highlight on my L2L trek. It is certainly living up to my dreams, although Canada is anything but full by all accounts.

Worth getting up for to find sights like this

The White River, Yukon

The Yukon is a vast, sparsely populated place with just 35,000 people, most of them living in the capital. Even if the country is empty the people are full of warmth up here and I am gathering my very own Team Canada, since crossing over the border and swapping Hercules’ country flag ten days ago. As in Alaska (which also had its fair and beautiful share of my much loved trees and mountains and wildlife) I have been humbled by the kindness of folks I meet on the road and folks connecting me up with yet more folks down the road. A driver stopped on the road to say hello and invited me to stay with her in Buffalo, New York when I reach the area in a few months, easily my furthest-away invite yet. I didn’t even know that my route would take me that way, but it will now.

Bike wanderer

A highlight of my Canadian riding so far was a smiling, gentle, spirited young guy called Iohan whom I cycled with for a couple of days last week, having met at the roadside in the rain while I slurped down a flask of noodle soup. Iohan’s journey has taken him all over Alaska and Canada so far and he is bound for the southern end of the Americas, heading south as I ride east. It poured with rain all day, snowing as we reached summits, hailing at times and was generally one of those chilly wet days that can make you a bit glum and the miles even glummer.

Making the wet and cold miles fun! Thanks Iohan

Iohan made the miles more fun

With company, lots of stories and a bag of marshmallows it was heaps of fun and not so cold. In pouring rain I confidently offered to teach Iohan how to light a fire as he confessed he had never done it before. On the third attempt we had a toasty blaze and the sticky deliciousness of roasted marshmallows to beat the damp cold into submission. On the second day the clouds had emptied and we whizzed down from Bear Creek Summit (having unwittingly chosen to camp at the highest point on the road for hundreds of miles) past bright white mountains, dappled with rock and scree through their snowy blankets, taking photos and films of each other for the others’ respective documentaries and blogs. Iohan is to be found at and I can well recommend his film on his ice road cycle earlier this year. It is beautiful and funny.

2 fully laden bikes, 2 different journeys

2 fully laden bikes, 2 different journeys


Another people highlight was a detour to the tiny village of Champagne one sunny afternoon. The village is much quieter now than in times gone by, with an estimated 20 families in the community, most of them working and learning away in Whitehorse during the week. The Southern Tutchone First Nation people have lived in the area for thousands of years, hunting and trading with other native communities from Alaska and Canada. The Alaska Highway brought huge changes when it first swept through the village in 1942, taking men away to work on the roads, bringing disease and new trade.

Traditional sod roofed log huts stood quietly in the sunshine among newer homes, all of them silent, it seemed. I cycled through until I found a weather-worn, gentle-eyed man named Glenn sawing wood and stacking it for the winter. His neighbour, a younger, chunkier guy, joined us as we chatted and we realised we had met a few days before on the snowy roadside as he and his hunting companions drove out from the mountain. I wanted to photograph the stories of Glenn’s face, wisened and weathered by years of hard work, hunting and beer. He wasn’t keen on the photo but apparently keen for me to return and live with him one day, joking that he would pay my family to come and live out there too, a sort of shy, roundabout proposition.

Traditional sod roofed log huts

Traditional sod roofed log huts

It was in Roy, a kind-eyed 85 year old, out for a ride on his quad bike that I found my photograph. ‘So long as you have film, you can take my picture’ after chatting for 20 minutes and asking if I could film some of his stories. What a privelege. I could have stayed all day, all week, for months – listening, sitting quietly in the silences as we both wondered on each other and made our way to the next question. He talked of hunting traditions and histories, his family of ‘I don’t know how many grandchildren’ and how it had taken three days on a bus to reach the village as a teenager in the 40s when he first came up.  I pedalled away silently thoughtful, memories of home evoked by this gentle grandfather, a link to my own, long gone. Roy wished that my ‘onward journey be joyful’ as he drove off to cook up some moose for his dinner.

Roy - the story teller

Roy – the story teller

Pointed hello

On the wildlife front, my big spot lately was a porcupine, munching on the roadside in the evening sun, the golden light making the quills look feathery and halo-like, in a spiky sort of way. I disagree with whoever told me they move ever so slowly. It waddled off into the bush at quite a pace when it clocked my presence. Altogether it was rather quieter than the red squirrels which start a high-pitched barrage of squeaky clicks if you invade their personal space, albeit 30 foot below their perch.

Red squirrels and chipmunks chatter at me as I pitch camp

Red squirrels and chipmunks chatter at me as I pitch camp

As I wend my way south, happily without the hairpin bends and steep dropoffs of the Chugach and Wrangell mountains of my last post, I am enjoying the varying states of autumn. Thick frosts have turned my water bottle solid on recent nights and stiffened my tent walls with sparkles. Everyone I meet likes to remind me that winter is coming, as if I hadn’t noticed or thought about it, offering up their own little bit (or big bit) of wisdom.

Team Hercules

I have been really grateful to my new friends and hosts in the Territory Capital of Whitehorse. Not only have the lovely Hector MacKenzie and Miche Genest delivered roadside cookies on two occasions, looked after me and put up with my taking over their basement, arranged this and that and treated me to a beating by the local Rolfer, but Hector has taken responsibility for repairs and construction of mine and Hercules’ clothing. He has spent quite a few hours at the sewing machine stitching up holes in my gear, repairing Hercules’ flagset and making some deliciously warm fleecey waterproof pogies for my handlebars. Miche is a gourmet chef, so I have been treated to some fine, fine cooking too.

The start of many mornings like this!

The start of many mornings like this!

A few days before reaching Whitehorse (where I write from), after a long day pedalling into headwinds between the mountains and pretty lakes, I pulled down a gravel track onto the shores of Lake Kluane, white capped by wind and looking beautiful in the dusky glow. A rather impressive  4×4  motorhome sat under the rustling trees, a fire crackling warmly besides it. A smiling Swiss chap introduced himself as Claude and invited me to join him for dinner. A landscape photographer, living his ‘second life’, Claude converted a truck into a 4×4 motorhome and called her ‘Viva la Vida’ and is now travelling, exploring and photographing. Knowing how way leads on to way, I wondered if I should see Claude again when I pedalled off the next morning, for this country is vast and his wheels are bigger than mine. And yet here I am a week later in Whitehorse, having Calude to thank as part of Team Hercules for his part in adapting rack fittings for extra storage space and adding an extendable mirror to Hercules’ outfit while I am here. Way might lead on to way, but paths do still cross, happily.

Hector and Claude : Team Hercules of Whitehorse

Hector and Claude : Team Hercules of Whitehorse

Spending time with such interesting characters, sharing stories and ideas over meals round campfires or dinner tables, a lot of the talk and thinking has been about life, choices, paths and directions. I found myself slightly envious of Iohan’s and Claude’s freedom day to day in their journeys, able to divert this way or that as their spirit takes them, quite a contrast to my goals and deadlines for the Atlantic next year.  I tapped myself back into line, quickly reminding myself that this is the path I have chosen for now and it is full of adventures. Brilliant ones at that and chilly ones, too, incase you didn’t know winter is coming.

Until next time,

Sarah and Hercules x

P.S Thanks to Josh at Icycle for taking care of my boy; to Whitehorse Public Library for hosting my talk last week and all who came along and kindly donated to the expedition kitty. Huge thanks to Hector Mackenzie, Miche Genest, and Claude Farriere and thanks also to Brenda and Garth.




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Au Revoir, Alaska

Canada, I'm coming!

Canada, I’m coming!

should cross over the Canadian border tomorrow if I have a big day of miles or Wednesday if I don’t. We’ll see what the wind does and what my legs want to do. Either are fine by me. I am sad to be leaving Alaska, having started my journey through back in September last year with my arrival in Adak, way out West in the Aleutian chain.

Miles and miles, that's all there is out here. Pretty miles at that,' said a local the other day. She ain't lying.

Miles and miles, that’s all there is out here. Pretty miles at that,’ said a local the other day. She ain’t lying.

There is something about the spirit of people up here that has made me feel more connected to them then any other place on the planet during my journey. Mostly, there is a love of the wild and a can-do attitude, an appreciation that plans can and will change and, as comes with it’s history, a helpful nod to pioneering enterprises like kayaking thousands of miles – putting answers instead of questions in our path.

This lad Jesse was really taken with Hercules - loving the sense of adventure from all ages out here

This lad Jesse was really taken with Hercules – loving the sense of adventure from all ages out here

I have loved my time here and had some magic moments – with wildlife, with people or alone in the quiet of the night next to glowing fires under carpets of stars.

Suzie - the best hugger bus driver ever

Suzie – the best hugger bus driver ever

For those of you loving The Loveliest Bus Driver of my last post, I can tell you her name was Suzie and I went home with her and her husband the night after for a wonderful meal and a school visit to their local the following day. Asking the students what they thought of living next to a glacier in the mountains I grinned at the responses. ‘Awesome’ was the unanimous verdict. They all loved being outdoors in various ways – hiking, biking, mountain unicycling, hunting, trapping or as one young guy put it, ‘We middle school boys live for our snow machining.’ A couple of days later I had a lovely surprise when Anchorage dweller Chris Nolan drove out over 200 miles to come and deliver me some bananas and a hug. I had just cycled out from a cosy B&B that another friend in Anchorage had booked for me. At that same place the lady in the room next door left me a sewing kit and $40. Spontaneous, warm, friendly, can-do spirited people…. That is how I will remember Alaska, set against a backdrop of sublime scenery and vast wild spaces, latterly on fire with a warm autumnal blush.

Thanks Chris for tracking me down for the banana re supply

Thanks Chris for tracking me down for the banana re supply

It has all been especially welcome these last few days as I wrestle with the space and time away from my fiancée, Lucy and look ahead to another year away. I had never imagined that would be the hardest part of this expedition.

Camping next to a gurgling river. Comforting, gentle energy for the cyclist missing home

Camping next to a gurgling river. Comforting, gentle energy for the cyclist missing home

But now, the road is calling and I must go. Having stocked up on food at the local store – tomorrow I ride to Canada.

Until next time,

Sarah and Hercules x


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Fear sandwich

Beautiful beautiful beautiful mountains looking over the Matanuska River

Beautiful beautiful beautiful mountains looking over the Matanuska River

I never imagined this ride would scare me in quite the way it is doing. I am scared of heights – more and more so as I get older, it seems – and get queasy looking up at big cliffs etc. So riding these mountain roads and passes is making for a rather scared rider as I pedal my way through the Chugach and Wrangell mountains. It feels like I am in a fear sandwich – I get scared looking up at the rockfall slopes and am terrified by the edge to my right, often with a tiny barrier or none at all. My forearms are generally numb with pumping the brakes on such exposed downhills, afraid of spinning out of control into traffic or over the edge.

Yesterday was worst of all. The road wound round the mountain and over Caribou Creek before doing the same up the other side. I stood, frozen, for a full ten minutes at the start of it talking myself back on the bike. I even considered thumbing a lift and accepting a few miles of engine power. I didn’t. I wouldn’t. I haven’t. But I considered it. (Only the 6km between the China and Russia border have engine to their name.)

The bluey white of the Matanuska Glacier was mesmerising

The bluey white of the Matanuska Glacier was mesmerising

I was terrified, especially as it was such a long hill so I knew would take an age. I considered walking it but knew that would take forever and had just passed the signs staying ‘No stopping’ because of rockfall.

Instead I bargained with Chimpy and said I would ride really slowly and see what it was like. If I really couldn’t move then I would walk or consider flagging, in that order.

 Well, I was really scared – almost crying with fear – but I did go fast enough to call it moving. When no cars were coming I rode in the centre of the road, away from the edge on my side. When the ‘Oversized Load’ convoy came past  I froze on the tiny shoulder and look away from the edge, pretending it wasn’t there.

I was too wrapped up in being scared to ask her name but I appreciated the hug

I was too wrapped up in being scared to ask her name but I appreciated the hug


I was shaking by the bottom of the hill and pulled over to talk to the camera – often calming but sometimes it scares me more by talking out aloud. A yellow bus was coming down the hill and, just as I was saying how brave the driver must be up here, the bus stopped and the lady driver grinned and asked if I was OK. She came over to take a photo and gave me the best hug ever. I was still shaking.

Her husband also drives the bus and had told her to look out for me, apparently telling her to ‘look behind as you go past and see her brilliant smile.’ Good job she saw me there and not going down the hill as I wasn’t smiling at all then.

That smile - it's a nervous smile...

That smile – it’s a nervous smile…

So here I sit in the cafe at Sheep Mountain Lodge – having loaded up on all the carbs I can (three pieces of pie and ice cream for dessert last night, much to the amusement of the waitress), wondering what the day will bring. The last few days have taken me weaving around mountains and up and down them, enjoying the bright yellow and rusty patchwork blanket of trees shouting their final hurrah as autumn starts stripping them bare. Snowy crag lines scratch out an aerial horizon high above me and the space between is filled in with the greys of gravelly rockfalls, the bright red of metal ores and the dark browns of heathers and berries turning wintry. Stunning doesn’t cut it. There is no way I can describe it justly – it is sublime and more. Inspiring and awesome in all senses of the word. I feel tiny among them and reminded that blips in the road of life are just that. The timelessness of the mountains and the swing of the seasons is a call to remember not to get hung up on the small stuff, just focus on having and feeling the best ride of my life, moment by moment, hill by hill. For all too soon, they will be beneath my wheels and memories of the ride I once had.

To see exactly where I am or have been, check out www.sarahoutencom/the-mission/journey-tracker/

If you enjoyed reading this, please consider supporting my L2L Charities : CoppaFeel!, Jubilee Sailing Trust, MND Association, WaterAid. Donate here: Thanks to all who have done so far. Until next time,   Sarah and Hercules x P.S Final Anchorage thanks to Team Cameron, Lisa Taylor, Jill Fredston and the Ruth and John on the tandem. P.P.S Thanks to Rob who stopped to give me beers on the road the other day.

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Lone wolf? Not here…


Iseyah made the night more friendly with a fire

Iseyah made the night more friendly with a fire

As we zipped across the dusky bay from Seldovia to Homer in his little skiff ‘Perl’, a grinning Chunk declared that I was like a lone wolf, heading out on my journey alone. A few nights later, tucked into the trees as half-convincingly as I could manage at hiding my tent and bike, I didn’t feel very brave. At all. Of course I followed all the routines of food bags up trees and a fire which I gallantly stoked until one a.m and of course the chance of any miscreant bear causing me issues is relatively slim. But all the same, my heart raced well beyond the time I reluctantly got into my sleeping bag after ‘Just one more load’ of wood on the fire, repeated many times.

Morning in the forest - beautiful

Morning in the forest – beautiful

Settling in

Transitioning between different stages of anything, but especially this journey, always take me a little while, both physically and emotionally. The first five days of riding from Homer to Anchorage have been no exception. I beat myself up at taking so many breaks to start with, remembering Justine’s (relative) whip-cracking pace on the kayak and reminding myself of the miles left to the Atlantic coast, snow peering down at me from mountain tops reminding me that winter is on her way. Stop stop stop Sarah Outen. Be gentle with yourself, ease back into it, said the voice in my head. Really, this was just a battle with Chimpy (Remember him?) Once I had allowed myself that and really believed it, I was fine and had every break I wanted without guilt. After all, it is about sustainability. Aiming for a steady 50 miles a day I figured it doesn’t matter when I do those miles or how long they take me in a day – so long as I am off the road before nightfall.

So far so good in Alaska

So far so good in Alaska

Slooooooowly does it

That’s a good thing too because Hercules is heavy and, while I have pretty solid aerobic fitness after our 1500 mile paddle, my legs haven’t done too much work for some time.  My pace slowed to an almost static 3 miles per hour up over the passes and hills – I could have walked quicker, were it not for the bike and his load. On the steep section of Rabbit Creek road on my run into Anchorage I was so close to going sub 2 miles per hour and wobbling across the shoulder that I almost walked in a bid to stay upright and alive. But I didn’t. I stood up on the pedals and squeaked out the last metres of the hill with squealing quads and heaving lungs, red faced and grinning.  The rule is I only walk if I physically can’t make the bike move or if it is too steep an off-roady section of downhill. That and total breakdown, of which we haven’t had either yet for bike or rider, thankfully.

So really this is perhaps just a post to say there is nothing heroic or wolfish in my riding or being out here/there doing my thing. The only difference between me and the person at home is that I am out, doing it. You just have to get out and make it happen, whatever your ‘it’ needs to be, not being held back the ‘What ifs’ and fears. The cyclist who pulled up behind me on the Seward Highway said he could never do it…. I disagree. I am only riding a bike. Remember Gao? He rode across China with me on a whim. I am not saying that everyone has the time and space in their lives and families to do exactly what he did, nor indeed should they feel compelled to – just to do something adventurous, in whatever time and space you want. Because it really is quite magic.

Food bags up in a tree out of reach of brown bears. Black bears could still climb for it.

Food bags up in a tree out of reach of brown bears. Black bears could still climb for it.

Like a girl

That said, I am glad to be flying the flag for the girls as there is still far too much surprise at women being out and about adventuring and not enough real life (and not airbrushed/celebrity) sporty female role models in the media. I saw an ad for a t-shirt with ‘Paddling like a girl’ on the back recently. I would wear it with pride and shout down anyone who says anything derogatory about ‘throwing like a girl’ or thissing or thatting like a girl. I think it is akin to being racist to judge someone and their ability on gender. I am not the only one feeling it. As I trundled up Turnagain Pass, waving at a cyclist shape who became a woman in the opposite direction, she shouted ‘You’re a lady too! That’s awesome’.  Absolutely  - there are plenty of gals of all ages doing cool adventures all over. And doing cool living, too. Adventures don’t have to be big mad things happening away from home for months and years at a time. I think it is about the way you look at life, opportunity and each new day. It is about moments more than months. (See the brilliant Al Humphrey’s campaign for MicroAdventures for ideas on this

The road from Turnagain Pass

The road from Turnagain Pass

Now, let me get down off my soap bike and tell you briefly about the ride up here to Anchorage. It was beautiful. Mountains bronzed by Autumn and sky blue glacial rivers carving their way downstream, weaving between peaks along the road. Inky black lakes reflecting the still shapes of spruce trees. Trees, trees, trees. So many beautiful trees. Hills that made my legs hurt and miles that made my bum hurt. Downhills run so fast and so close to the edge of the road with huge trucks hurtling by that made my heart skip and my forearms ache with gripping the brakes. Soft gentle mornings and velvety nights splashed with a bejillion stars. New faces and fleeting friends sharing time, food, shelter and stories. I coaxed myself up hills and gritted my teeth into tired miles, mind wandering and body thinking of other things to do, like stop and sleep. I high fived myself on making the top and talked myself calm again while rounding bends with fresh-air drops on the other side of hte barrier or no barrier drops. Some bits challenged me, others terrified me (rightly or wrongly) and plenty made me smile and laugh and feel happy as a pedaller on her bike. Only one bit made me cry  - when I listened to a play list of music Lucy, my fiancee, had set up for me. Since Hercules and I (me?!) biked across Europe and Asia on the first leg of L2L in 2011 Hercules has remained the same but I have changed. I am not a lone wolf any more, which  I reckon I probably fancied myself as some years ago. (This makes me think of the excellent book and film ‘Into the Wild’ and Chris McCandless’ experience of Alaska alone) I am one half of a whole now, looking forward to being home and together again as much as I am enjoying being on the road. Now harvest is over, Lucy should be coming out to pedal with me in a couple of months. Who knows where Hercules and I will be by then.

Lots of happy thanks to all the folks who have hosted me or helped me on this leg from Homer to Anchorage including Liz Taylor and Peter Brondz and Team Cameron. Thanks also to everyone who has donated to my charities. You can do so here:

I shall set off from Anchorage at the weekend, heading North to Tok where I meet the AlCan Highway for the ride South to Canada.

Until next time,

Sarah and Hercules x

P.S For Alaskan viewers tune into KTVU Channel 11 on Friday (tomorrow) at 0615 to see me with the Day Break crew

P.P.S A We bid a fond farewell to Mel Johnson after two years excellent support and welcome back Sara Davies as Project Manager to Team L2L. Girl Power :-)

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