Yukon and Alaska 2016 travel blog

Bill and Big Mosquitoes

Musical evening in Tok

Chicken Alaska

July 27th, 28th and 29th

We spent our last night in Alaska at the Walker Fork River after driving from Tok to Chicken. It was the worst road conditions of the trip and there were a couple of times we thought the bottom had fallen through the floor of Morris. As a bonus for our last evening we were only one of 3 campers in the site and had the benefit of the cleanest pit toilets in my entire camping experience. Rain showers predominated during the evening and into the night but by the next morning they had stopped for which I was extremely grateful because it was our day to drive the Top of the World hwy. Words cannot describe how truly amazing the drive is and even though there were rain clouds on the horizon there were also period of sunshine in the distance which made for stunning vistas that changed every moment. We shared the driving on this hwy to make sure we each had a chance to see the view. We figure that we could see easily 150 to 200 kms in the distance at certain points. As we drove the final descent into Dawson City about 10 kms out a Lynx crossed in front of the van; our wildlife spotting for the day. We were able to find a camp site right on the Yukon River just before the ferry crossing to Dawson City. Bowie got a chance to play in the river and run on the sand banks. Rain again in the evening which seems to be a pattern this trip but in spite of the rain we were able to have the first fire in 2 weeks. We crossed the Yukon River via the highway ferry system. The ferry doesn’t dock it slides up on the shore on a gravel ramp and only about 8 cars/RV’s can cross at a time. The river current was so fast the ferry moved only a few feet forward against the current. On the far side we could see a front end loader putting load after load of dirt on the ramp to allow vehicles to get on and off as the river was eroding the slope that fast. We made it safely across and set about exploring Dawson City which still has dirt streets except for Front St. the main road. The highlight was the reading of the Cremation of Sam McGee and presentation of the story of Robert Services life at the site of his original cabin. What better way to hear of what the north was like 100 years ago. The low point was trying to exchange a $20 bill to loonies so we could do laundry. CIBC required Bill registered with them to prove he was not giving them a phony $20 which he just got from there bank machine and was not trying to launder money (no pun intended!) Day dawned wet and soggy as we start to drive north on the Dempster Hwy which ends at Inuvik but we are only going as far as Tombstone Territorial Park about 100 kms up the hwy. The road is abysmal and we drive about 30-40kms/hr and weave all over the place avoiding pot holes. Morris has gained about 50 lbs in mud and dirt from the drive but we are rewarded with spectacular scenery once the clouds lift. The place is so remote and beautiful we decide to stay another night. We signed up for a hike with an Interpretive guide (one guide in front and one in the rear carrying sat phones, GPS Spot, bear spray and bangers which sound like shot guns to scare bears away. A grizzly has been in the area and apparently you can’t be too careful!). You do relax after a while and enjoy having someone so knowledgeable provide commentary as you go. After we get back we decide we really need to drive as far as the continental divide and the end of the tree line or we will have missed an important opportunity so away we go in the van (more dust and dirt) and drive further north over the north fork pass and into the wide valley plain. We are now officially in the area that was Beringia during the last ice age! Note tomorrow is the start of the hunting season in the Yukon. Time to get out of the hinterland and head south!

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