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20 July 2014

Yukon and Alaska Bound, Part 16 - Dempster Highway, Dawson to Eagle Plains


Dempster Highway North to Eagle Plains


Anders at the Dempster Highway sign.
Beginning of the Dempster Highway

Beginning of the Dempster Highway.
Beginning of the Dempster Highway

Warning sign to drive careful. No services.
Be Prepared!
We are at the intersection of the Klondike Highway and the Dempster Highway at 8 am, ready to rock and roll.... sort off.


The Dempster Highway, also referred to as Yukon Highway #5 and Northwest Territories Highway #8, connects the Klondike Highway to Inuvik, Northwest Territories on the Mackenzie River delta.


During the winter, the highway extends another 194 km to Tuktoyaktuk or "Tuk" as it is commonly called.


Tuk is on the northern coast in Northwest Territories of Canada, using frozen portions of the Mackenzie River delta as an ice road or the Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road.


The highway crosses the Peel River and the Mackenzie Rivers using a combination of seasonal ferry service and ice bridges in the winter.


The highway begins about 40 km east of Dawson City, Yukon on the Klondike Highway and extends 736 km to Inuvik, NT.


Construction of the 140 km all-weather extension to Tuktoyaktuk was started in April 2013, with completion scheduled for 2016.


Most locals do not think it will be finished before 2020.


The Dempster Highway was named after the late William John Duncan Dempster.



Breathtaking scenery.
Scenery along the Dempster Highway.

The Dempster Highway.
Scenery along the Dempster Highway.

Yukon Scenery.
Scenery along the Dempster Highway.
Mr Dempster was an RCMP officer in Dawson and he did the trail up to Fort McPherson, NT with dog sled several time.


We re-set the trip meter on the truck so we can keep track of where we are on this incredible highway.


On the first 100 km we encounter, three cars, one black bear and some Ptarmigan and similar birds.


No houses, no nothing except the empty and contained beauty.


The landscape has every shade of green there is.


The road hugs the natural beauty of the mountains, rivers, forest, tundra and wide open plains.


Sunshine and photographic clouds (don't have a clue what "Photographic Clouds" means, opposite of non Photographic Clouds I guess, this sentence is from Liz, the photographer) accompanied us.


We arrived in Tombstone Territorial Park.


The park is named for Tombstone Mountain's resemblance to a grave marker.


I did not see any resemblance of a grave marker but rather the rolling tundra, small lakes and crevasses still full of snow, flowers, moss and....


Liz at the Tombstone Territorial park sign.
We arrived at Tombstone Territorial Park

Panorama of Tombstone Territorial Park.
Panorama.
I think one would refer to this as the Alpine tundra, but it could also be Arctic tundra.


The main difference between the two is that Alpine tundra does not have permafrost. Not sure which is which here.


The Tombstone Visitor Center is spectacular. The setting in the mountains and the surrounding area is wonderful.



Anders outside Tombstone Territorial Park Visitor center.
Tombstone Visitor Center

Liz enjoying a cup of herbal tea at the Tombstone Territorial Park Visitor Center.
Liz enjoying some spruce tea.... yum?

Another panorama of Tombstone Territorial Park. Wow!
Panorama from Tombstone
Liz driving the truck. It's a 2008 Dodge Ram 3500 Club Cab, 4x4, Laramie
Liz Driving

Anders in Tombstone Territorial Park.
Around every bend is another incredible sight

Tombstone Territoria Park Vista. Incredible.
Wow!

The landscape just seems to go on and on and on. Just like the Energizer Bunny.
It just goes on for ever

Ptarmigan (a bird) on the road.
Ptarmigan on the road, with little ones.

Very large mound that looks like gravel almost.
Looks like gravel almost

Red rocks and dirty like water in the river from a sulfur spring.
Orange river smelling like sulfur.

Panorama of a river.
Panorama

Panoram of countryside.
Another panorama

Liz at a look out on Ogilvie Hill.
On top of Ogilvie hill

Car in the ditch.
Rolled SUV

Muddy and slippery road.
The road is mud and like ice

Semi truck hauling gravel.
Trucks hauling gravel.

Anders by his dirty truck.
Truck needs a wash job

Anders and Liz at a look out at Eagle Plains Motel.
Enjoying the sights.
The park staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. They even cook up some spruce tea for visitors to taste.


We meet some nice people from North of Toronto driving an SUV, we have a chat. They were just leaving as we arrived at the Visitor Center.


There is a park campground close by, glad we did not have our trailer with us it would have been tight. Other then that the park looks wonderful.


After a 45 minute visit we get on our way again. This countryside must be a heaven for geologist.


So much has happened on this stretch of land. Glaciation, areas that did not glaciate, huge moraines, orange coloured river smelling of sulfur.


Black and silver shining rocks, gray mountains lying there like marmots.


Until the road got wet, it was good driving but bumpy.


At around Km 270 we see a man sitting on some plastic containers on the road side.


It is the same person I had a chat with at the visitor center.


When we stopped we realized that their SUV was upside down out in the bush about 25 feet from the road.


He assured us he was OK. His wife to was fine he said except for a few cuts.


She had gotten a ride to Eagle Plains about an hour before we got there.


Help is on the way he said. He said he had water, food, bug repellent and bear spray.


We now drove even slower and in 4 x 4 mode all the way to Eagle Plains.


It was one slippery mushy road and 15-35 km per hour was all we could do for the next 100 plus km.


Road crews were putting down gravel and we pulled over and stopped when we met the big trucks. The gravel really helped.


At Eagle Plains we check in and inquire about the lady and the accident.


We were told she is in shock and the blood pressure is high.


I fuel up the truck and go over to the car was and try to get some of the mud off. it is about 1.5 inches thick.


During supper we see the man that was sitting on the roadside at one of the dinner tables.


I have a chat with him and he say they are both OK. The vehicle is totaled.


We have a pretty good supper and a glass of wine. A long and interesting day.


Tomorrow we will continue up to Inuvik.


More pictures from the Dempster Highway.

































































































































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17 July 2014

Yukon and Alaska Bound, Part 15 - Dawson City


Dawson City, Yukon


Downtown Dawson

Old historical buildings ( Red Light District ).

Liz is happy, they have Granny Smith Cider.
This town really grows on you. I have to admit that our first impressions were not very exciting. I guess we had some kind of different expectations, or we were just travel leery.



As we walked the unpaved streets on the wooden sidewalks it all started to feel right, this is where it happened and this is where it is still happening.



Here in the "far north" things are not as perfect as it is in the big cities or further south where everything is close. That is why we are visiting here to experience the differences.


We went to the Northwest Territory visitor center (we are planning to go up to Inuvik and Tuk).The person at the centre was no very helpful. She just gave us a bunch of papers and did not really have an interest in what we wanted to see or do up there.... Oh well she had a bad day! ( A week later, when we visited this centre again, it was totally different, the service was excellent by a different person.)


We visited the Dawson museum. They had a gold panning demonstration which was really good. The museum in general was very informative and interesting.



We stopped in at the local pub and had a drink, a chat with some tourists and some locals.




Panorama from the Dome. Dawson City below and the Yukon River
Anders is dreaming..... was born 130 years to late!

Such beauty

The Yukon River

A man and his truck....Canada Day
On our way back to our little "pull-shack" we first drove up to "the Midnight Dome" which is a high hill/mountain where you can drive up to the top.



Worth the drive up for sure.



Later, back home, we checked the forecast again, and they now promised nice weather on the Dempster, Inuvik and in Tuktoyaktuk.



That's what we were waiting for.
Said and done we made our reservations and packed and re-arranged the truck and 5th wheel.



We were leaving the 5th wheel behind at the campsite, and will just drive the Dempster Hwy. in the truck.



We decided to move the trailer to a power only site, so we can at least have the trailer (fridge and freezer) plugged in.



We made arrangements with the park owners so we could do this right away to get an early start the following day. We also went across the street and fueled up.


We were ready for the Dempster Highway tomorrow morning.

More pictures of this trip in this album.






















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14 July 2014

Yukon and Alaska Bound, Part 14 - Carmacks to Dawson City.


Carmacks to Dawson City.


Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day Flags on the truck

Liz driving for a while
It was July 1st and we put on our special Canada T-Shirts. We also installed the Canada Flags on the back windows on the truck.


Let's go!


But first a visited with our neighbours that were from Vernon, BC. Just love meeting all these nice people.


We had fueled up the night before at $1.67 per liter for Diesel.


We were on the road early. This stretch of the highway is terrible, some of the pot holes could swallow a smart car.... It was pretty slow going, but we were not in a hurry.


Liz was at the wheel for the first hour or so. When the road got narrower, without side lines, loose gravel and steep drop-offs. She kind of let me know in her own sweet way that she had enough driving for the day.





Moose Creek Lodge

Time to make a choice.

Can't get enough of this beauty.

Time for a cold one in Dawson

Got to love this place.

Good food in Moose Creek!

Wonderful scenery
The truck and the trailer got a really good shake down even though we were going pretty slow at 60-70 km per hour.


The good part, there was very little traffic.


We stopped at the tourist info center just before the intersection of the "Silver Trail",  Hwy 11 to Mayo and Keno City.


A very nice woman at the tourist boot (no sign indicating that it was open) gave us lots of good information. We decided there and then that we would visit Mayo and Keno City on our way back.

After some more bouncing around, we stopped in Moose Creek for Lunch at the Lodge.


The lodge is very historic, but super good food. Moose Creek population? "Two Gals, two Guys and two dogs".


On the road again, we arrived in Dawson City around 3 pm. We checked in at Bonanza Gold RV Park on the outside of town.


First we felt that the RV Park and the whole area looked sort of run down, but that's just the way things are up here... It's dusty, with frost heaves, houses built on pilings shifting on the permafrost. It's the north, it's just rougher around the edges.


We went in to Dawson for a walk about and a drink in one of the local bars. That was much better! But we skipped the Sourdough Toe Cocktail.



We went back home for some supper and a good night sleep.

Here are some more pictures.


































































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10 July 2014

Yukon and Alaska Bound, Part 13 - Whitehorse to Carmacks


Drive From Whitehorse to Carmacks, Yukon


Yukon Visitor Information Center
Leaving Whitehorse we drove into town to visit the Tourist Information.

We hoped they would have some more information about Inuvik. But all she said, phone Dawson City to make sure Northwest Territories tourism office was open there.

So off we went after we picked up coffees and sandwiches from the "Baked" Coffee shop.

"Baked" is located kitty-corner from Starbucks, 4 doors down on Main Street. Great food and coffees. It was packed.

Keeping a good eye on the road.

Canada Day tomorrow

Liz in front of the Carmacks Hotel

Five Finger Rapids

View from the road

Zoomed in. The channel closest is the one the stern-wheeler used.

Panorama of the Five Finger Rapids

Liz at the lower view point. It is worth the hike.

I would not want to navigate one of those tubs through here

Shoes are covered in volcanic ash
Once on Highway #2, the Klondike Highway, the road became narrow and often full of potholes.


This route was first used by Natives, later by trappers, prospectors, and gold rush stampeders if they did not take the stern-wheeler boats. Some of the bridges were ferries at first.


Just outside Whitehorse there is some farm land. Later over the "Miners Range" it is just wilderness, forest, mountains, lakes and rivers.


Along the road we noted a layer of white volcanic ash just under the top layer of top soil.


More research shows that 1,250 years ago a violent eruption from a volcano in Eastern Alaska covered 323,000 sq km with a layer of ash.


The volcano is now under the Klutlan Glacier which is a 64 km long glacier in the state of Alaska.


It is located southwest of Mount Nazirean and flows east across the border with Canada, then north to form the headwaters of the Klutlan River.


We drove all the way to Carmacks and settled down in the RV Park behind the hotel.


It is really a parking lot with hook ups. They have full hook-ups so we were happy.


We went for a little walk along the Yukon River. Carmacks' history is very connected to the steam ships which brought miners, trappers and gamblers to the goldfields.


Once the rush was over, Carmacks survived, but "just".


Many people around here seems to have a close connection with the beer bottle.


We decided to visit "Five Finger Rapids". It is about 30 km past Carmacks.


Here the Yukon River made navigating the stern-wheelers traitorous with several small islands right in the middle of the rapids.


We hiked down a bunch of stairs and then along the river.


Here we actually walked on some of that ash we were talking about earlier.


Soon we got to the rapids and care must be taken not to fall in. There are no guard rails so keep everyone alert and careful.


It must have been really tough navigating through this rapids with those big tubs.


Only the most easterly channel, closest to the view point is navigable. This is a very interesting hike and it has excellent information panels telling us about the past.

More pictures here.






































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