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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.

































































































































>>>NEXT>>> post in this series.

Here are some shortcuts to all the blogs post from our Yukon and Alaska Trip. Just hover over the number to see where it will take you.

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