So, we left Detroit Lakes in the middle of the night, drove to Minneapolis, and flew to Toronto. (M and I did. K hung around the airport for a bit and then flew home.) From there to Vancouver (see above), and from there to Whitehorse (see below). By this point, it was night.
I think this was around 11 — in any case, late. It’s pretty far north.
In the morning, we flew in a tiny plane to Dawson. What a place! It’s a gold mining town. (By the way, if you’re ever in the Yukon, fly Air North. They have lovely little planes and they feed you real food. I sat next to a helicopter pilot who told me terrifying stories about bears.) We met M’s friend A at the airport and rode into town. It was the beginning of our adventure.
Anyway, Dawson is lovely.
The streets are not paved.
It’s on the banks of the Yukon river, and someone has built a house right in the middle of the river.
We spent the morning in Dawson, and then made our way back out to the beginning of the Dempster Highway to camp for the night. But Alex and I both woke up the next morning with the realization that 450 miles up a dirt road in 5 days was too much. It was a huge relief that we both felt the same way. So, I hitch-hiked back into town (got a ride from some gold miners who gave me tips about who to talk to). The bus company, who does ferry people around to various adventures, could not accommodate us at a moment’s notice, but they referred me to a guy named Colum, who normally drops people and canoes off here and there. He was off eating breakfast, but we spoke by phone and came to an arrangement that he would come find us on the highway on Sunday afternoon and drive us a fair bit down the road to where we could get to the end by ourselves. He dropped me off back at the beginning of the highway and we were off!
Here’s the traditional opening shot:
And our first night camping on the highway:
And the entrance to Tombstone Provincial Park (beautiful)
Second night’s campsite
Later that day, and just as it started to rain, Colum picked us up in his van.
and took us all the way to the campground right before Ft. McPherson.
We stopped at a spot he knew on the river (was it the Yukon again? Not sure)
And again at the Arctic circle.
And here’s a shot of some fog on the tundra.
Here’s the third campsite all packed up
And day 4. It got wet.
That was our best day, though. Egged on by some motor cyclists, we rode about 75 km. Which is not so far, really, but felt very far in the rain on gravel/mud.
Campsite 4 was in the driveway to this little abandoned house. It was attached to a rope so it could be dragged — probably someone’s hunting camp.
And the view — the ferry crossing by Tsiigehtchic.
We took the ferry the next morning, but the day was miserable.
Cold, with a headwind, and something like 80 km to the next campsite and no where to camp along the road before that — only bog on either side.
So, we stuck out our thimbs, and got a ride all the way to Inuvik. There was a friendly campsite, with showers, and best of all a restaurant. It was heaven.
We made it! Not all officially — I would go back, actually. I would give myself three weeks and do the whole thing by bike, now that I know how to do it. And I am glad we did it unofficially, too.
We hung around Inuvik for a few days. M and I took a boat trip around the delta which was beautiful and informative. And then we flew back.