Tag Archives: Yukon

Tuk 2018 – Day 8 – Into the Arctic

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Tuk 2018 – Day 8 – Into the Arctic

We woke up raindrops sitting on the tent, but at least it wasn’t actually raining while we packed up. We had a later start than we hoped today, but ended up getting to the campsite we had wanted to anyway. Dawson was fun, but it is good to be getting away from the bars and casino.

Today was north on the Dempster Highway. Highway is a strong word for this road. It is a 900km unpaved road from just outside of Dawson City to Tuktoyaktuk, with the Inuvik to Tuk portion just opening this year. The Yukon portion of the road is made from shale, treated with calcium chloride. It is super hard on tires and either very dusty when dry, or slippery when wet. The best time to drive it is within a day after rain, so we were hitting it at a great time.Day 6 (6 of 1)

Our first stop was the Tombstone Territorial Park Interpretive Centre. We popped in to get our Dempster Highway passports stamped, but also took the chance to ask them a few questions, as we plan to stop there on the way back down. Day 6 (2 of 1)

The next stop was  our first unplanned stop of the trip about 16km short of Eagle Plains when the low tire pressure light came on. A quick look at the tires didn’t show any visible damage, and Eagle Plains was close so we pressed on.  By the time we got to Eagle Plains, and pulled up to the gas pumps, the left-rear tire was visibly low. By the time the tire repair guy came to look at it, it was flat as a pancake.  He showed us the damaged spot, a finger sized hole was punched through the tread, likely from a sharp rock. Luckily, it was repairable, so we were back on the road with our wallets being not much lighter. (We were even pleasantly surprised at the price of gas) We are not sure if speed was a factor, but slowed down even more for the remainder of the road.img_1537

Next up, about 35km from Eagle Plains, was the Arctic Circle, a first-time experience for Linda. Welcome to the arctic explorer club! Of course, we stopped for a photo op.Day 6 (4 of 1)

The scenery along the Dempster is amazing, and changes all along the way. From the sharp peaks of the Tombstones, the expanse of Eagle Plains, and the undulating Richardson Mountains. It is next to impossible to describe the vast expanse of the land. Linda said she had never seen anything like it before, I know I hadn’t the first time I drove it. It was nice to be the passenger for most of it this time, as I got to take in all the viewsDay 6 (5 of 1)

Near Engineer Creek Campground we passed by treeless mountains that look more like enormous gravel piles than the mountains most people are familiar with. It really seems quite surreal. We were able to spot 4 Dall Sheep meandering on the side of the mountain. They were to high up to get a good pic, though they are more identifiable than just white lobs on a grey background :). We also saw 2 bald eagles along the way, but unfortunately we were unable to stop for the first one and the second flew away before we could get a pic.

Day 6 (3 of 1)

We hung our hats at the Rock Creek Territorial Campground. It is a small rustic campground with private treed sites and free firewood. It also had a welcoming committee of about a zillion mosquitoes. Nothing a little deet and some coils couldn’t fix.

We feasted on a wonderful meal of steaks, corn and potatoes done over the open fire, accompanied by a bottle of wine. What could be better. Still tired from our evenings in Dawson we called it an early night. Overnight it rained, though we were dry inside the tent in the morning, we did have to pack up wet gear, and our chairs had sat out all night. Oh well, we can dry them out in Tuk tomorrow.

 

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Tuk 2018 – Day 3 – Whitehorse Ho

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Tuk 2018 – Day 3 – Whitehorse Ho

Day 3 we managed to sleep in a wee bit. In the middle of the night the flies went somewhere to sleep, alas they were back in the morning and brought some friends with them. It really did require some effort to make myself believe that they were on the outside of the tent (which they were) when I could see them so plainly through the screened tent peak.

Today we shared the duties of striking camp, had a cold brekkie and headed out for Whitehorse. There is a herd of bison that live in the area around the hot springs and we hoped to see some along the way. As we were traveling down the highway, there was a car stopped on the side of the road. By the time we could see what they were stopped for it was too late to hit the breaks for a photo op. There was a bison rolling in a sand/dust pit on the side of the road. It is unusual to see just one bison and as we continued down the road we were hoping that this wasn’t the only one of the herd that had come to the roadside.

bison (2 of 3)We weren’t to be disappointed. 10 minutes down the road traffic was stopped as a large herd made its way across the highway. Although bison can move pretty quickly when they have a reason to, they usually saunter along which is exactly how they were crossing the road. Since they were taking their time, we were able to take quite a lot of pics.

The Alaska Highway does a bit of dipsy-doodling between BC and Yukon. The first foray into Yukon at mile 565 barely has any signage. I suppose that is because you only stay there for a few minutes then your back in BC. The official sign comes a bit later, shortly before you get to Watson Lake. Just before Watson Lake is what used to be Contact Creek Lodge. It is no longer a lodge, but they do have fuel with better prices than Watson Lake. They also have soft serve ice cream, which was the worst ice cream that Linda had ever had.yukon sign (1 of 1)

Watson Lake was our next stop at its famous sign-post forest. The “forest” was started in 1942 by a US soldier who was working on the Alaska highway put up a sign with the name of his home town and the distance to it. Since then it has grown to over 78,000 signs and visitors are welcome to add their own signs to it. We even saw a Manx sign, which made me smile (and snap a pic)

While we were stopped at the forest, Linda spoke to a couple of guys on adventure bikes, one of whom had flown his bike over from Bahrain. They had originally planned to ride to Tuk, but stories of serious accidents involving adventure bikes on the final section of the road had them change their plans and instead they will go to Prudhoe Bay Alaska. So, perhaps the Universe was telling us something when so many obstacles seemed to block us from the original plan of doing this trip on bikes. Since the point of this trip was to get to Tuk, a bucket list item for me, having to turn back because of bad road would have been devastating. Better to do it in a car and actually get there.

We stopped for lunch at a rest area at Rancharia Falls. Really, it is awful that I have likely driven past this 20 times or more and have never stopped. The walking path to the falls is made to be accessible, and at the end there is boardwalk so that you can get a nice view of both sides of these falls. No, they are no Niagra, but they are very pretty none the less.

In Whitehorse we were able to very briefly connect with friends Moosh and Richard as they headed out of town with their family and left us with the use of their house. Tomorrow we will get a couple quick visits with friends. It’s great to be back.

Not a motorbike trip to Tuk

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Not a motorbike trip to Tuk

We have been planning an epic adventure, a one-month trip from Calgary, up the Alaska Hiway to Whitehorse, north to Dawson City, then up the Dempster highway to Tuktoyaktuk by motorbike. We have done all the things we should to prepare, including having the Ural serviced before the trip, as it needed a seal. Alas, when the mechanics opened the engine to replace the seal, they found the clutch was foobarred. Ok, they can order in parts, it will be a few days but they would be here this week on Tues, bike would be ready Wednesday. The order comes in, one part is missing. Frig. But they will air express the part, bike will be ready Thursday. Thursday comes, they call, the right box arrived with the wrong part. Double Frig. They were air expressing the part again, and hoped to do the work today. The part didn’t arrive until late afternoon, so trip delayed at least one day.

In the meantime, the floor of the living room is covered with gear waiting for a home. I had meeting out of town this afternoon and had planned to leave from there and meet Linda in Jasper. I was trying to be optimistic, and still believed we would be in Jasper tonight, even though a little voice in the back of my head though keeps saying Jasper is a bust, and we will likely head out tomorrow. We can’t cancel our reservation in Jasper tonight, but it was for a campground, so we won’t be out much. And, it will only put us a half day behind, maybe not even if there is a tail wind to help the Ural along.

By late afternoon we decided that we don’t want to wait and see if the Ural is ready to go tomorrow. We are going to change our plans and make it a car trip instead. So the Beemer is unloaded and the car is loaded up. Not the trip we had planned, and a bit disappointing particularly since we bought the Ural specifically for this trip. Nonetheless, we are looking forward to heading out tomorrow morning, with no agenda except to be in Dawson City for Dust to Dawson on June 21, head up to Tuk, then back down to Whitehorse with time to visit. It is still going to be an adventure, a chance to drive to Tuk, and an opportunity to visit friends we haven’t seen in 5 years.

Awesome off road day

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Near Annie Lake

Near Annie Lake

Well the day started with a great ride, Diane showed me where she used to live. We thought we would pick out a side road and venture out. All the way kept thanking and hearing the adventure camp instructors in our head as we hit some loose sand then crossed a creek which we would never have done before this trip. Then back from a gold mining area we veered off the path agin, we were getting tired but didn’t really realize it until came to a very technical hill which Diane made it up and I choose to hit the ditch as it was either that or the bush.

Got the bike upright and decided to head back and as we hit a creek or if in Saskatchewan a river I veered to the left which was not the best way to go and ended up under the water, once again got it upright and made it out only wet and not hurt,actually we both enjoyed it as we put to use what we were taught and never would have attempted before.

After the dip

After the dip

Now the big job is drying out the boots but probably won’t happen anytime soon. Enjoyed a great burger barbecued by Robert and settling for the night with a beer in hand. Still think it is strange as after 10 pm and totally light out. Will see what tomorrow brings.

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