yukon trip3

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Information about yukon trip3

Published on October 10, 2008

Author: RangerBob52

Source: authorstream.com

Slide1:  David and Bob's Yukon Adventure Otherwise known as the Yukon road trip Slide2:  First things first. Define the mission Drive to the Arctic Circle. Make it back Make it to Alaska Do a wilderness canoe trip Have a blast Don't kill each other Don't get killed Slide3:  The Plan Get to Whitehorse. Get a vehicle. Get to the Arctic Circle or beyond Get to Alaska Get dropped off in the wilderness and canoe back out Slide4:  Start Point Coldstream BC Slide5:  Step One Drive from Coldstream to Kelowna Airport. 45 minutes Slide6:  Step 2 Fly from Kelowna to Vancouver very early in the morning since there were no direct flights from Kelowna to Whitehorse. Have to take one flight to Vancouver then another to Whitehorse. Took Westjet to Vancouver but then had to collect all the gear and go through security again. Had quite a discussion with security about the bear spray in the checked camping gear. My advice – don't tell them you have it. Slide7:  Step 3 Fly Air North to Whitehorse. Nice airline even though they only have two jets. They rolled a big cheesecake cart down the aisle for dessert. We could have driven this but it would have taken over 24 hours straight – 2400 km Slide8:  Whitehorse Pop 22,461 No time for a visit yet. Rent a car at the airport and head for Dawson. Only thing they had was a massive Yukon. Spent an hour in the parking lot trying to get the satellite radio we brought along to work. On the road about 4 pm Note: If you are planning on the same thing the radio only works to about 400km north of Whitehorse and you lose the signal. Slide9:  Whitehorse to Dawson 529 km Coldstream to Kelowna Vancouver to Whitehorse to Dawson Not bad for Day One Slide10:  Good to be on the road and out of the planes Bob drives and David navigates. The deal is that both of us have to stay awake while the truck is moving. This was blacktop with no shoulders and a fair number of potholes. Almost no people at all. The trees are fairly short and small. Not the massive forests I was expecting. Slide11:  Takes six hours to get to Dawson so we took a break at the famous Five Fingers rapids. During the gold rush there were over 4,000 boats and rafts waiting to run these to get to the gold fields. They didn't look too bad from our vantage point but then again we were a ways away Slide12:  Dawson Pop 1397 During the gold rush it had 40,000 people Got in at around 10 pm Lots of old tailing piles (from mining) on the way in. Still bright sunshine until after midnight. It never gets really dark at this time of year. Slide13:  Dawson is built on the Yukon River and everything used to come via ship. They still ran paddle wheel steamers for cargo until the 1950's when they built the road in. The ships ran on wood boilers and would stop every few hours to fill up with wood from huge piles on the riverbank. Slide14:  Dawson is half tourist trap and half mining town. These pictures were taken about 10 pm as we were wandering around. Despite the stories of the gold rush the streets where definitely not paved with gold. Actually they weren't paved at all. Make that 70% tourist trap. There still are, however, lots of mining operations out in the surrounding hills. Slide15:  There also appears to a be local bylaw that almost all buildings have to be at an angle. There is a steel rod just above David's head placed, I think, so that the two buildings keep each other from falling down. Slide16:  This is Jack London's cabin preserved as a museum. With David is one of Jack's friends who has also been preserved. Slide17:  Now comes the fun part. Drive from Dawson to north of the Arctic Circle On the infamous Dempster Highway Slide18:  The Dempster Highway is a road that connects the Klondike Highway in the Yukon Territory to Inuvik, Northwest Territories, on the Mackenzie River delta. During the winter months, the highway extends another 194 km (121 mi) to Tuktoyaktuk, on the northern coast of Canada, using frozen portions of the Mackenzie River delta as an ice road. The highway crosses the Peel River and the Mackenzie Rivers using a combination of seasonal ferry service and ice bridges. The highway begins about 40 km (25 mi) east of Dawson City, Yukon on the Klondike Highway and extends 736 km (457 mi) to Inuvik. Once you start on the Dempster the next place for fuel (or anything for that matter) is Eagle Plains which is a government owned truck stop at about the 400 km point. At the start of the Dempster there is a sign that says there will be no emergency medical services for the next 387 km. Nice touch. That also means no cell phones or pay phones or anything else. What is the Dempster? Slide19:  The Dempster starts out like this – with real tar and chip pavement. Notice the trees. They get smaller the farther north you go. Slide20:  Within a kilometre the road turns to gravel. Notice that they don't really have shoulders, just a 6-20 ft drop. In the southern parts of the road there are a lot of sections with loose sand and gravel Makes it interesting when you hit them at speed. Slide21:  The southern Dempster goes through a mountain range with a lot of forests and streams. We haven't hit the real permafrost yet so there is still forest cover on the hills Still not used to the size of the trees. Slide22:  We stopped here to look at a map. David spent his time looking for gold nuggets. Slide23:  After a few hours you get out of the mountains and into the biggest, greenest, emptiest valleys on the planet Slide24:  For anyone who has spent a lot of time on logging roads the Dempster has to be the longest “logging” road in the world. For those of you who haven't the surface is full of holes that can break an axle or bounce you off the road. Your attention is always 10 feet in front of the vehicle. I think it is the most exhausting driving that you can do. Slide25:  What looks like green grass is really tundra. Tundra is a collection of lichens, mosses, grasses, and woody plants. It is extremely soft and spongy. The lack of trees makes the scale hard to imagine. This lake is at least 2 kilometres across. I thought it was just a big pond at first. Slide26:  We pass rivers and streams, valleys and distant mountains. What we don't pass is people. Another vehicle goes by, going the other way, every couple of hours - maybe. Slide27:  The vastness is hard to imagine. Slide28:  Except for the road you wouldn't know that anyone had ever been here. Slide29:  The Dempster is built on a thick layer of rock and gravel to insulate the permafrost. Dig down a few feet and the ground is always frozen. Drop a wheel off the road and you will crash. Note: That small dust cloud on the road is a big 18 wheeler coming. Slide30:  Made it! Slide31:  David the navigator just wanted to prove we were going in the right direction even through there is only one road with no turn offs. Slide32:  It just goes on and on Slide33:  Our first flat tire was noticed by the deck hand on the ferry crossing the Peele River. We used an air pump on the ferry to inflate it and made a run for Ft McPherson (Pop 761) which just happened to be down the road. First town for 600 km. Found a guy who knew a guy who was still working at 8 pm - fixing tires. Slide34:  The crossing of the Mackenzie River. It is the longest river in Canada and the second largest river system in NA after the Mississippi. We have seen most of the big rivers in NA and this one is right up there Slide35:  You cross the river on a ferry that runs all day until 12am There is no landing, just a pile of stone pushed into the river. The ferry grinds up against the pile with the engines running until everyone is off. In you are wondering about the weather change this is not our picture Slide36:  We had the second of four flats here on the Mackenzie. We spent two hours on the shore trying to figure out how to get the spare out from under the truck. Even through it was about 10 pm it was still very bright daylight. Good thing. Would have helped if the rental had an owners manual. Slide37:  This is the darkest that it got on the Dempster. It is almost 2 am as we approach Inuvik but it is only a bright twilight. We never saw stars the whole trip Slide38:  Finally the main drag of Inuvik. Notice the northern version of Wal-Mart on the right – Northmart. When we came in at 2 am the bars were letting out and there were still kids on the playground. Slide39:  One interesting thing about Inuvik is that the sewage pipes run above ground so that they don't melt the permafrost. Most of the houses are raised above ground as well. Slide40:  We went to the Great Northern Arts Festival while we were there and it was great. All the items are on display in one big room and all the artisans are working in the other big room. Talked with a custom knife maker for an hour. Slide41:  Time to head back to Dawson. 700km away. Slide42:  Back over the Mackenzie as the weather starts to turn against us. Slide43:  Did you know that the Dempster turns into a slippery gooey mess when it gets wet? We spent most of the rest of the day in 4WD. The fact that, if we went off the road, nobody might find us for days, never entered my mind. David, being immortal, didn't care. Slide44:  This picture was taken two seconds after we hit a puddle that completely, completely covered the entire vehicle. First time that has ever happened to me. If the wiper hadn't cleared the window a sec later we would have been toast. Slide45:  Hard to see here but the drop off to the left is about 100 feet or so. I wanted to see it better so I lost control and we slid toward the edge. There are times when 4WD is awesome. Slide46:  As if we didn't have enough problems the road was doing double duty Slide47:  Ran out of energy at about 600 km and slept in the truck while the front tire lost all its air. This was the fourth flat tire. Fortunately not all at one time. Slide48:  Most of the Dempster is on permafrost. In the middle of July, in the middle of a big green field, there was still a patch of ice. The air temperature was around 24C. Slide49:  Eventually we made it back to Dawson. As soon as we got off the Dempster we were hungry so we stopped and had a musk ox burger. Interesting texture but good. Get it with cheese Slide50:  Nest Step - Dawson, Yukon to Chicken, Alaska along the Top of the World Highway. Only 174 km – no sweat. Slide51:  The Top of the World highway is built on a series of ridge tops. Built far above the tree line the views would have been better if the weather had been drier. Not many roads have a 500 ft drop off on BOTH sides at the same time. Slide52:  Can you see the white knuckles? After the Dempster, not enough sleep and watching the temp on this road inch toward freezing I am really tired of driving Slide53:  The Alaskan border. One Canadian and one American for a month at a time. The next slide says it all. Slide55:  The next stretch on the Alaskan side is narrow, rutted and has some significant drop offs. Apparently they lose a number of vehicles on a regular basis. Slide56:  Ended up at the town of Tok on the Alaskan Hwy Here is the B&B that we lucked into. Run by a German professor who spent her time making stained glass art. Slide57:  Here we are leaving Alaska. One of the objectives of the trip was to get me to Alaska because it gave me 49 of the 50 states. Only missing Oregon at the time but got it a few weeks later. Slide58:  Back in Canada but, oddly enough, the Canadian border control is about a 30 minute drive along the highway after the border. Nice to be on a paved road though. Slide59:  As we continue along the Alaskan Hwy we come to the boundary of Kluane National Park. 22,000 sq km of glaciers, mountains and wilderness. Unfortunately we are only driving by. The park is so big that Canada's highest peak, Mt. Logan, isn't even visible from the boundaries Slide60:  The road from Tok to Whitehorse Slide61:  Now we have a day back in Whitehorse before the river trip. Nice downtown where we bought some fleeces that would come in very handy on the river. Slide62:  The Canoe Part The Nisutlin River 139 km of wilderness river Its easy enough to get to. Just drive south and east out of Whitehorse on the South Canol Rd for three hours. Just to be honest. To someone from the Yukon any river you can drive to isn't really a wilderness river. The fact that it has no people, buildings or any sign of man on it is not relevant. Of course Canol Rd itself goes nowhere. It was built to service a pipeline which no longer exists and is hundreds of kilometres long with nothing on it. Whitehorse Alaskan Hwy Nisutlin River Slide63:  Now this is driving Slide64:  Mostly overcast High 14C Low 3 But who cares? Slide65:  This is a typical camping site. In two weeks the salmon will be running and this will be a grizzly fishing spot. Slide66:  By the way. Watched pots do boil - eventually Slide67:  Of course some people are way too serious about cooking Slide68:  David's feet were cold so we stopped to make a fire. I collected this pile of firewood for him but he decided on a small fire instead. Slide69:  As a precaution we would spread everything out. The fire in the middle, the tent about 50+ m to one side and the “bear proof” food barrel (blue thing in the middle) about 50+m in the other direction. The trees here aren't big enough to consistently hang the food. Slide70:  Four nights. Five Days. Just David and me Slide71:  The upper river twists and turns with a faster current and sandbars like this. All of the sand bars were full of tracks – moose, caribou & grizzly but the animals themselves remained hidden. Slide72:  The river twisted and turned so much that we lost track of where we were. We loafed for a couple of days until I finally got a clear shot at three different peaks and I was able to triangulate our position. Instead of us being at the 35km mark we were at 70km. Oops. At least we were headed in the right direction. Slide73:  The lower part of the river opened up and slowed down. The last 20km were like paddling on a lake. Very little white water. We had chosen a mild river, for safety's sake, since we were a single boat trip. Slide74:  The river empties out into Nisutlin Bay after passing through the Nisutlin Bay Delta National Wildlife Refuge. It is a big bay but calm as we paddled through it. If the wind had picked up we would have had to beach it. Slide75:  Did I mention that it rained for an hour or two on the bay? Here I am testing whether quick dry shirts can dry in a rain storm. Can you tell by now that David carried the camera? Slide76:  Finally in the distance we can see the biggest bridge on the Alaskan Highway. All we have to do is cross underneath and we will be at Teslin, a small village on the highway (pop 400). Since the weather wasn't ideal we paddled for five hours straight, without a break, just to get here. Slide77:  If you couldn't see it in the last shot here is a blow up of the bridge. It is an open metal bridge and every vehicle makes a hell of a racquet going over. Slide78:  Under the bridge and onto the boat landing. A quick walk across the highway to a truck stop meant a hot meal and a phone call to the outfitter to come get us. I think we startled some tourists in the restaurant. We had a paddle propped up next to us, since it had the outfitter's phone number on it, and I was cleaning my fingernails with a large sheath knife. Maybe they thought we were locals. The outfitter picked us up three hours later. Slide79:  T It was a good home for five days Slide80:  Dropped off in Whitehorse. On the plane back to Vancouver then to Kelowna in 36 hours. Nice beards huh? Slide81:  Road Trip Recap Whitehorse to Dawson to Inuvik to Dawson to Chicken to Tok and then back to Whitehorse 4 flats – 1 cracked windshield -2 Territories – 1 State 3100 km (1927 m) (over1500 km unpaved) - 4 days 6 hours Slide82:  Canoe Trip Recap 130 km 2 guys 5 days – 4 nights A barrel of dehydrated food Overwhelming Silence A new appreciation for Jack London's Call of the Wild Slide83:  Awesome (and the End)‏

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