Friday, August 20, 2010

Arctic Circle Day Trip

Today it was up and on the move by 7:30 AM. We were bound and determined to drive the first 115 miles of the Dalton Highway and get to 66.5 degrees north latitude i.e. the Arctic Circle - where the sun never sets on June 21st and never breaks the horizon on December 21st. Of course to get to the Dalton Highway you first have to drive 75 miles north of Fairbanks on the regular road system. We're talking a 380 mile day!

Other then lots of frost heaves as a result of the road being built on top of permafrost, some mud, and a few new chips in the windshield it was pretty routine. Our speed on the Dalton varied from 30 to 55 mph, I'd guess we averaged around 40 mph including the stop at the Yukon River for pictures. The biggest hazard was the trucks hauling gear north, those boys don't slow down for much - when we saw them coming we did slow way down and pulled over as far as we could to avoid the spray of rocks - that worked well. The road is wide enough to get well away from on coming traffic. We had our CB radio on channel 19 so we usually knew what was coming, and the road maintenance crew even gave us a personal estimate of the delay at one construction site.

We arrived by lunch time, got the required picture taken, and did a short hike to check out the campground that is set back well back from the road. Surprisingly there were zero mosquitoes.

It was a fun outing and a good scouting trip for future Dalton Highway adventures.

The Yukon River Bridge on the Dalton Highway.

The highway parallels the Alaska Pipeline the whole way.

Been there, done that, still need the tee shirt!

View along the way.

Bow hunters were doing well hunting caribou on the north slope.

1 comment:

  1. For the t-shirt, you need to visit Joy, Alaska! Maybe next time?