Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mon, Sept 14: On the road to somewhere on the ALCAN Highway

We get up early and are on the road by 8AM believe it or not! By tonight we want to get as close to Haines Junction, over 400 miles away in the Yukon Territory, as possible. The morning is beautiful with a blue, blue sky and lots of sunshine! It should be a pretty drive.
Since it is so clear and not a cloud in the sky,

we stop several times for pictures of the snow capped mountains of Wrangell-St Elias National Park,including turning into the park visitor center and walking the short trail to the view point.After about 40 miles, we stop again for gas in Glennallen before heading up the Tok Cut-off, settling in for a long drive. The first 90 miles or so of our road follow the western boundary of the national park and we get some nice views of Mt. Drum, Mt. Wrangelland Mt. Stanford from various angles.
About 50 miles north of Glennallen we climb through the Alaska Range until just south of Tok.This is another scenic drive with absolutely no traffic. At Tok we stop at a post office to mail a DVD to Rick, gas up again (this is a really remote area-gas stations are few and far between) and have some lunch. We also get the propane tank topped off. It was 29 degrees this morning! Our route home is through a less populated area than we have traveled in so far and the services will be fewer and the temperature colder. We are late enough in the season that we may even have to improvise and dry camp in rest areas...we will see how it goes.

From Tok we are back on the AlCAN, the same section we drove after we came down from Chicken several weeks ago. It is now about 50 miles to the Canadian border. We pass US Customs and see a sign that the Canadian Customs is about 20KM ahead. We now know why...the road is awful. We slow way down and ride the roller-coaster!We are driving on the east side of the Kluane Provincial Park that is connected to the Wrangell-St Elais National Park and makes up the World Heritage site. We follow the eastern boundary for the rest of the day, another 300KM. The scenery is wonderful,

but the road is awful. With exception of a brand new section around Kluane Lake,we are beaten to death. At least we are not fighting traffic...there is none!This is the infamous Destruction Bay area of the ALCAN Highway. It has been bad since 1943 and there isn’t anything that can be done apparently because it is built across permafrost that is right on the surface.

We make it to Haines Junction; 450 miles and 11 hours later.We did pass a couple of campgrounds, but they were closed for the season. In fact, where we stop, all we can get is electric because they have turned off the water and sewer system! We are tired enough that this is OK. Carolyn had made dinner for tonight yesterday. So, we heat up the quiche and add a salad. It is getting dark much earlier now so we are in bed asleep by 10PM...with the full propane tank feeding our furnace!

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