Yukon with friends. Can there be anything more satisfying? Well, maybe one thing; traveling in the Yukon with my wife a few years ago. Still, traveling the famed Dempster Highway with my guy friends runs a close second. We’re in the third (or is it the fourth?) day of our 11-day adventure together, the six of us celebrating 25 years of friendship with a slam-bang trip to the spectacular vistas made famous by Jack London (with credit to Sargent Preston, of course). Lots of laughing and teasing, reminisces, catching up on each others’ lives.
Tonight we’re camping alongside the Blackstone River, surrounded by mountains whose low-lying reddish vegetation is just beginning to show signs of approaching Fall. I looked out the window and saw that Jay caught and released the first fish of the trip. Somehow five of us managed to cook a decent meal of fish, potatoes and broccoli. We ate it together, watching the river flow swiftly by. The days are long in August in this part of the world, so we finally bed down around 11:00, with the mountains still silhouetted by the day’s retiring light. Our RVs are parked so close to the river I’m worried about them floating away if this infernal rain keeps up.
As it turns out we made it through the cold night still dry, but a light rain started again in early morning as we where on the road. And what a road the Dempster Highway is. Callijng it a Highway was some bureaucrat’s idea of a joke, for sure. It is a gravel road, full of constant bumps, ruts and potholes so that as you drive you feel like you are in a blender. The views are spectacular when the weather cooperates, but today we are socked in by low-lying clouds and fog. The road is muddy, so we have the added thrill of slipping and sliding in our 25-foot RV.
At milepost 229 (369-km), we stop for water and gas at Eagle Plains Hotel (and restaurant, gas station and small store), the only stop on the entire 450-mile highway. It’s still a long way to Inuvik, which is the end of the highway in summer. During the winter, the road continues as an ice road all the way to Tuktoyaktuk on the Beaufort Sea (part if the Arctic Ocean). Our plan is to reach Inuvik and take a puddle jumper to Tuk, as the locals call it. There- you guessed it- our troupe will take a celebratory dip into the frigid ocean! (For those of you women reading this, it’s a guy thing).
Once our guy-cation is done, I’ll spend another 10 days in Yukon intensely photographing. On the agenda are grizzlies feeding on salmon, Northern lights and some pristine landscape images.
My next post will be in a few days, after we reach Tuk. So, please stay tuned. In the meantime you can follow my progress on a live, interactive map by clicking here.