Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Yukon River - Deadhorse

Obligatory shot of the arctic circle

The truckers are friendly to the bikers

7 Jun
The Dalton hwy is a strange mix of gravel road with the odd section of tarseal. Quite why you would want tarseal up here beats me. The boreal forest finishes on this road and after the North Slope the tundra begins. At 5.30 pm the sun is still high in the sky, there is a cold wind and I have about 75 miles to go. The road is incredibly slippery and slushy in places but mostly it has a hard base. It would be a bitch in the rain. With 100 km to go I come across a stop sign on a side road – who thinks up this crap. Met one other biker on the road going my way but he is so petrified by the greasy surface I left him behind. At 7.45 pm I am just short of Deadhorse and 5,000 km north of Vancouver*, the sun is behind cloud and is now very cold. A couple of hardy Japanese push cyclists are making camp for the night beside a gravel mound. I have taken 2 days to get here, they must have been on the road for a week. Not much wild life about. Saw no Dall sheep in the mountains and only 3 caribou. Very little bird life and only the slightest sign of spring growth flora. It's also to early for the mossies - there are none at all, probably on account the lakes are frozen solid. There is one other biker at the Prudhoe Bay Hotel.
* To put this in perspective - this is over 5,000 k south of Invercargill and down around the Ross ice shelf.