The day we left Fairbanks, visibility on the Elliott Highway was at about 10 feet. It was very scary to drive through, especially when you have 6 other peoples' lives in your hand. The Dalton is a dirt road, in much better condition than even 2 years ago, but it is mainly a trucker road, hence the name the Haul road. Below Don is making sure we don't lose our water and some gear.
The Hot Spot. Seriously, has the best burgers on an Alaskan highway.
Atigun Pass! This was my farthest north on the Dalton before this trip.
Mike and his sheep friends...
On the way we stopped at Coldfoot and there were two completely loaded bikes outside.. so I had to go inside and spot who it was and interrogate their travels. I have gained the ability to be able to smell a biker from miles away, ha! It was Alex and Fin, two guys from the UK biking from Deadhorse to Panama. AWESOME! Check out their site and blog. It was really cool talking with them. I haven't gotten my dose of meeting adventuring foreigners this summer. Fin just had knee surgery last year, and realized that there wasn't any better time but now to do what they're doing. That's my kind of people.
Mike and his sheep friends...
We set up camp for the night just north of Atigun Pass at Galbraith Lake. The interns went on a mission across the stream and down to some aufeis, but I had to decline that hike since I could not find a good path to cross without dealing with slippery rocks. Instead, I joined Don on a short hike up in the higher country where we could overlook the smokey surroundings. I could have continued for days, but dusk was coming and camp awaited.
The next morning we headed north all the way to Deadhorse. On the way we paralleled the Sag River.. what a beautiful waterway.
YES! The other Happy Valley!! I was so excited to pass this, and even though in this picture it doesn't not look so happy, the location actually sits just at the foothills of the Brooks Range. Things could be worse.
We went on a tour to get to the Arctic Ocean. Though I've been to it before when in Barrow, I definitely did not go all the way in. This time, we did. We found out that the water there was only about 2 feet deep, OOPS! That was a surprise... Polar Bear Plunge count: 2. The Mon River in Pittsburgh felt SO much colder but maybe that had to do with the whole 16 degrees outside thing.. rather than 35 degrees in Prudhoe Bay.
After the tour which had one goal - to plunge into the Arctic Ocean, we had dinner, and said goodbye to the industrial town of Deadhorse, seeking somewhere warmer and more welcoming in the Brooks Range. We landed back at Galbraith Lake for the night.. and I had absolutely no problem with that.
The interns were a lot of fun and had made up a clever rendition of the 12 days of Christmas, college-style.
The moon rose above the mountains and a slight roar from the others about it made me realize that it's been months since we've seen it. Summer is breaking.
The next morning we decided to hit the road south, cutting our trip a day short. I don't know if the chaperones in the other car were getting sick of us or what, but they called the shots and we returned to smokey Fairbanks a day early.