6/19/2009

June 13 - 19, 2009 – Work, Dalton Highway, Arctic Circle and more WOW!

Saturday, 13th, was a work day for us. The visiting artists today were Hilda and Herb Melchior. Hilda does Silversmithing, Sculpturing, and Jewelry Making and Herb does Photography. What a wonderful couple. Their work is just beautiful. Hilda and I had some long conversations about jewelry and beading. She looked at my pieces and gave me some insights – Thank you Hilda. Andy and I had a great time chatting with both of them and hope to keep in touch.

Sunday, 14th, was a work day for us and it was also my father’s birthday – he would have been 84 today so Happy Birthday, Dad.

Monday, 15th, another work day and the end of our second to last weekend of work.

Tuesday, 16th, I decided that I wanted to have lunch by the Yukon River so up the Elliot and Dalton Highway we went. Two years ago we went this way on a tour and the road was terrible. We decided to go as far as we could and if the road was bad we would turn back. Well, the road was so much BETTER. The Elliot Highway is paved to the junction with the Dalton. The Dalton started out a little rough and then it was good. Some of it is now paved. So I will take you on a little picture tour.

The Alaska pipeline runs alongside a good portion of the Dalton (FYI, the Dalton is also known as the “Long Haul Road”). Here is our first sighting of the pipeline:

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 009

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 011 And another:

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 015

The pictures do not do the vastness of this area justice. If you remember the picture of Andy by one of the supports of the pipeline – it towered over him. Now image all those supports in the picture – I hope you can get an idea.

Here is another picture of from one of the overlooks:

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 022

Our first sighting of the Yukon:

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 025 And the bridge:06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 027

And the barge/ferry that goes to the many villages along the River:

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 028

This river has so much history – from the Native Peoples to the present. As we sat by the river and had lunch, I thought about all the people who have used this river to travel, to survive and who still use it today.

The Arctic Circle is 60 miles from here and once we inquired about the road (OK) we decided to head up there.

How about this part of the road (and yes, I was driving – :-))):

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 030

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 036

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 043

This area is know as Finger Mountain. There is evidence here that hunters knew about this rock when shaggy mammoths and bison roamed the surrounding hills. The rock marked a premier location to watch for game that continued for many generations. Later, bush pilots used the rock to guide their way home, since the granite finger points directly to Fairbanks.

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 040

A view of the other rocks in the area:

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 038

This is heading down Finger Mountain into the valley – I have fallen in love with this valley. All the white you see on the valley floor are tundra wildflowers. This area was abloom and it was gorgeous!!!

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 044

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 049

15 miles later we arrived at the Arctic Circle:

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 057

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 059 And just to prove we drove there – :-))):

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 062

We met a number of people there and four of them were also Escapee members. I should have thought about getting a picture of all of us and sending it into the magazine (but I thought about it later – :-( ).

And the road back. That plume of smoke is from a large truck coming down the hill.

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 065

More of the valley with the wildflowers and more of the road – I truly wish the pictures showed the vastness and the beauty.

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 067 06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 079 06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 074

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 071

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 080

And with one last stop at the mighty Yukon – the longest river in America. Will this be the last time I see this river??? – maybe, maybe not – :-).

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 082

As we continued down the highway, we were stopped. Apparently there was a large oversized load going up to Prudhoe Bay. Before I go into this, I need to tell you that I also enjoy watching the show Ice Road Truckers so THIS was neat to see. It was also more fascinating that there was a long haul trucker parked with us who explained some of the things we saw.

Here is the truck coming down the hill. Now I also need to explain that there were two other trucks (with large loads right behind him). The first was connected, the second was not. So there are three trucks involved here. The first one has the oversized heavy load and he is pulling. The second one is connected and he is a pusher – to help the first up those LARGE, STEEP hills, and the third is also a pusher to give that extra push if needed.

Copy of 06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 088 Here he comes:06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 097 The second truck or first pusher:

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 101

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 102

The third truck or second pusher:

06-16-09 Elliot and Dalton Highway 103

WOW! and more WOW! An extra treat to the end of the day. The whole day took us over twelve hours – was it worth it – YES!!!

One of the things on our bucket list was to go to Prudhoe Bay and the Arctic Ocean but because of the cost of tours we decided not to do it. I know that the Tracker might make it but some day when I win the lottery, I think I would get a truck camper with extra gas tanks and do this road – WOW!!!

Wednesday, 17th, we did grocery shopping, and washed the car – it was really dusty and dirty from yesterday’s trip.

Our Elliot had a rough day – :-))):

06-17-09 Creamers Refuge 002

So he had to take it easy – LOL.

This afternoon, we saw our local fox crossing the field – what a treat!
06-17-09 Creamers Refuge 003 06-17-09 Creamers Refuge 003a

06-17-09 Creamers Refuge 005 06-17-09 Creamers Refuge 005a

06-17-09 Creamers Refuge 008 06-17-09 Creamers Refuge 008a

This evening, Melissa and Alexis held a potluck at Melissa’s house for us. What a nice treat and a great time. Thank you Melissa and Derek for having us. And thanks to Melissa, Derek, Alexis, Mark and Sarah for a great time at the dinner and also for our stay here.

Thursday, 18th, and Friday, 19th, were just hang out days and getting caught up with odds and ends. We will be leaving here next Wednesday and heading for Denali. Right now I have reservations for Wed thru Sat night and then onto Anchorage and Seward. But who know, plans change daily. I also found out that Talkeetna has a Moose Dropping Festival on July 11-12 so hopefully we will get there.

Tomorrow thru Monday will be working days for us and the next hosts will be here tomorrow so we will be doing some transitioning. On Sunday is Solstice – the longest day – and Fairbanks is having a festival from noon to midnight so our plans are to head there on Sunday after work.

So stay tuned.

1 comment:

countyplowboy1 said...

Very nice indeed.