Sunday, September 10, 2017

Friday September 8, 2017, Dawson City, Yukon to Fort McPherson, Northwest Territory

This morning we left for our great Northwest Adventure.  We had no idea what was ahead of us, but thought we were prepared.  Water, food, 2 extra spare tires, a vehicle in good condition, and a place to sleep if need be. 

First to our surprise the condition of the road was better than expected.  Yes, it is gravel, but smooth. Also, we met a fair number of vehicles coming south, in comparison to the traffic on Campbell Highway the other day, where we met 1 vehicle per hour. 

Beautiful Fall Colors

Start to see the reds and oranges

The topography on the Dempster changes at least every 50 miles.  It was extremely interesting, even if there were stretches that were boring. The awesome thing about driving this road in the fall are the colors.  It was simply beautiful, the golden trees, the shades of yellows, oranges and reds in vegetation and shrubs against a backdrop of green pines.  You could not take enough photos! Then there were the mountain ranges - some of the peaks just had a sprinkling of fresh snow.  Again, the rivers and beautiful reflective lakes. It is raw nature putting on its best show.

The road continued to be in better shape than we ever expected.  We did see a car sitting along the side of the road with no rear tire – had to take it at least 2 hours for repairs, and then back! We also saw a vehicle being hauled on a flat-bed – who knows what that costs per mile! We saw another vehicle, helping another vehicle with what appeared to be engine problems, just hope they had the solution. 

Red Bearberry

Bearberry with Lichens

It is a long way from anywhere out here! After leaving Dawson City it was 6 – 6 ½ hours until the first services!!!! – Eagle Plains.  After topping off the gas tank, we went to the restaurant for a cup of coffee, a bowl of soup, a piece of chocolate cake and a dip of ice cream. We expected gas to be more expensive.

After Eagle Plains, we were on top of a plateau for at least a 100 miles. You are on Top of the World, looking down into valleys.  Again, the colors were spectacular on mountain ridges, and valleys. However, we have been horribly disappointed that we have not seen any wildlife.  In Dawson, we talked to two people, one saw no wildlife and the other person saw some.

All of a sudden, we saw two black moving humps in the grasses.  It was a Mother grizzly and her year-old cub! Getting a good photo is difficult as they are constantly moving, and have their heads down, eating. 
Curving Road ahead

Tundra reds yellows and oranges

Mother Grizzly

Young Grizzly Cub

We crossed into the Northwest Territory before coming down off the plateau to a beautiful river valley.

Finally, we get to the Peel River ferry.  Within minutes we were going across the Peel River on the ferry.  It is 6:30 pm.  We are ready to quite for the day.  There is a nice Provincial campground nearby.  We drove into Ft McPherson thinking we would eat at a cafĂ©, instead of making something ourselves, but all they have is a grocery store and gas station! We are prepared! Even had another campfire! However, we should have bought some marshmallow!

Tamarack - A deciduous Pine, turning yellow before losing it's needles

Our little camp stove

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