Travelogues

Trip Information

United States
Got Gas?
Got Gas? (7)
Trip Date:2003-07-09 - 2003-07-11
# Photos:10 [View]
Countries visited:United States
Viewed: 2532
Many people will not attempt this trip. Over the length of this road there are 3 gas stations, No stores, no lodging, no nothing except you the road (mostly unpaved) and the ever-present pipeline. There is some traffic, but it's sparse and mostly limited to large trucks, some red Aleska pickup trucks and few adventurous souls.

The terrain varies as you move north along this road. Just north of Fairbanks the land opens to rolling hills covered in forest of spruce and willow mostly. While traveling this section I witnessed several forest fires burning freely. Hundreds of miles away from civilization there is little concern for the fires I was told. The first stop is at the Yukon; a major river crossing where there is a visitorís center and roadhouse offering meals and gas. The food was excellent and the gas somewhat expensive, but you don't have many choices for either.

Next 130 miles or so the trees gradually give way to tundra interspersed with small stands of stunted spruce and/or willow. The scenery has been stunning and seems to get better the farther north I go. Perhaps it's because it was because this terrain was all new to me, but for whatever reason I was enjoying it a lot. The next stop is Cold Foot. This is a small town, not much bigger than a small truck stop really. There is gas and meals available here and a sign says service, but the shop looks more geared towards truck service.

Having topped off my gas tank I turn to the road and first thing I see s a sign that says, "NEXT SERVICES 240 MILES" before me. This is the last section of road before Deadhorse, 240 miles away. It moves north from Cold Foot to the Brooks Range and passing through Atigun Pass makes it's way down to through the tundra.

Again, most of this land is BLM land and has only been accessible to the public at large by car for a couple years. You can camp at any of hundreds of spots along the way, but the Marion Creek Campground was by far the cleanest and most comfortable campground that I found in Alaska. It's not heavily used, so it escapes much of the abuse of the hoards.

The road leave Cold foot gradually climbing into the Brooks Range. These are probably some of least viewed and least visited spots on earth. Winter temps here can dip to -80F and last till .. well.. depending on your blood... LOL. Low temp while I was there was at Atigun pass at about midnight... 38F. I can't say enough about the scenery here; with the midnight sun, it was almost magical.

Hiking here is only for the daring and prepared. I have done a lot of hiking and consider myself a somewhat seasoned veteran. But when you strike out on a hike here; there are no trails to follow. The only trails are game trails. This is grizzly and polar bear country, so depending on where you go; you must keep you wits and know your surroundings. In other words, you must be bold or foolish, because it's not like you can hike out. Its too many miles to even think about to help and if you get lost... well... you can see where that goes. I'm not sure which I am, but I did manage a short hike. Armed with GPS and good spirits I struck out east of the road to see what I could see.

It was almost religious experience words can't describe. The quiet was deafening! Not a trace of man, not a scar to be seen. Only the tracks and scat of moose.. caribou... wolves.. small rodents.... bears... BEARS?.. I'm heading back to camp! Honestly, I don't know much about bears, but I ran across fresh bear tracks that were huge. I assume they were brown bear tracks, but I have never seen them that big... ever!

The tundra was interesting. It is the flattest land I have ever seen. Flat to the horizon in areas. At over 100 miles I could still see the Brooks Range behind me. The closer you get to Deadhorse the flatter the tundra gets until it finally starts to give way to salt marsh. This is Deadhorse, as far as the road goes. Gas up, send some post cards, grab some junk food and get ready to head back south. Not a lot to be seen here, industrial setting, airport, lots of activity here though.

I hope my pics can show some of what I saw, but if you ever come this way, it's worth the trip.
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