From Tok we headed towards Fairbanks and up to Fox and then the Dalton Highway, also known as the Haul Road - it was built just to haul equipment up to the North Slope oil fields. It is still used to haul equipment, but not near as much as even 10 years ago.
The Dalton Highway is one of our favorite places to visit. So remote, so beautiful, all the people are friendly.
Blue skies. A rarity so far for this trip.
A friend of mine hit one of these. Actually, it ran out of the forest and into the side of his car. Totaled it. Do not try this at home.
You can see the driveways along the road. You are either approaching a town, or in one.
The start of the Dalton Highway
Black Spruce. If you travel to the far north, you will see a lot of these trees. They tolerate the short season better than most any other tree. Here the Dalton Highway is paved. In 99 when we made this trip, the entire Dalton was dirt and gravel. We were disappointed to find half the road is now paved. The dirt/gravel roads are much better suited to the extreme weather of this area, and they are smoother, better to travel on. Seems they have to build the road to certain Federal standards to get matching Federal funds. A real waste of our tax money.
Here the road is dirt and smooth. you can see different shrubs along the road. They seem to grow faster than the spruce along any construction.
Fire has wiped out large sections of forest.
Those are nasty potholes in the paved road. Winter does bad things to pavement.
You can see the pipeline. Half of the pipeline is buried and half above ground. And it zigs and zags to allow for expansion and contraction from the 100-150 degree temperature variations.
On a clear day you can see forever. This is not a clear day.
Here we are.
More Black Spruce. Seems like it will never end.
Here comes a haul truck. 12% grades are not uncommon.
Approaching the Yukon River bridge. The only bridge across the Yukon River in Alaska.
The Yukon River bridge from the other side. I wouldn't want to try it in ice/snow. Fairly steep.
Yes, that is a bicyclist. We saw several on this trip. They fly up to Deadhorse and bicycle down to Fairbanks. Not my idea of fun. 250 miles of no services. You have to carry all you food and supplies on a bike.
Just a little stream, right beside the road. Does the road ever washout? Yes.
Repairs to the pipeline. Yes, we are that close to it. The little things on top of the supports are radiators. There is a fluid down to the bottom of the support and during the winter the radiator conducts -50 degrees down to solidly freeze the permafrost. Otherwise the metal would melt the permafrost and the pipeline would sink in the summer. The fluid does not conduct heat down in the summer.
Approaching the Brooks Range
Heading up to Atigun Pass through the Brooks Range
Entering Atigun Pass
Dall Sheep at Atigun Pass
What do they eat? It is pretty barren here.
North from Atigun Pass
We spent a couple of nights up on the Dalton. Next stop Denali National Park. Another favorite spot.