RubiKon Adventures

Tales and travels of "GrizzLee", "Looksha Lori" & "Yukon Johann"

Friday, July 15, 2011

RubiKon Adventure Quest 2011: Greetings from Above the Arctic Circle

"One of only 2 roads to penetrate the arctic in North America, the Dempster Highway in Canada and the Dalton Highway in Alaska. The Dempster Highway, we’ve heard is the most beautiful of the two. It stretches beyond the Klondike gold fields to the Mackenzie Delta. It snakes a path of over 450 miles long through the mountains and the artic lowlands. Once part of Beringia, the northern Yukon and Northwest Territories were largely unglaciated, with Wolly Mammoths and Saber tooth cats roaming the tundra alongside prehistoric man. Words and pictures alone cannot describe this part of the world. The sun shines not for a day, but for an entire season. Wildlife abounds, unfettered by the ever expanding domain of man and his propensity to plunder everything in sight. The road is like no other, and to call it a highway is somewhat misleading. It is a gravel ribbon spread over a vast wilderness frontier, which was inhabited first by nomadic tribes and then trampled by fur traders and avoided by the Klondike gold seekers. We drove this road up to the upper boundaries of Canada to a native village, Inuvik, and back again -- over 900 miles of gravel. In a period of 2 weeks we hiked, backpacked, climbed and interacted with the descendants of the first people to live in this land. It was an adventure like none we ever experienced. We were sad to leave". ~ GrizzLee commenting on their first experience on the Dempster in 2007

We are in Inuvik and plan to attend the annual arts festival. We had a rough time getting here. The weather wasn't cooperating and the road turned to slush from all the rain. But we made it. Hopefully we will fly out to an arctic island to see more and dip our toes into the Beuafort Sea and meet teh last of the natives who still live entirely off the land. We wish to see what we can as so much of it is starting to dissapear. The polar bears are heading even farther north, the islands are being submerged in water, oil exploration and natrual gas resources are being exploited. Political battles are being fought, roads are being built. The last frontiers of the north are going fast. We are glad to experience such a sacred place once again.

 RubiKon Team at the Arctic Circle.
Rain, not snow or ice hindered our travels on the Dempster Hwy.
View across into the Richardson mountans looked ominous.

The Dempster Hwy also serves as an airstrip.
 This cute little arctic ground squirel and many others like him, found refuge in the gravel banks of the Dempster Hwy. Kind of an unnatural habitat for them as they most likely would not be able to dig homes in the perma frost otherwise.
However, this Falcon (Owl?) found easy dinner along the Dempster, eating whatever was scared up by passing vehicles.

It was a majestic sight to see this bird of prey at work.
 The Dempster Hwy goes on into the horizon like a ribbon strewn across a green carpet.
 The weather at Wright's Pass as we entered the NorthWest Territories was pretty dismal.
Although we couldn't see much, we did take time for a team photo.

 As we descended the pass into the NWT country, we did get "some" minor reprieve from the weather.
 Typical road conditions with fog creeping in.
 As we got closer to Fort MacPherson it rained pretty good; turnng the road to mush. Here we crossed the Peel River on a ferry before turning in for the night.
The next day, sunshine and DUST!!

 View out over a big lake before heading up the hill to Inuvik.
 Awe yes... a little note about Mosquitos. This is a must read for anyone considering traveling north.
 Views like this are common along teh Dempster within the MacKenzie Delta area. Lots and lots of lakes.
 A beached ship along the Mackenzie river. Strange to see this sitting just rusting away in the bush.
 Ice Road Trucker wanna be. I guess we were a little early to drive the ice roads. They open sometime in January.
 The end of the Dempster Hwy in Inuvik.
 Obligatory team picture at the sign.
 Yukon Johann and his new found arctic friend in the visitors center.
 Sitting outside in the nice warm summer air.
 Downtown Inuvik. Complete with dogs, local native folks and RVs from around the world.
 The sun did not set tonight. It dipped towards the horizon and began a slow ascent back up.
The Mackenzie Delta at 2:00 am in the morning.

The sun just wouldn't go down. It was peaceful and quiet out here in the delta. One can gather their thoughts and reflect on the day. A great environment to meditate.

Until Next Time...

No comments:

Post a Comment