17 July 2014

Arctic Road Trip

I crossed the Arctic Circle by air and by road.  One of the things I really wanted to do while in Alaska was to cross the Arctic Circle, it would be stupid not to.  I was so close, I just had to!  There were 2 options for crossing the Arctic Circle one involved a very LONG, day car ride.  The other involved a long car ride with a stop to see the Northern Lights AND a short flight.  Any chance to see the lights as many times as possible was our aim for the trip.  So we chose the flight up to the Arctic Circle and then a nice coach ride down the Dalton Highway to watch the Northern Lights in Joy, Alaska and then 'home' to Fairbanks.  It was a LONG day but so worth the beautiful scenery and clean air.  You know you have found an amazing travel companion when you can be up at the butt crack of dawn, return home at the butt crack of dawn the next day and still be smiling ear to ear.  Thanks Sylv, glad to have shared an awesome day with you!

 A view of the frozen Yukon River from the small plane we took up passed the Arctic Circle.

 Our little 8-seater plane landed us in Coldfoot, Alaska.  Here was the start of our roadtrip journey. 
 We got to visit the working sled dogs at Coldfoot.  They were super stinky and dirty.
 But were very welcoming of our attention.  I think this little guy liked my sister more than he liked me.  I didn't mind the doggy doo smell, it was nice to pet a dog after missing mine back at home.
 During the drive we got to see several miles of the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline.  Did you know the reason the pipe is above ground is due to the permafrost?  The pipes would eventually melt the permafrost and the pipelines would sink/break over time.
 Gobbler's Knob, took this with my cell phone so it looks funky.  Here is a cool, time lapse of the same place, it really is a beautiful place.  There is a single, roadside outhouse... I think it was the worst place I have ever stepped foot inside of.
 Here is a view from behind the Arctic Circle sign that is at the top of this post.  Another wonky looking pano from my phone.  I supposed I could have cropped it to make it look less funky, too lazy.  These blog posts have already taken far too long to upload.
 We stopped off at the Yukon River, which was frozen over at the time.
 This is a pano that I took at 8pm standing on the Yukon River.  The tracks run the length of the river but since I took a pano it doesn't look that way.  To the left is the Yukon River Bridge and to the right is the sun setting.  I got to share a beer with my sister that we had brought from the hotel just to share on the Yukon.  Sunset, beer and my sister made it a magical evening.  And we still had more to go!
 On the Dalton Highway at 9pm, this was in March still!  I recently contacted Heather to ask her how late the sun sets these days.  It pretty much doesn't really right now, it stays light all night long.
This is the start to the Dalton Highway, we did things a little backwards and finished at the start.  We finally ended up in Joy, Alaska to warm up in their general store.  The general store had an outhouse which I did have the opportunity to use, it was so COLD!  Check out the video below, it was uploaded by 日中由 who happened to take the same Northern Lights viewing tours as we did.  So you can check out the amazing aurora and some stops along the way to see it.  Enjoy!

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