Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Arctic Circle ~ Dempster Highway ~ Yukon

This is our second day on the Dempster Highway in the beautiful Yukon country and we drive just short of 200 km (120 mi) today.  The roads are gravel but although some places are good road, not all of them are. Our speed is slow most of the time, we spend about 8 hours of our day driving.

Ogilvie River morning fog
We woke up to a beautiful sunny morning at Elephant Rock and enjoyed our morning coffee beside the Ogilvie River.  We were usually on the road by 8:30 am but we weren’t in a hurry this morning and didn’t leave until 9:30 am. 

Ogilvie Mountains
We stopped at each viewpoint we came to.  The day was beautiful and the sights were spectacular.  Ogilive Ridge – Gwazhal Kak, which means “swollen up” was at the top of a seven mile hill.

Ogilvie-Peel River system
This view reaches 180 km (112 mi) over the Ogilvie-Peel River systems.  The Ogilvie River is one of 6 rivers that flow from the Ogilvie Mountains into the Peel River in the low lying plateaus.  These six tributaries run into the Peel River, part of the McKenzie River watershed, which is the  largest one in Canada.

Fireweed overlooks the Ogilvie-Peel plateau
The Peel River is 440 kilometres (274 mi) long and the watershed is crucial for the habitat living in the area.  It would be interesting to see what lives out there in the valley but we weren’t about to go down there to find out.  The fireweed, Yukon’s national official floral emblem frames the view of the valley beautifully.

RV wash at Eagle Plains
We stopped at Eagle Plains, the halfway point that has a population of 8!  It is a good place to stop for fuel, lunch and even wash the RV’s to remove some of the mud on there.   There is a hotel that is open year round as well as a restaurant where we enjoyed a good lunch.  That is all there is.

Dempster Highway, Yukon
Midday temperature was about 16C (60F) and we are on our way again with cleaner vehicles and full tanks.  The green mountains and valleys continue as we cross the Eagle Plains and make our way north.  We are between the Ogilvie Mountains to the south of us and the Richardson Mountains to the north.  The great views continue!

Airstrip on the Dempster Highway
They say there is a first time for everything, and this was definitely the case with this sight.  This stretch of road is also used as an airstrip!  The sign tells us there is no stopping or parking on this road.  I doubt its a busy strip but when someone needs to land an airplane up here, this is the place to come.

We are at the Arctic Circle in Yukon
We have arrived at the Arctic Circle!  There is a large rest area at this point and this is where we will stay the night.  We make this our night stop both times we travel the Dempster Highway.

Richardson Mountains
With no one else here, we park and put our chairs outside to enjoy the amazing view.  A young couple who we’d spoken with at Eagle Plains stopped and had a visit before they moved on.  The wind was pretty strong but there were no mosquitoes to deal with. 

Storm is coming to the Arctic Circle
We sat outside and watched the lightning show as it made its way toward us before the storm forced us to go inside.  The rain passed over and by 10:30 pm the bright sun was shining again… the Arctic Circle!


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