May 24, 2012 Traveling the Famous Haul Road: The Dalton Highway
Incredible views, wildlife sightings, good conversation and a picnic along the Yukon River made the miles fly along the Dalton Highway today. We headed north out of Fairbanks to Toolik Field Station, my home for the next six weeks. The Station is about 370 miles from Fairbanks, and we enjoyed driving approximately nine hours making our way up the famous Haul Road along the Alaska Pipeline.
The official name of the road is the Dalton Highway, and it has been featured on the History Channel Show "Ice Road Truckers". No ice today, thankfully, and plenty of great weather and scenery to enjoy.
Some of the wildlife we spotted today included an Arctic fox, Dall sheep, a sik-sik, and numerous caribou. We must be in Alaska!
A favorite milestone is the Arctic Circle wayside stop. Here the road crosses the Arctic Circle, north of which the sun will be above the horizon for 24 hours on the summer solstice, and will stay below the horizon for 24 hours the day of the winter solstice. I will enjoy being here for the summer solstice on June 20, and seeing the famous "midnight sun".
We made several stops along the way: a picnic lunch along the Yukon river, a stop for souvenirs at the old mining town of Coldfoot
and a stop to walk along a short tundra nature trail.
There were also several unplanned stops, as there is always construction and maintenance work on the highway.
We even came across some areas being cleared of recent avalanches!
Following a couple of semis over the last few miles of road seemed a little anti-climatic, but it was really great to pull into the field station and sit down to a delicious dinner and begin meeting everyone.
Take a look at a couple of the views around here on the live webcam: