Saturday, July 30, 2016

Moving along the Alaska Highway


After leaving Jasper National Park we continued on north and joined the Alaska Highway (Alcan) at Dawson Creek BC.  Dawson is known as mile 0 of the highway which stretches for 1500 miles to Fairbanks Alaska.  


The Alaska Highway was built in 1942 as part of the war effort.  By this time Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor and had already invaded and were occupying the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.  There was a real fear that they would invade main land North America via Alaska.  In an effort the provide better defense for North America the US Army was task with building the Alaska Highway from Dawson Creek BC to Fairbanks as an overland supply route.  Dawson Creek was the farthest point north that the railroad reached.  They were given one year to build it.  Ultimately 11,000 troops and 16,000 civilian workers were able to carve out a two lane road through 1500 miles of wilderness and mountains in 8 months.  They worked under horrific conditions ranging from 90 degree summers to –70 degrees in the winter.  When completed the road was very basic with 90 degree turns and 25% grades but met the objective of providing a supply route to Alaska.


From Dawson Creek to continued up to Fort Nelson BC where we spent two nights.  On Saturday, July 30, we took a day trip about a 130 miles north to visit Fort Liard in Northwest Territories (NWT).  Fort Liard is a First Nations community on the banks of the Liard River about 30 miles north of the BC/NWT line .  The road up to NWT was excellent and there was NO traffic.  Actually the highway was better than most of the more traveled roads.  At the border the road changed to gravel but was still in good condition.  In the 100 miles or so to the border we only met 8-10 other vehicles.  We were hoping to spot lots of wildlife on this remote road but only spotted a bison and two black bears.

Tomorrow we will continue up the Alcan toward Muncho Lake where we hope to do some kayaking in its blue green waters.



Spotted this Rockey Mountain Big Horn sheep shortly after leaving Jasper National Park



Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway (Alcan)



Some of the tools that build the 1500 mile long Alaska Highway… in 8 short months




This is what happens when a construction zone pilot car takes us into a wet sand trap… fortunately they had some big equipment to pull us out.  Only cost us an hour or so delay.



We finally made it to Northwest Territories…long long way from home



Within a couple kilometers of entering Northwest Territories this big guy was on the side of the road greeting us…



A view from the Alcan.  The beauty is hard to describe and photos can’t capture the vastness of the landscape




Day 10 – July 27, 2016, 132 miles



Day 11 – July 28, 2016, 229 miles



Day 12 – July 29, 2016, 288 miles


Day 13 – July 30, 2016, 265 miles


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