08/16/09 - 08/17/09 Dalton Highway

We decided to take a trip up the Dalton Hwy which leads up to the Arctic Circle and then on up to the Arctic Ocean. We left Fairbanks earlier in the day and it was pouring! We were really worried that it would hamper our entire trip, but it cleared up beautifully as we drove! Because of the weather though, we only planned a trip up to the Arctic Circle and back. We couldn't believe how beautiful it ended up!!

The views were just beautiful along the drive!

Our first glimpse of the mighty Yukon River! It is the third longest river in North America!

We stopped along the river where the Alaska Pipeline actually goes across the river in a tube that is alongside this bridge that we had just driven over. All the bridges along the highway were wooden too so that they could expand and contract as needed with the weather. We read that the bridge had the ability to move up to 2 feet!!

This is how it looked going into the tubing alongside the bridge.

For much of the trip up the Dalton, the pipeline was on one side or the other. It wandered both over and under the highway quite a few times.
We were told by many, many sources that the road would be in terrible shape and difficult to drive. Well, needless to say, it was no where near what all had described.

Although the fireweed is really past being in bloom, the fuchsia coloring is still beautiful up on the hills! And yes, that's the pipeline that's going right through it.

This is called a Tor, a rocky outcrop. This particular place is called Finger Mountain. I thought it looked like it was flipping us off, but Sal thought it was just a "thumbs-up" instead. What do you think???

We made it to the Arctic Circle! We stayed the night in a small informal campground that they had up behind this wayside. It got down into the 20's overnight!! Brrrr!! Considering we were staying in a tent, it was just a bit brisk while we were sleeping!! The next morning though, it was clear as a bell and just beautiful!!!

We were really starting to see some fall colors while we were driving there. We talked to one woman who worked further up the highway and she told us that it was snowing further north and had been for days! It was hard to imagine when we had such wonderful weather where we were.

Although the car got a little dirty, it actually wasn't nearly as bad as we were lead to believe it would be. We had an amazing time!!! We're already saying that next time we're here in Alaska, we want to go all the way up to the Arctic Ocean!


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