Tag Archives: alaska highway

Happy National Bison Day

Running the Bison Gauntlet; Alaska Highway, British Columbia

It’s National Bison Day in the U.S., and the shaggy beasts are worthy of celebration, but they don’t like hugs. I’m talking to you Yellowstone Visitors…

A friendly chart from the National Park Service on the best parts of a wild bison to pet. #keepwildlifewild

Alaska Highway Closure

Washout on Highway 97; Photo credit: Yukon 511

A severe washout has taken out both lanes of the Alaska Highway in British Columbia, just short of the border with the Yukon Territory. The location of the closure is between Liard Hot Springs and Watson Lake. Judging by the size of the ditch, repairs may take a while. No immediate detour is available.

An aerial view; Photo credit: Nate Vallier

Travelers will have to make a route change early if they want to continue on to Watson Lake and/or Alaska, or do some serious back-tracking. The alternative is the very scenic Stewart-Cassiar Highway, also known as Highway 37. It’s a beautiful route, but more remote. I recommend bringing extra gas.


The Alaska Hi-way:

An Alaska Highway postcard, circa 1949

I have driven the Alaska Highway at least a dozen times now, and even today, one asks a similar question.

Much of it is paved now, but anyone who says the entire road is pavement is lying. Entire sections remain gravel, whether due to nostalgia, construction or sadism.

But, in all honesty, I sincerely hope it remains that way.


The opening of the Al-Can

The first truck through, November 1942

The anniversary of the first truck to travel the Alaska Highway was on Saturday, 20 November. The truck was the first to drive from Dawson to Whitehorse, and then from Whitehorse to Fairbanks. In 1942, that must have been one chilly ride.

The Alaska Highway Guide; 1948

In 1948, The Alaska Highway Guide was published, which listed the scant accommodations and services along the route. The Milepost, which today is the bible of Al-Can travel, would be published for the first time in 1949.


Frozen Load

October is American Archives Month:

October 1942

The building of the Alaska Highway. Even in October, the load of dirt has frozen to the bed of the dump truck.

Photo is from the National Archives


“Northern Lights, Alaska Highway”

Oil on canvas, by Canadian artist Alexander Young Jackson, circa 1943

AlCan Stop

Film Friday:

Camera: Kodak 66; Film: Kodak 120, Ektar 100


Cold Trusses

IMG_3107.jpeg

 


Robertson River

IMG_3119.jpeg

Crossing the Robertson River on the Alaska Highway

 


Caribou Crossing

IMG_3114.jpeg

Driving out to the border, the wildlife viewing was excellent as usual.  I spotted several moose, flocks of grouse, and quite a few caribou.  I stopped for these three caribou to cross in front of me, and watched them make their way down the roadway slope to a frozen creek below.

IMG_3115.jpeg

One solo caribou earlier in the day, had a harder time of it.  The snow was over belly deep, and I watched the animal from a long distance, as it determinably struggled to reach the road.  Once it did, it saw me coming, and I could feel its deflation, and hear its sigh of disgust.

The caribou went  across the road, considered hopping into the snow there, but then turned to clop down the frozen pavement.  I slowed down to a crawl, but still caught up with it.  The caribou looked me over as I came to a stop, then resigned to its fate, it crossed back to the side of the road it came from, and went back into the snow.  This caribou was stressed enough, so I didn’t  take its picture, I just drove on, with the caribou buried well past its haunches in powder.

In my rear view mirror, I could see another truck coming up, and so did the caribou.  I think it planned on coming back out onto the road once I left, but now it snowplowed its way back to the treeline where it came from when I first saw it.

No doubt, there are too many people in Alaska for that caribou’s liking.  Can’t say that I entirely blame it either.