Day 9 – The final push north to Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories and the Arctic Ocean.

Named the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway (ITH) the road begins at the end of the Dempster Highway in Inuvik, Northwest Territories and continues for 138 kilometres (86 mi) north towards Tuktoyaktuk, a coastal community on the Arctic Ocean. With its eight bridges this two-lane gravel road was opened on April 29, 2017. The Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk ice road closed for the last time and now all vehicle traffic is via the new all-weather road.

Map 4

The idea of an all-season highway from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk was first brought up in the 1960s. In 1974 the Public Works of Canada completed a survey and technical study of a 140 km (87 mi) route between the towns. The local First Nations people completed their environmental review of the highway in January 2013 and granted their approval. In March 2013 the territorial legislature approved funds for construction of the all-weather highway.

Construction began in January 2014, and was completed with one crew working from Inuvik and a second working from Tuktoyaktuk.  The highway opened on November 15, 2017 and includes eight bridges and 359 culverts.

Tuktoyaktuk-A

Tuktoyaktuk is a hamlet of about 898 people settled in 1928. This natural harbor has been used for centuries by the Inuvialuit as a place to harvest caribou and beluga whales. There are not many tourist facilities in Tuktoyaktuk, a few rooms, a small camping area, grocery store, gas station, visitor center, and food establishments. There are numerous individuals giving tours and lectures on the local culture and landscape. Still finding it’s own with the new influx of visitors due to the new all season highway it is a remote outpost that is a destination you should not miss.

Such a magnificent Highway. The views are stunning that go on forever.

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Video by H. Berge

Entering the town of Tuktoyaktuk it was such a small hamlet.

Finally I dip my feet into the Arctic Ocean, the furthest point north I have been in my life. A life long goal of mine has been to dip my feet into the Arctic Ocean. A goal finally achieved.

An example of the native building is available for viewing and has scheduled tours available from the visitor center. There are 2 structures at the site, one a house without its finish showing how it was constructed and the other a finished structure. To get into the finished structure you must take a scheduled tour.

Tuktoyaktuk is a special place for it has one of the highest concentrations of pingos, with some 1,350 examples.

What is a Pingo? it is a mound of earth covered ice located only in Arctic regions formed by hydrostatic pressure in a permafrost environment.

After eating a great lunch at Grandma’s Kitchen we started our way back to Inuvik and our campsite for the night.

 

 

 

 

The Northern Adventure – Journey to the Yukon

Having already started the first post of this adventure HERE although I should explain what this Journey is about and where in shall go. 

But First:

ADVENTURE – An exciting, daring, bold, risky or very unusual experience or undertaking fraught with physical, financial or psychological risks.

Lets go on an Adventure

What does this mean? It can be different for everyone; skydiving, mountain climbing, scuba diving, river rafting, caving (spelunking) traveling, exploring…… anything that is outside the ordinary for that individual is an adventure. Many make their adventures a way of life and never stop. For some it is just a day, weekend or short trip. Does it need to involve speed, height, a high level of physical exertion or highly specialized gear, some would say yes. I do not think that at all, it is up to the individual the extent of the adventure to be accomplished.

The Individuals:

The explores will consist of 2 individuals who are basically strangers, we came together on social media in our interests for the outside and vehicle exploration. Communicating through the computer is all we done as we live in different states. The team consists of Heather’s 2015 Subaru Outback (#heidi_roo), and myself in a 2017 Subaru Outback (#sled_rider).

 

The Journey:

It will involve a drive from Vancouver, WA to Dawson City, Yukon Territories, Canada, up the Dawson highway to the Arctic Ocean at Tuktoyaktuk, YT, Canada and back. It is something I have never done and it has always been on my bucket list. I have taken 2 cruises to Alaska and have loved the experiences. I now want to experience the lands of Canada and Alaska from the ground driving through the countryside.

Map 1Map 2Map 3Map 4

  • Will it be an adventure? …..yes as this will go far north as you can drive in Canada.
  • Will it be exhilarating? …..Yes.
  • Will it be fun and exciting? …..Definitely.
  • Is this outside the box for travels…..Definitely.
  • Am I excited to plan and start this adventure? …..OH YES.
  • Has this route been carved in stone…..NO, it will change even as we travel I’m sure.

The trip will leave Vancouver, WA and head up Interstate 5 to the Canadian Border. Crossing into British Columbia, Canada the journey continues north to Prince George, BC and to the start of the Alaskan Highway in Dawson Creek, B.C., Canada. British Columbia has a population of approximately 4,751, 600 in 364,764 sq. miles (944,735 sq. km) making it the 3rd largest province in Canada.

Heading north from Dawson Creek we will go along The Alaskan Highway, Canada Highway 97, passing through Fort Nelson and entering the Yukon Territories, Canada just before Watson Lake to visit the Sign Forest. The Yukon has the smallest population of any Province/Territory of Canada at approximately 37,858 with a land area of 186,661 sq. miles (483,450 sq. km).

What is the difference between a Province and Territory? Territories are administrated differently than Provinces. Provincial government powers are laid out in the Constitution, whereas the territories are given powers from the federal government, thus the territories control less of their own affairs.

Heading north on The Campbell Highway, Canada 4 we will stop in the old mining town of Mayo / Keno then will then make our way up the Dempster Highway, Canada 5, crossing the Arctic Circle, Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada and then continue the final 130 km on the new all season road to Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, Canada and the Arctic Ocean. The Northwest Territories has an approximate population of 44,469 that live in an area of 452,480 sq. miles (1,171,918 sq. km), this province has about the one sixth of the land area of Canada making it the second largest and most populous territory of Canada.

I mention the population and sizes of these Territories as they are still sparsely populated; a majority of Canadians live very close to the border with the United States. The population for the state of California is estimated to be 39,497,000 in 2017 with an area of 163,696 sq. miles (423,970 sq. km). The state of Washington has approximately a population of 7,535,591 and a land area of 71,362 sq. mi (184,827 sq. km). When you look at these numbers California has 241 people per sq. mile (93 people per sq. km), Washington has 106 people per sq. mile (40 people per sq. km), while The Yukon with 6.5 people per sq. mile (1 per sq. km) and The Northwest Territories having 1 person per sq. mile (about 1 person per 2 sq. km). So as you can see the farther north we head the less people, cities and urbanization will be encounter.

SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD PLAN.

After dipping our feet into the Arctic Ocean and exploring the area it will be time to return to Dawson City, Yukon Territories, Canada to explore the old mining district and town. The journey will then cross the Yukon River on a ferry as we head west to Chicken, Alaska along Top of the World Highway. Continuing on the Taylor Highway to the junction with the Alaskan Highway, we turn south for Haines, AK along the beautiful Haines Highway.

Backtracking to the Alaska Highway the route passes through the Capitol of the Yukon Territories, Whitehorse, the only city in the Yukon Territory. Leaving Whitehorse we will head toward the Cassiar Highway, Canada 37, and back to Prince George. From Prince George it is east to Jasper, Alberta, Canada to visit Jasper National Park and Banff National Park along the Icefields Parkway to Banff, Alberta, Canada.

From Banff we will enter back in to the continental United States and journey along the Going-to-the Sun Highway in Glacier National Park. After a short stay in Glacier NP it is time for all to return to our home bases.

·      Adventure? …..I think so.

·      Something out of my ordinary routine? …..DEFINITELY for me.

So what does this involve? A lot of investigation on the Internet, reviewing maps and with the help from individuals who kindly share their knowledge of the areas that are being visited. I will be camping along the way when possible and staying at motels, hotels or lodges only as needed to freshen up.

·      Will schedules change?

·      Will additional sites present themselves?

·      Will destinations be revised?

All a YES to me, it is still being planned so anything is all possible.

Since we will be camping most of the nights along the journey. Some of the camping equipment in my vehicle will include Roof Top Tent, sleeping bag, stove, pots, fry pan, plates, cooking and eating utensils, camp chair and table, mosquito repellant and head netting, camp lights and batteries, propane, lighter and matches, trash bags, cleaning bucket, 5 gallon drinking water container, a refrigerated cooler and food storage containers, a hand held GPS, first aid kit, whistle, cordage (para-cord), knife, bear spray, maps, compass and Garmin In-Reach Satellite Emergency System . Communication between vehicles will be with HAM, GSMR and Citizen Band (CB) radios. We will have at least one complete set of tools and vehicle recovery gear for any unforeseen issues with mine having a winch permanently installed.

This should be a great Journey.

Canada PLANNING PART 2 – Onward to Jasper and Dawson, Yukon, Canada

Lets go on an Adventure

ADVENTURE – An exciting, daring, bold, risky or very unusual experience or undertaking fraught with physical, financial or psychological risks.

Any ideas of what to visit in the areas I am traveling would be appreciated, not all sites are noted somewhere, secret spots abound. And if you share these secret spots with me to enjoy I will not post where they are but will relish in the beauty around me and be grateful you trust me with this shared this information.

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