Saturday, August 19, 2006

Kicking Back in The Klondike - Day 6

Today was a rest day for the crew of the Saab, as well as many of the other staff. Most of the competitors headed up the Dempster Highway to reach the Arctic Circle. A few stayed behind and we held a short TSD up to the Midnight Dome outside of Dawson City in the morning. Eric and I got to see the Arctic Circle sign (and points well north of there) two years ago, so we elected to stay in town, catch up on some sleep, and watch the Discovery Days festivities. We also took a trip up the Bonanza Creek road system, well less than 100 miles, to check out a potential future TSD section for another year's Alcan. Incredible 360 degree views, for hundreds of miles.

Looking north to the Ogilvie Range, where the Dempster heads to Inuvik, it was clear that conditions are dramatically different from our last visit. I was surprised to see that there was no snow visible at all. Living near the Sierras as a child and the Cascades as an adult, I'm used to seeing snow-capped mountains year-round. You'd think it'd be the same here this far north, but they're serious about summer. In fact, it's been quite warm -- to the point that we've wished for air conditioning in the car a time or two.

On the trip back to town we had a close encounter with a black bear sprinting across the road. Bears can move FAST. You've no idea until seeing one truly motivated to make some tracks. We also played peekabo with a weasel-like critter that we've yet to identify. Eric got a few good pics of it.

Tomorrow we'll cross the Yukon on a small ferry, then head over the Top of the World Highway via Chicken and Tok in Alaska to end the day in Fairbanks. Two TSD sections face the competitors -- their stress is not over yet!


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