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 > 2015 Summer Journey, Crossing Alaska, part 12

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c.traveler2

Moreno Valley,Ca.

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Posted: 08/04/17 01:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

2015 Summer Journey
Alaskan Crossing, part 12
Dalton Highway
AKA “The Haul Road”

Day 3 on the Haul Road (Day 10 in Alaska) brought in a beautiful morning; I guess 09:30 am is still morning. Night time is getting very short up here and making the camper into a cave is a must. We did our usual morning routine, me wandering around outside, snapping off a few photos.

[image] [image] [image]

While checking the truck out before leaving the right rear tire was on the low side. Looking for a puncture I couldn’t find one, so out came the compressor. Soon down the road we went with eye on that tire, Sukakpak Mountain could be seen as we motored on over the Middle Fork of the Koyukuk River 2 Bridge.

[image] [image]

We are well into the Brooks Range at this point and the Alaskan pipeline gets fairly close to the roadway as the valley narrows.

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Stopping at a pullout next to Koyukuk River 3, one gets a better view of the jagged peaks of the Sukakpak Mountains. The river here doesn’t have much water in it. Koyukuk River 4 is a different story, lots of flowing water, so blue, so clear.

[image] [image] [image]

The Dietrich River Bridge was just a couple of miles from our last stop, this is the halfway point on the “Haul Road” and the Dillon Mountains can be seen to the south from here.

[image] [image]

Dietrich construction camp is close by, there is no public access to this pipeline construction site.

[image]

At this point Dillon Mountain is behind us and Snowden Mountains are up ahead along with the Sukakpak Mountains. The air is very hazy making clear photographing a challenge.

[image] [image]
Dalton Road (Haul Road) gets down and next to the Dietrich River, the VW van that we saw at the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center caught up with us, zipping pass us and disappears from sight in short order. It should also be noted that the trees are getting notability thinner the farther north we go.

[image] [image]

Not much further after passing mile mark 237 we came upon a large open area and pulled in. According to the “Milepost” there once was a Spruce Tree here; no longer, the “Milepost” noted that three more were growing north of here.

[image] [image] [image]

A majestic view of the surrounding tundra is view from here, we were hoping to see some of the animals we had read about, but only insect and birds were to be seen. Time to go, Chandalar DOT station wasn’t far from here.

[image] [image]

Approaching the station a sign indicated to use CB channel 9 for after hour emergencies. A small creek was running parallel to the Haul Road at this time with crowds of fireweed cheering it on.

[image] [image]

Patches of snow lay hidden in the shadows of the mountain crevasses trying to last another day before melting into the creek below. A long climb is before us, five miles of 12% upward grade to Atigun Pass summit.
Video: Atigun Pass

[image] [image]

Out trusty truck had no problem in conquering it way to the top, once there a spacious open area greeted us and bid us to stay awhile.

[image] [image] [image]

We weren’t alone up there, for some gents were on a hunt for butterflies for than exhibit at the Fairbanks's Museum. Atigun Pass was also the point of the Continental Divide as well as the avalanche safety area.

[image]

Time to move on, there were still many miles to Deadhorse to cover and many sights to behold for us first timers. Going down would be as steep as coming up, a 12% slope.

[image] [image]

On the way down stopped into a pullout and took in the view of the Atigun Valley below, somewhere up this valley would be the John Dalton Mountain. A semi-truck was far below us and making good speed for the climb to Atigun Pass.

[image] [image] [image]

Some braking was required on the downward side and we soon had Atigun Pass many miles behind us.

[image] [image]

A large open area, to the side of the Haul Road came into view with a good size structure on it. I headed towards that structure and it turned out to be an abandon firehouse.

[image][image][image][image]

Several miles rolled by, Atigun River 1 was upon us and over the bridge we went. Huge piles of gravel and other items were stacked just off the road.

[image][image]

Our rig was making good time with very little on coming vehicles to be seen. Pipeline and the Atigun River were to one side of the road, the only thing that blocking the view of the vastness of the tundra was the Atigun Valley Mountains.

[image][image]

Reaching Holden Creek we came upon the first of the road construction equipment. I received information that road construction would be on going as we approached Galbraith Lake region, this project was started in 2014.

[image][image]

It was decided to pull into Atigun River 2, easy access to the river for a little plus I needed to check that leaky tire. We had also passed Pump station 4 before reaching Atigun River 2.

[image][image][image]

Atigun River 2 has a large pullout area that gives you a great 360 view of your surroundings. I did drop a line into the river for awhile with no luck while a flock of Cliff Swallows flew around.

[image][image][image]

While I was adding more air to that leaky tire the pipeline security stopped by, the guy though we had broken down since I had my hood up on my truck. We talked awhile and I got some useful information from him. For those are wondering why I just didn’t plug the leak was because I just couldn’t find where it was leaking from! On our out of the pullout, Julie spotted a Marmot hanging around the guard rail.

[image]

A few more miles more road crew showed up doing something on the shoulder.

[image][image]

Around mile marker 278 we are entering the Research Natural Area, no camping for the next 15 miles.

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Zipping along on the gravel road was fairly smooth at this point, just taking in the view as we motored on. Passing another station, this is called the Sag Station.

[image] [image]

Julie spotted a trailer out in the middle of nowhere.

[image]

As we climb a muddy hill (Happy Valley road cut) l we had a great view of the Sagavanirktok River near the Haul Road.

[image][image]

I made a quick stop at Happy Camp to see if there was a tire shop, they didn’t have any, so it would be Deadhorse before the tire leak could be found and fixed. Somewhere after mile marker 341, a guy was pulling a cart south bound. I would learn later that it was some type of trek that a group of Japanese.

[image] [image]

Coming across a rather odd looking ground formation on the right side of the road going north, I would learn later that these are called “aufeis deposits”. In this case ground water that froze and lifted the land on top of it.

[image]

Further up the road we pulled into a large gravel area just to take a look. Viewing unending open tundra, a rolling plain of green with a small bush near our truck camper. There is a nearby pull out up the road from us that has a vault toilet another stop to make and it turned out to be the worst kept wayside we have came across.

[image] [image]

Some good folks were there already, they told us there’s a depute over who’s to take care of this pullout.
We’re about 60 miles from Deadhorse and saw what looked like more of those aufeis deposits to the east of the road

[image]

Road seem to go on forever and then the Franklin Buffs came into sight.

[image] [image]

A lonely and rather large bulldozer lay on the side of the road with a missing track gear.

[image]

In the far distance I could see something moving about in the air, not yet close enough to make out what it is but defiantly flying above the ground. A few more miles and I realized that someone was kite sailing on one of the glacier lakes that water must be freezing.
Video: Kite Surfing

[image] [image]

We stayed for awhile watching this guy hot dog all over the lake, all of it to himself. The guys in the other truck told me in the 5 year that they been working up here this was the first time to see something like this. On to Deadhorse, about 12 more miles to go.
Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay was still rebuilding the road from the flood they had in May 2015.

[image][image]

It was much too late to find a tire shop, that woulds be for tomorrow, we did find a good place along the Sag River along with some other campers.

[image] [image]

With the day light being so longer neither of us had realize how late it was, it was 11:47 PM before we settled down. Tomorrow will bring more new adventures or is it just one long day with man-made dividers for the different days since the sun wouldn’t start setting for another 29 days.

[image] [image]

Thanks to everyone for reading my TCTRs, all comments are welcome and if you have any questions ask them here or PM me.
Link to previous Crossing Alaska, part 11

Working on part 13 of our 2015 Summer Journey, Alaska Crossing, I will post it as soon as it’s done.
Thanks, c.traveler2 (Alex Blasingame).


2007 F-250 4x4 /6.0 PSD/ext cab/ 2020 Bunduvry

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Lwiddis

Monterey, California

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Posted: 08/04/17 02:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you for posting these pictures and your comments.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watt solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL flag pole. Prefer boondocking, USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state camps. Bicyclist14 yr. Army vet-11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad


Mortimer Brewster

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Posted: 08/04/17 02:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great pics! Thanks for sharing your journey.

cross21114

Baltimore, MD, USA

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Posted: 08/04/17 03:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I tried that in 2005 in my truck camper. Unfortunately it was early October and started sleeting and then snowing on the way north. Did not very far north out of Fairbanks before turning around. Sorry to this day, I did not start earlier but the grouse hunting was too good.


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NGaMountains

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Posted: 08/04/17 08:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

5 trips to Alaska but this is one we've yet to make. Thanks for sharing, makes me enthusiastic to get back and see more of what we haven't seen yet!


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Sfla2

fort lauderdale, fl now Cocoa

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Posted: 08/04/17 09:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

WOW what a great info w/ pictures


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jefe 4x4

West Slope, Northern Sierra Nevada

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Posted: 08/04/17 11:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Good Shew, Alex. I like on the road pix, so this is just right and gives the endless flavor of the place. Good to see someone still has 3rd party hot photo sharing (smugmug). This is our kind of trip. The nearest place for us to by a tire on the Campbell Highway was far off White Horse. Funny we had the same tire trouble and tires as yours: BFG AT's.


'01.5 Dodge 2500 4x4, CTD, Qcab, SB, NV5600, 241HD, 4.10's, Dana 70/TruTrac; Dana 80/ TruTrac, Spintec hub conversion, H.D. susp, 315/75R16's on 7.5" and 10" wide steel wheels, Vulcan big line, Warn M15K winch '98 Lance Lite 165s, 8' 6" X-cab, 200w Solar

daily double

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Posted: 08/05/17 05:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

c.traveler2

Moreno Valley,Ca.

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Posted: 08/05/17 08:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mortimer Brewster, Thank for following along.

cross21114, Don't give up on making it up there and thank you for following along.

NGaMountains, Make it a sixth trip get up there, plenty to see and almost unlimited boondocking, thanks for reading my trip report.

Sfla2, Get in that RV of yours and head on up there, thank for following along.

jefe 4x4, Always good to hear from you my friend, I've been using smugmug for years and proven themselves to be a reliable photo hosting site (pay site) with a lot of great features. On this trip I didn't have BF Goodrich tires on my truck and wish I did, I want the newer KO2s but they didn't have them in my rim size at the time.

daily double, Glad you enjoyed the trip report, thanks for following along.

* This post was edited 08/06/17 11:07am by c.traveler2 *

Clarryhill

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Posted: 08/05/17 12:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Fabulous trip Alex. Have really enjoyed the journey. So glad you invited us all to go along.


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