Back in camp and heading north once more

Coldfoot Travel Blog

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Sukakpak Mountain along the Dalton Highway.

After breaking down camp we again proceeded north on the Dalton Highway.  Todays journey was some one hundred (100) odd miles to the north.  We followed the river valley as it headed north into the heart of the Brooks Range that we viewed from above during the previous evening's flight.  The fixes that Bill and Jody had performed on the van worked wonders.  Thankfully wee had no further issues although for a while there was some definite concern on how we would continue the journey (and it makes for a bit of a boring blog entry)

Some highlights of this section of the road were Sukakpak Mountain, a large limestone mountain that stands pretty much solo and is an imposing site along the road.  Further along we stopped the van along the road to pick up some extra firewood for the next two nights of camping.

The road passes through the Chandalar Shelf on its way to Atigun Pass
  Why would we need to collect firewood?  Because at MP 235 continuing the climb up to the top of Atigun Pass we crossed the treeline at around 2250 ft above sea level.  Along the road is a sign for the last spruce tree heading north, unfortunately someone has girdled the tree and effectively killed it.  There is no corresponding treeline on the north side of the pass.  That far north the season is too short to permit trees to grow.  North of the tree line we reached the first true climb towards the pass.  The road briefly climbed about a 10% grade up to the Chandalar shelf, a large valley and the start of the Chandalar River.  Here we saw some exposed permafrost seen in the accompanying pictures.  One more longer section of climbing and we were at Atigun Pass at 4739 ft above sea level (MP 244).
The final ascent to Atigun Pass
  We saw some Dall Sheep grazing along the foothills of the road and when we stopped to take some pictures the wind through the pass gave us quite a chill.  Would hate to pass through here in the winter when a storm was baring down.

Descending down onto the North Slope was like entering another world.  The views expanded forever without a tree to block the site line.  The arctic tundra stretched as far as the eye could see.  We travelled another 30 miles from the pass to reach Galbraith Lake where the BLM has a primitive campground and which would be our home for the next two evenings.  An amazing location, but more of that in the next journal entries.

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Sukakpak Mountain along the Dalton…
Sukakpak Mountain along the Dalto…
The road passes through the Chanda…
The road passes through the Chand…
The final ascent to Atigun Pass
The final ascent to Atigun Pass
The trees are thinning out as we m…
The trees are thinning out as we …
Sticking out in the middle of the …
Sticking out in the middle of the…
Exposed Permafrost layer below the…
Exposed Permafrost layer below th…
The pipeline is our constant compa…
The pipeline is our constant comp…
At the top of the Atigun Pass some…
At the top of the Atigun Pass som…
A truck descends from Atigun Pass …
A truck descends from Atigun Pass…
Looking north from Atigun Pass, th…
Looking north from Atigun Pass, t…
Coldfoot
photo by: Kramerdude