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The Alaska Highway aka The Alcan

November 28, 2011

The Alaska Highway aka The Alcan is considered one of the top 10 construction feats of the 20th century.

A tad bit of history.

Since the 1930’s there had been discussions about building a road linking the Western United States to Alaska.  There had not been a strong push until the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in late 1941.  It was then that the leaders in Washington realized we needed a supply route to the small, but strategic forces located in Alaska.  The Army Corps of Engineers completed the 1,390 mile highway in 1942.

For more info, you can click here, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_Highway and for a really cool more in depth look with lots of period photos of the construction, you can click here http://web.mst.edu/~rogersda/umrcourses/ge342/Alcan%20Highway-revised.pdf (this last one may take a minute to load, but I think its worth it)

I’d say I’ve covered some ground since last I posted since I’m in Tok, Alaska now, which is not too far from the end of the Alcan.  From here I cut south and west about 340 miles to Anchorage where I will happily hang my hat tomorrow afternoon.  Misty, Mosely, and I will be relieved to be out of the car for an extended period of time since driving for 7-9 hours a day often on ice can be somewhat stressful.

I realized while I was staying the night with my first and fabulous Couch Surfing family(just a quick aside to say Couch Surfing is really quite amazingly wonderful), that the weather forecast was good for the next several days, so I thought I’d take advantage of it and see how far I could get.  I took my conservative schedule and threw it out the window and just started driving.  Turns out, other than one day of light snow, the weather and roads have been quite good, so here I am, almost at the end of the trip.  You should understand when I say the roads have been good, this is a relative statement as you’ll see in the following photos.  What it means in this case, I think,  is that the roads were not covered with several feet of snow.

I jumped on the Alcan at Mile Zero, Dawson Creek, and am jumping off it tomorrow here in Tok, just east of Delta Junction.  I was in the car anywhere from 7-9 hours a day and stayed in motels when I wasn’t with the wonderful Couch Surfing hosts in Dawson Creek and Watson Lake.  Fortunately I have needed none of my “survival gear” thus far and am crossing my fingers this will still be the case when I arrive Anchorage tomorrow afternoon.  The temps were quite civilized (above freezing) except for in the Fort Nelson area and most of today where it dipped down to minus 30 at its coldest.  Brrrrrr.  I guess the best part of the trip, other than the fact that it’s been a safe one, is all the wildlife I saw.  Unfortunately I did not get photos since it was inappropriate/unsafe to stop for them, so other than the buffalo, you’ll have to use your imagination.

Here’s what I saw:  a moose, a pair of Elk ewes, a deer, a small herd of caribou, a rather large herd of buffalo, a lone wolf, a red fox, a mink (or at least I think that’s what it was), a snowshoe hare who wasn’t yet fully white, but almost, a family of grey fox, more elk, more caribou, another deer, and a polar bear.

Just kidding about the polar bear.  🙂

I’ve got some photos below I took along the way to give you an idea of the road and the scenery.  Just imagine looking at this for over 1,200 hundred miles with very, very few other travelers.

Here’s what it looked like on the sunny days.

This one I took today not too far east of Alaska and I think pretty much sums up why I came home.

And here’s what it looks like on the not so sunny days.

And finally, a most welcome sight.

Yipppppeeeee!!!  I’m home.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Sue C. permalink
    November 28, 2011 3:02 am

    Welcome home!!!!

  2. Li1gray permalink
    November 28, 2011 4:35 am

    We are glad to have you back home in Alaska! See you soon! 🙂 Glad to see you are bringing the warm weather back north with you! supposed to be 24 instead -3 Thanks!

  3. November 28, 2011 11:32 am

    Glad to hear you haven’t run into any Really bad weather and that you had good CSing experiences which I look forward to hearing about. And such great wildlife sightings. Welcome home.

  4. Karen an Jennifer+ 8 cats permalink
    November 28, 2011 11:52 am

    Happy to hear you are almost home. I hope to never see gray skys or snow ever again! Cottonwood AZ, no winter, Love It!

  5. Marilyn permalink
    November 28, 2011 4:16 pm

    Welcome to Alaska! I think i can hear your voice from here!

    See you soon my friend!

  6. Silver permalink
    December 7, 2011 8:38 pm

    Margie, your photo, “This one I took today not too far east of Alaska and I think pretty much sums up why I came home”, says it all. Welcome home. We, too, are happy to be back home after 3 weeks away. Look forward to seeing you soon.

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