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The Top Of The World Highway

A beautiful sunny day with no bugs meant I could get back into shorts, T-shirt and my much loved flips. Leaving Dawson City to the North requires a ferry across the Yukon River – a much in demand service it turned out. I chatted to anyone and everyone while waiting for about an hour until my turn finally came. The river was so wide and the current so strong, the ferry driver “danced” across the river. He let the current really grab us and pull us downstream quite a long way. Not concerned at all, he executed a beautiful 90 degree turn then just at the right moment, gunned the engines and powered us upstream for a perfect docking.
Coolest ferry crossing I’ve been on.

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On Top Of The World

Just as I started onto The Top Of The World Highway I picked up my first hitchhiker – a young guy from Belgium who had been on the road in the North for about 3 weeks. I was happy to have someone to share the drive with and we chatted it up then entire day. The road climbs steadily for the first 10 kms or so and then all of a sudden you pop and and you’re quite literally on top of the world. 360 degree views await, with snow-capped jagged peaks in every direction and lush green valleys in the foreground. We rounded a bend to see a grizzly sow on her hind legs with two cubs nearby – she had heard us coming and stood up for a better view. Too quickly they vanished into the dense forest, something they seem to be very good at doing.

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Some gravel sections

The road winds on in much the same fashion for about 100kms before reaching the most northerly land border in the US. My first border crossing of the trip went very smoothly which I was more than happy with. Crossing into Alaska the road winds slowly down and down into a beautiful lush green valley, but now with epicly snow-capped, epicly jagged peaks epicly close. We quickly decided that everything in Alaska must be epic and used the word about a hundred times in 5 minutes. When it started pouring rain, it made sense that it was epic rain, but that didn’t make it any less pesky than normal rain.

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The top of the world winds on and on

Mad props to Bill for suggesting The Top Of The World Highway – one of the most beautiful roads I have ever driven.

I’m totally pumped to spend my first night in Alaska. I can’t wait for tomorrow.

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Top Of The World - Alaska


4 Responses

  1. Bill says:

    No worries dude. Make sure you hit BC 37 on your way back. I hear it’s amazing.

    If you’re not violently opposed to taking some ferries on the way (given the fact that you’re using one to cross the Darien Gap, this probably isn’t the case), take a bit of a detour on the way back and head for Haines / Skagway … these go through some *really* isolated parts of BC on the way (you know that little panhandle of BC that everybody always forgets about? Yeah.) There’s a boat between the two so you’re not backtracking.

    The ferry from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy is pretty awesome as well and the boat stops at all these tiny little ports on the coast of BC that you might like as well, but that might be cutting more driving off than you’d like (on the other hand, you’d be able to drive the entirety of Vancouver Island). The Queen Charlottes are supposed to be unbelievable as well but are kind of out of the way.

    Enjoy yourself dude! We’re all enjoying your log so far.

    • Dan says:

      Hey Bill,
      Everyone around keeps telling me to hit BC 37 just like you said… you know your stuff that’s for sure.
      I’m headed to Skagway to do the Chilcoot Trail, so I’ll checkout the ferry options from there. Price will be a factor, but it would be really nice to throw the Jeep on the ferry and forget about it for a few days…..
      The Queen Charlottes also have a few hot springs, so thats a great reason to go there..
      I’ll make it all up as I get closer.

  2. Hi I just dropped by and wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas. Let all your wishes come true for you and your family and lets hope the next year be prosperous for all us.

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