July 24, 2022 – Tombstone Territorial Park
Today we started the Dempster Highway which will take us to the Arctic Ocean in Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories. This is where we transition from RV travelers to overland adventurers. Up to now we have been traveling on paved highways and passing big-rig RV’s along the way. The Dempster Highway is 850 km of dirt road from the Klondike Highway to the Arctic Ocean, so the round trip is 1700 km of potholed dirt that can be slippery when it rains and is notorious for puncturing tires. This is the realm of Overlanders and not big-rig RV’s.
We started with a three-night stay in Tombstone Territorial Park.
July 25, 2022 – Goldensides Trail
Hiked the Goldensides trail which was 3km to the top of a mountain in Tombstone Territorial Park. Then we set up our camp chairs in a beautiful spot and drank tea and read books. Great day.
July 26, 2022 – Grizzly Lake Trail
We slept in today, but in the afternoon I went on a spectacular 7km hike to the viewpoint along the Grizzly Lake trail. Over 1500ft altitude gain provided fabulous views.
July 27, 2022 – Yukon Campfire
In the Yukon, you have to wear a hat to keep the sun out of your eyes during an evening campfire. This was taken at 8:30 pm and the sun is still well off the horizon. It never gets completely dark. The sun eventually sets but never goes far enough below the horizon to get completely dark. It only gets to dusk before the sun starts rising again. Our batteries love it because the solar panels work overtime.
July 28, 2022 – Arctic Circle
On the way to the Arctic Circle we crossed over Ogilvie Ridge.
It felt momentous to be standing on the Arctic Circle, but here we are.
July 29, 2022 – Northwest Territories
We made it to the Northwest Territories. We are way up on a ridge close to Fort Macpherson and we got cell service. We saw a grizzly bear with two cubs.
July 29, 2022 – Peel River Ferry
We just managed to squeeze on to the Peel River ferry. I had to pull in the mirrors.
July 29, 2022 – Mackenzie River Ferry
The mighty Mackenzie River. Remember a while ago at the Columbia glacier. That water flowed into the Athabasca River, over the Athabasca falls, and into the Mackenzie. Some of the water flowing by here came from way back there.
July 29, 2022 – Inuvik
We are in Inuvik, the last stop before the Arctic Ocean. We camped in Inuvik overnight. We tried to go out for dinner in Inuvik, but could not find a restaurant that was open and ended up with fried chicken from a grocery store. With the recent opening of a road from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk more people are traveling the Dempster, but Inuvik isn’t quite ready for tourists yet.
July 30, 2022 – Tuktoyaktuk
WE DID IT!! All the way from Ottawa, Ontario to the Arctic Ocean.
To do the Pan-American Highway properly one must dip their toes in the Arctic Ocean, drive to the southern tip of Argentina, then dip their toes in the ocean there. It doesn’t matter how many years you take or if you do the trip in phases as we will, just that you dip your toes in both oceans and drive the full distance (except for the Darien Gap). Here is photo proof. We dipped our toes in the Arctic Ocean. I dismissed the idea of a bathing suit and a full dive in just as soon as my toes touched the freezing water. Also, the water was very brown. The next time we will be in Ushuaia, Argentina.
This was a very expensive campsite right at the end of the road. Tuktoyaktuk seems to be taking full advantage of the influx of travelers in the summer.
If you think we are sacrificing to make a trip like this then check out the scrumptious cinnamon buns Sue made from scratch in the camper. Of course, doing that in Tuktoyaktuk makes it even sweeter, Our neighbours are our new best friends. It is a good thing I can drive or I don’t know what use I would be.
July 31, 2022 – Gwichin Territorial Park
Today we are on our way back to Dawson City. Camped out overnight just outside Inuvik at Gwichin Territorial Park.
August 1, 2022 – Eagle Plains
Our final stop on the Dempster was at Eagle Plains. We camped overnight, but there is a great restaurant at Eagle Plains, so we enjoyed a home-cooked dinner and breakfast the next morning.
August 2, 2022 – Dawson City
Made it back to Dawson City, completing our adventure on the Dempster Highway. We did run into some rain and slippery roads today.