Day 14¼: Deadhorse to Wiseman, Alaska (241mi, 5819mi total)
All this and we were only halfway! Starting back southward, the enormity of the continent really started to sink in. It took two weeks to go north, it would take as long again to get home. We were fully a quarter of the way around the world from where we started, in a place where caribou roam free, and a pile of dirt laid out in a more-or-less straight line was called a “highway”. We would see a lot more of this…
before there would be any recognizable pavement, let alone a town. The first leg of the southward journey seemed to be much faster than the ride to the Arctic ocean. Maybe we were just a bit jaded, but even Atigun Pass seemed almost normal to us.
We did see a few more surprises at least, like this incredible cloud formation.
And, coming back toward Coldfoot at 1:30am, one last look at the midnight sun
Day 14¾: Boreal Lodge, Wiseman, Alaska
I thought about it, I almost went out again, pulled by a renewed desire to climb, emboldened by my success last night. I escaped the cabin again, and started walking back toward the river road, the opposite way as last night, looking for a different mountain. Beholding it from the bottom, it felt wrong, in a way last night didn’t at all. I started running back toward the cabin, and got inside just before Mom came downstairs. Oops. I guess I’ll be back again to climb here someday… this wasn’t the one though!
Day 15: Wiseman to Fairbanks, Alaska (271mi, 6090mi total)
This was a rather uneventful day today, retracing our steps back down the Dalton in a showery rain. I hardly took any pictures, since I’d seen it all on the way north, not shrouded in clouds. I did notice these mountains right outside of Fairbanks though.
The main news of the day was looking for a way to avoid ever having to see another dirt road or Whitehorse shithole on this trip! There aren’t many roads here, so we searched for alternate routes, and found only one, by recommendation of a local: the ferry. Instead of going back through Dawson City, we would go by way of Skagway and, in reverse, the Gold Rush route on a ship through the Inside Passage. Ordinarily boats are a bit of a hard sell for Mom, but the choice of a bit of seasick against another thousand miles of bad road was an obvious one, and it would even save us a day somehow. So with that, we booked a cabin on the USS Matanuska and changed a few destinations around.