It rained quite a bit last night, so we had to let our things dry out a bit before we start our trek back to more civilized, paved roads. Walked back up to the cooking shelter to grab some breakfast, and ended up with some good views on the way back to the campsite (lower right of the picture).
We were all packed up and on the road by 10:30a or so…when we got to the road, it was a bit muddy. Now the mud on this section of the road is nothing like the grease-slick mud that we encountered near Eagle Plains, but we were a bit gun-shy, and pulled into the visitor center just down the road a bit to play it safe and let the road dry out.
The visitor center is a nice place that talks about the park, but it seems pretty useless when it comes to giving out information on the current state of the road. The weather forecast was for clearing in the afternoon, and then changing back to rain for the next couple of days. So, we had a small “dry” window open to us. After waiting for 45 minutes, we start to head out to the parking lot, still unsure of which direction we wanted to go – back to the campground or 70km out to the pavement. As we were walking out to our bikes, we spoke with some people who had just come up the road and said it was fine. So, we went for it! Turns out the worst part of the road (and it wasn’t that bad), was right outside the visitor center. Within a mile, the road was totally dry (and gravel).
Once we made it back to the start of the Dempster, we pulled over so I could air up my tires. I had them aired down for better traction…I wanted them back up to normal again for better mileage and so the tires would last longer on the pavement.
After lunch and fuel (there is premium at the shell station in Dawson City), it was time to give the bikes a bath to get the calcium chloride muck off. They really weren’t that dirty compared to some bikes I’ve seen come off the Dempster (or Dalton). The rain last night did take some of the muck off for us.
After the wash, we went just a bit down the road to the Klondike river campground. We have a nice spot in the woods and really can’t see anyone around us.
We walked down to the river to try some fishing since went through the trouble of buying fishing licenses. We had access to a section of the river that was not ideal for fishing. Wide and shallow with fast moving water. But it was still fun to cast a line for a bit.
I’ve made the call that we are not doing any more unpaved roads this trip. That means no Top of the World Highway or Denali Highway – I’ll have to save them for a future trip. So, to get to Fairbanks, we are going to need to start to backtrack tomorrow and head toward the Alaska Highway.