August 13, 2012
Day 2 took us to mile 275 at Galbraith Lake and across some incredible terrain on the way there. Mile 175 you pass the last bit of civilization, Coldfoot, until you get to Deadhorse. Fill up with fuel here because that’s it. There are something like 10 people that live here. It’s basically a gas station and diner. In ‘town’ there is also a visitors center for the ‘Gates of the arctic national park and preserve’ which operates seasonally as an info station and permit issuing station. About 10 miles north of Coldfoot, there is a little village called Wiseman where about 14 people live (but there are no services) who I think are left over from the gold rush days. The creeks that run though Wiseman have produced some of the largest gold nuggets ever found in Alaska.
From this point north, there are no services. It’s a ‘lonely’ and extremely beautiful stretch of road. About 80 miles north of Coldfoot, you climb up over the Brooks Range (the farthest north range of mountains in Alaska) on a gravel section of the highway. I think we went 25-30 mph up over this section because the road is just cut into the side of the mountain and there are no guard rails. And its loose gravel so you can slide around corners… Scary. I waited at the bottom of the first grade up to let 2 tractor trailers finish their descent. They waved in appreciation and I sighed relief because when I got to the point of the road where we would have passed, I realized it would have been too narrow for us to pass. Glad I was polite.
This first picture is looking back south out of the mountains. Alpine tundra all ready turning yellow for fall (early august).
Lots of dirt and dust on the Dalton.Parked at Galbraith Lake (couldn’t actually find the ‘lake’, it was more of a bog). Looking back south at the north slope of the Brooks Range. From this point on, its FLAT and a gradual downhill slope toward the Arctic Ocean. Because of the ‘lake’/bog, the mosquito’s and gnats were especially bad.Those aren’t spots on your screen…