Saw some wildlife on the way to Whitehorse - another moose and two foxes. One of the foxes "posed" for us, but the other ran across the road in front of us, then down into the brush in the ditch at the side of the road.
Stopped at the Braeburn Lodge for one of their famous, huge, and be-sure-you-don't-miss-it cinnamon rolls. Each one takes up an entire pie pan. We shared one and ate all we could of it, then packed out enough for tomorrow.
Took a short side trip so to Lake LaBarge. Lake LaBarge is the setting for the famous Robert Service poem, "The Cremation of Sam McGee," which begins like this:
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold,
And the arctic trails have their secret tales
that would make your blood run cold.
The northern lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was the night on the marge of Lake LaBarge
I cremated Sam McGee . . .
Bought new tires for the Escape in Whitehorse. After this difficult trip, we needed them (except for the one we bought at Eagle Plains). Turned out Dan was able to swing a deal, whereby the tire store bought back the one new tire, so we now have four new ones, all alike.
Left Whitehorse and drove to Skagway, Alaska. While in Skagway, we went out to Dyea, the historic start of the Chilkoot Trail.
Boarded a ferry at 4:15 p.m. and arrived in Auke Bay at 11:00 p.m. We were back home to our own condo and our own bed by 11:35 p.m. Tim waited up to welcome us home.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime trip. If you get the chance, and are not afraid of adventure, make this trip. If you do, here are some tips:Don't go without a copy of the current year's publication, The Milepost. It's indispensable on a trip like this.
Be sure you have some sort of written confirmation for all of your lodging reservations.
A 4-wheel-drive vehicle is almost a necessity; and make sure you have at least one spare tire (not those little donut ones), as well as a patch kit and some way to put air into a flat tire.
Make sure your vehicle can go 250 miles without a gas fill-up.
Take mosquito repellent and, if you can find them, some netted hoods.
Don't skimp when it comes to taking the flight up to Tuktoyaktuk. It was the highlight of the trip, for me.
Plan your travel dates so that you can be in Inuvik for the Great Northern Arts Festival, and, especially, for the opening night ceremonies, which we missed.
When budgeting for the trip, add in the cost of a set of new tires. You'll probably need them after 1000 miles of sharp, shale gravel.
Keep all receipts, at least for everything that you are actually bringing home (not food or lodging, in other words). You can apply for a sales tax refund after you get home, using your receipts. Ours was sizable, especially since we bought the tires in Whitehorse. Ask for the application form for the refund at the customs/border patrol office.
Take the time to talk to everyone you meet along the way. They come from all over the world to drive the Dempster, and they all have a story to tell.
Let your friends and family know that you'll be out of reach for awhile - cell phones won't work on the Dempster. Have the time of your life!