Tuesday, August 24, 2010

dalton highway..three

i have been watching a movie and loading pictures and i now have no idea which ones i loaded on the blog yesterday and so hopefully i have not doubled and tripled these....i guess that is what edit is for. these pictures are of this amazing mountain, called sukakpak mountain. we are driving along pass this mountain and i look back and see this beautiful sight. i was in awe of it. it almost looks like a fake backdrop in the picture above i think. we got there just as the light was hitting it just so. we all hit the brakes and leapt out of our cars. no pictures could really do justice to the majesty of this mountain at that moment.
i climbed on the car in an attempt to get the reflection of the entire mountain in this little lake, but this was as good as it got. it was a long day of driving with hours more driving to go before we finally camped for the night, this sight was just the boost we needed.
the car is well by the way. i took it in today for an oil change and to have them check the shimmey and the duct tape part. they did a cleaning of the car and claimed to have gotten buckets of mud from each wheel. they thought that would be enough to correct the shimmey and it was. no more shimmey. the part is on order for the duct taped area. they have replaced that with some wire and the part was only $10...probably will cost an extra $70-100 to put it in, but it should be here next week. i windex'ed the windows and cleaned the roof off. i suspect the mud will be with me for the duration i own the car.
the further north we went the more the fall colours became prominent. it is odd to be in full fall in mid august, but summers are extremely short. above the arctic circle the daylight lasts for nearly a full 3 months, that was evidenced on the tundra as it continues mostly light. just a brief period of near dark at this point. may, june and july the sun doesn't set at all. they had a chart which shows the arctic ocean ice not breaking up til early august, by late september it's already building back up i guess. just a very different place. pictures can't really express the world that exists up there.
this is the front side of sukakpak before we got the best of it.
there are several area's that are paved or partially paved, especially in the early portions of the road. sometimes this is worse as the pavement does poorly with the frost/thaw cycles.
we spent quite a bit of time wandering around finger rock and it's companions earlier that day. the sun was out, at least partially, and the rock formations were just beautiful. definitely lend themselves to many photo ops.
we even got blessed with a grand rainbow sighting. i love rainbows, who doesn't i guess.
just loved how this picture of blossom turned out. tanya and i were walking toward finger mountain...well it seems more like finger rock. who knows. it was quite bouldery so blossom is a great leader in terrain such as this. not sure why she sat just so, but it was the perfect photo op. of course, we were all begining to think blossom sets up her own shots. she just seems to always pose and wait for her picture to be taken.
there i am with finger rock in the distance. see, it looks more like a rock than a mountain. perhaps the entire area is just called finger mountain as that rock is there. who knows. it's all quite lovely though.
when i looked the many photo's i took of this rock i thought it mostly just looked phallic. i made a point on not looking back at my photo's as i had no way to charge the batteries should they run out. i brought my chargers in case, but i hadn't found a car adaptor before i left that would charge a regular plug thing. i had a bag of all the other sorts of car charger adaptors available. lucky for me, maria had one so i was able to charge the little powershot battery a few times. that was the only one that wore out. tanya avoided the issue by bringing a spare battery. i probably should get that. i think the little camera's battery pooped out too because i tended to take it into the tent at night, whereas the bigger camera was tucked away in the car surrounded by fleece jackets. the cold air tends to sap your battery.
more pictures from the area. it's a nice area to just get out and walk around as well.
the sun was shining in anchorage today, it was wonderful. my walk was just from the car dealership out to taku lake, around the lake and back. that is like 4 miles though so not a slacker walk day. i have been a slacker at the swim thing since i returned. will get back in the routine next week. i think the drive really wore me out. every day i get more cleaned up and back to normal.
i feel bad as i forgot it was an election day and i'm generally very good at getting out to vote. i believe if you don't bother to vote you can't complain about the results. very few people on this earth have the benefit of voting and for women even in our nation it's a relatively new blessing. so...bad me. i came home, lay in the sun and fell asleep. chatted with friends as well.
my house is ready to close from the refinace as well so that was the other news of the day. so i guess that will happen on monday. crazy. it's always so worrisome doing these things. just seems so easy to get totally screwed over. it seems pretty straightforward though. i will go from a 6.25% to a 4.7% so that should be good.
blossom poses, rio, not so much.
another sweet picture of blossom. i just noticed a scrap on rio's face tonight. poor girl. she rams herself into stuff. occasionally i get annoyed with her as she's generally off sniffing stuff and not following my lead. it's not like she deserves to get her face scraped off though. she is so sweet. her nose does get her in trouble though. it's impossible to get pictures of her so i'm always happy when i get lucky. blossom, of course, is a totally different story.
watched "the cove" last night. still disturbed by it. tonight i offset that by watching "friends with money".
there is a sign for the last spruce tree right before you hit atigun pass. the other cars stopped for it, i guess i just drove past. when we went up the pass the first time we must have initially just gone up the chandalar shelf. i remember thinking, that's it? that's no big deal at all!! but then we turned a bend and the real atigun pass was there. it climbs up very steeply and is long. that night it went into the fog. i white knucked the entire drive. felt very responsible for all those in the cars with me. one mistake and disaster could strike. i looked back constantly and counted the cars behind me. we all stayed close. lucky for us no large trucks went past us when we were in the thickest fog at the top. i was terrified though and i remember mentioning to tanya that i may need some fresh underwear after we got down as i was sure i'd shit my pants. i also recall saying quietly to myself, "this was stupid". it was late at night, actually dark. it was stupid. of course, it did help me to see the danger these truckers face on that pass each time they travel there and i have a new level of respect for them. when we finally hit a safe spot to pull over i was shaking and stepped out of hte car only to find it covered in ice. we'd been in an ice fog that entire time. eek!
but back to the lovely views of earlier that day.
the weather changed so many times that day i couldn't tell you. we had beautiful fluffy clouds and then at times we had hard, hard rains.
as we attempted to locate the galbraith campground the rain was pounding. my nerves were shot and i was exhausted. there was a road to this little airport. we discovered at that point that we would have to drive another 2.5 miles on a very rough and pocked up dirt road to get to the actual campsite. we were all too tired to deal with this, though i've heard the camp area is lovely. we would have flattened a few tires that night had we attempted that sorely damaged road. we drove back a few miles and parked the cars in an open area by the bridge there. we pulled the cars in in such a way that we could tie the rain fly to the hubs of the tires on both cars. we put the tent up as fast as we could as the rain beat down on us. i didn't bother with rain gear and the search that would be required to locate it, instead i focused on getting the tent up fast and then putting on warm clothes and crawling in my bag. i slept like a baby. scott and jacqui put their tent in front of ours and julie and maria opted to just sleep in thier car. they helped us get out tent up though, which was super nice.
it was a night that was fraught with potential dangers, but we came through unscathed. i woke early and saw light coming in the tent and didn't hear the rain anymore. i knew i had to get out of bed and take advantage of the weather. the trucks drove past all through the night. one was super loud and scared the crap out of me.

this is our camp site the next day. blossom and rio wrestled a bit to release some energy. though the rain had stopped the entire area was thick with mud.
the campsite was just roadside, which really that is how most folks camp at this end of the road, past atigun. as you can see there are few options for bathroom breaks. this was my chosen area. i stood and started taking pictures as i heard the rumble of a truck. do you think i fooled them into thinking i was taking pictures and not peeing?
the pipeline from my large outdoor outhouse. i guess that is the ultimate OUT house.
i think those mountains had lots of mountain sheep on them...more on that tomorrow though.
scott and i tossed together our various foods and he made breakfast burrito's for everyone.
there is scott's tent and mine behind it. the grassy area in front of the tents isn't grassy at all. it's marsh and boggy. no way to put a tent there.
i think we did a find job getting that tent up between those cars. it offered some protection from the wind as well.
the dogs curled up by me and i kept waking up through the night to put blankets over them. just seemed cold, especially for rio, who has very short hair. she was snoring, but i could feel her shivering at times. the temps get down to the upper 30's i'm sure at night.
a few last shots from the dalton signage.
i had the timer thing set and it seemed to be taken forever. as i stepped out to check it it started taking it's pictures. lucky i set it to take 3-4 photo's, but it caught me running back to get in line, which i thought was funny.
here i am with the sign. well....that seems a bit scattered, but still the story gets told. hopefully, i didn't repeat any pictures and eventually i'll check and add in any pictures i've forgotten but want in. it's midnight and i am again sleepy. tanya and i may attempt this run on ptarmigan lake tomorrow.....of course, everytime i've thought that hte rain has started again. it may just be a jinxed hike this year.

1 comment:

  1. okay so i did repeat a few pictures. i'm too sleepy and lazy to bother editing them out right now and they are so beautiful they maybe just bear repeating....cest la vive!