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Friday, July 27, 2012

Engineer Creek Campground to Jak Territorial Park ~ Inuvik, NWT

Sulphur gives color to this "DO NOT DRINK" Creek

Last night was not exceptionally quiet. Around 11:15 some bikers (pedal) came and set up across from our site. They were pretty loud. A motorcycle guy soon followed. I learned a day later why they were wound up. You see they had been traveling 12 to 13 hours down from Inuvik and putting the shoe on the other foot, I was the same when I arrived in Inuvik. I awoke early, got things packed up on the outside. Helen took care of the inside and off  we went toward Eagles Plains our target for today’s drive.

We picked up a Dempster Highway Travelogue Guide. Every  POI is explained by kilometers. I am fortunate to be able to tell my truck (think metric) The Dempster Highway is the only road in Canada that takes you past the Arctic Circle and into “ The Land of the Midnight Sun”.
Our First Geocache in the "North West Territories"

At the Engineer Creek Bridge, limestone outcrops of fossil coral formed on the floor of a shallow sea about 400 million years ago. Up the road at km 195.5 Ogilvie River has many species of fish including Arctic grayling, northern pike and Dolly Varden.

The road conditions in this section were bearable (45 mph). I checked my rear view mirror and noticed an on-coming  semi. I pulled over to the side of the road and let him go by us. I decided to see if he was using a CB radio or one of those longer reach FM radios. “Breaker, breaker 19 got your ears on” “Sure do” he answered. I asked him if he knew how the road was up ahead. He answered that this was his first run up here. He was delivering an Army 5 ton truck  to the Canadian Army in Inuvik. That call turned out to be a nice long conversation for about 150 miles. I stayed behind him figuring that he would be going the proper speed for the road conditions. The road was a little rougher and the speed was never over forty mph. It was 20-25 for nearly a hundred miles. We enjoyed the scenery (beautiful, I must say) all the way to Eagle Plains. We had lunch together and then he was off. I paid $5.98 a gallon (That’s the conversion cost for litres)
Drill for Gas ~One of Two Rigs

After Eagle Plains, I stepped on the gas! We had decided that we would try and get closer to Inuvik. I wasn’t tired and the road seemed to get better. I could not catch the semi. We stopped at the Arctic Circle for pictures and a geocache. A few miles down the road a vehicle had the hood open and I stopped. The guy had a flat. He had a spare, but could not get it down from under the truck bed. I helped him and could not reach the cable to cut it down. I also remembered when getting gas that a kid came in and told the attendant about the stranded motorist. The attendant said he was too busy to go down and help. Back at the truck, I had done everything I could to help. The couple were going to pitch their tent. They gave me info to give to the RCMP in Ft McPherson. What I didn’t realize was that was 86 miles away and at 30 mph (I slowed right down also) it took nearly 3-1/2 hrs (road conditions and construction). I stopped at the RCMP and gave the info to the female Constable. She said she would call Eagle Plains and get them help. We took the cable ferry at the Peels River and drove on to the next ferry at the confluence of the Arctic Red River and the Mackenzie River. The road from McPherson to Inuvik was really good and 50 to 60 mph was the norm. We arrived in Inuvik at 11:30pm The sun was still high in the sky. We got a geocache at the airport. It was my first night geocache with my sunglasses on. We checked in at the Jak Territorial Campground. Got a good shower in their shower room.

Peel River Ferry
We had traveled 337 miles in 13 hours. We and everything in our truck & camper  were  covered with dust. Those of you who have been in the military and driven on a tank trail will know what I mean by dust.

Midnight in Inuvik
This is short blog to describe such a vast experience. I would have to write a book. I can’t describe all events (such as seeing a bear taking one lane of the highway broadside and being as big as a Volkswagen or sitting here a day later at 9:30pm at night getting a sun tan. Inuvik is one of the hottest days that we experience on our journey. I can never post all of the pictures I took in this beautiful “land of the midnight sun”.

That, my friends, is what we did and saw

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