Pete's Trip Reports

Alaska, August 2001

Alaska and the Yukon are interesting places for bike touring. The distances are long, decent places to buy food are few and far between, biting insects congregate whenever you slow down or stop, and the weather is highly random. Despite all that, its well worth a trip. The scenery is awesome, and traffic is mostly non-existent. I'm still tempted by the Dempster Highway, 750 km of dirt road from Dawson City in the Yukon up to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories....

Note that the hotmail addresses below don't work anymore!!

Subject: Hi from alaska..... Date: Tues 21/08/2001 18:40:00 From:

Hi from deepest alaska. Have just reached Tok, 350mls from anchorage, and 90 mls from the canadian border. Awesome scenery, mountains and glaciers in the distance, with 100s of miles of bog inbetween, strewn with sickly looking black spruce trees. Big distances between everything, with distance markers every mile. You start to lose track of time after hours on the road! Not seen any bears yet (sorry pete). Knees are starting to ache, have an impressive collection of saddle sores, wrists hurt, and have just first shower for 3 days. Having a great time! Have managed to thwart the mosquitos & no see ums by covering myself, egyptian mummy style, from head to toe. Have invested in a mesh head cover for when things get really bad. Only seen 1 other cyclist so far, a german guy who had just come down from the 'top of the world' highway, 130km of mud and gravel, with hills too steep to cycle up. Made me feel like a bit of an amateur!! Next stop canadian border & into the yukon. Will knock out a progress report when I reach some civilization! Bye for now. Pete

Subject: yukon't be serious..... Date: Tues 28/08/2001 17:35:00 From:

Guys, Hi from Whitehorse, deep in the yukon! Am staying in a great campground, walk-in sites only, in a forest beside the yukon river. Great landscape, after 100s of miles of wetlands in alaska, hit the hills, lakes, grasslands and forests of yukon. Still big distances between everything, and seem to have a headwind most of the time. Plenty of blue sky and sunshine, but a fair bit of rain also. Have had to cut the mileage down to 70mpd to help my sore knees recover. Serves me right I suppose for being too lazy to do enough training mileage before I came out. To demonstrate what an experienced cycle tourer I am, I managed to lose my waterproof jacket at the start of the yukon! For the last 5 days I have been wearing a stylish number knocked together from a plastic bin bag, 4 carrier bags, and duct tape. Hopefully can find a new jacket in whitehorse. First bear sightings in kluane national park were a bit more interactive than i was expecting. As I cruised along by kluane lake, I spotted a grizzly foraging in the bushes down by the lakeside. Unfortunately it also spotted me at the same time, stood up on its hind legs, and started running up the hill to the road. Holy shit. Well it was a flattish road, and I had a good headstart, so I took off at a cracking pace. It bounded along the road behind me for quite a while, but didn't seem to be gaining on me, and disappeared after a couple of minutes. I was just starting to relax again when I turned a corner and there was a black bear about 200m ahead standing in the road. I stopped and hoped it wouldn't notice me, then after a couple of minutes a car came past and it headed off into the trees. Spent the rest of the day panicking whenever I heard a noise in the bushes, or a black lump in the distance!! Have bumped into a few more cyclists over the last week. Spent a couple of days with an italian guy who is spending 8 months riding down to argentina. And met a woman who is riding up to alaska from minneapolis. Most outrageous though were a couple of great german guys who are WALKING from prudhoe bay in the north of alaska, down to patagonia. They expect to take 4 years! Anyway, having a great time, hope everything is OK back at waterside, catch you later, Pete.