Day 18, Sunday, 5/6/18
5,107.5 miles
Glennallen, Alaska

This morning, there was frost on the ground, 29 F. After the sun came up a bit and warmed the windshield, we left for Alaska. From Beaver Creek, the ALCAN runs through subarctic tundra before reaching the Wrangell Mountains. Subarctic tundra is characterized by its number of seasons (2, winter and summer), little precipitation, wide temperature range (+- 125 F) and forests of conifers often called 'Taiga'.

The Taiga

Beaver lodge
Sub-arctic tundra

We entered Alaska 4,879.7 miles from Portland, Me. US customs is a few miles from the border and the agent was pretty relaxed. Sunday morning on the Alaskan Highway is not very busy.

The border lies on the 1451st meridian of longitude which marks the boundary between Alaska and the Yukon. It runs 1,538 miles from the Arctic coast to Mt. Saint Elias.

Alaska Border

Nice van!
Marking the border

It took some time to readjust to speed in mph versus kph. No more multiplying by .62! From US customs to Tok is about 90 miles. The Wrangell Mountains followed north west of the road, their sharp, snow covered peaks visible above the smaller Mentasta and Nutzotin ranges. Tok sits on a tundra plain. It being Sunday, the visitor center was closed. We stopped for a few groceries at Three Bears, filled the van with gas next door and turned on Rt 1 headed south for Glennallen.

Twenty or so miles from Tok we got a great view of Mt Wrangell (14,163 feet), an active volcano. To its left was Mt Blackburn, the highest mountain in the Wrangell range at 16,237 feet. We didn't see any wildlife on this stretch of the road.

Glennallen is a small town with a couple of gas stations and lodging. We decided to stay at the Caribou Lodge but weren't impressed. It's an old hotel and had an antiseptic smell in the halls. There were these cups under the feet of the bed filled with white powder, diatomaceous earth I suspect. This raised alarm bells as it's used as a barrier to prevent bed bugs from getting into your bed. We carefully checked the bed and didn't find anything. Still, we won't be staying there again.

Sinkhole from melting permafrost 
The Wrangell Raange

No comments:

Post a Comment