Day Sixtyseven
Day Sixtyseven

Iskut, BC to Tok, AK
August 18th, 2004

High Point of the Day....
Low Point of the Day......
Brian - Traveling almost a 900 mile day for the first time in years
Theresa - Being back in Alaska
Brian & Theresa - One word, ''Smoke''
Miles Traveled Today
Total Miles Traveled
Miles Theresa Drove
350 (5535 Total)
Hazy, smoky, black, in the high 60's
Price of Gas 
(average per gallon)
Night's Lodging
Where this Page was Uploaded
One bull moose
Porcupine Creek Campground

Daily Didactic
The day began half way up the Cassiar Highway, early again to help us make a few miles today. The last two days have been very reasonable 500 mile days and another one would take us to the southern end of Kluane Lake, leaving a similar length drive for the last day of our trip. We reached the top of the Cassiar, Junction 37, by noon and headed west toward Whitehorse. Somewhere in here we started to notice that mountains in the distance were all hazy. It has been a beautiful summer in Alaska, lots of sun and very little rain, which has lead to a stellar forest fire season. But we were still 500 miles from Alaska, so we didn't make the connection. The drive from Junction 37 to Teslin is a pretty uneventful stretch of road, which gets only slightly more interesting west of Teslin to Whitehorse, but the road is good. We got to Whitehorse earlier than we thought we would, around 5:00, gassed up, and without slowing down headed on for Haines Junction, an hour and a half west. At this point we expected we would be at a campground along the west edge of Kluane Lake a little after 7:00.

Somewhere around half way to Haines Junction we began to notice the smoke in the air was getting seriously thicker. We assumed there must be a nearby fire and it wasn't until Brian asked the gas station fellow in Haines Junction that we realized the smoke was coming from Alaska. This clearly didn't bode well for camping, as the smoke was already pretty thick to sleep in. Left with no good options, either drive further into the smoke or turn around and go back to Whitehorse, we continued east toward Kluane Lake. The smoke continued to get thicker and thicker and we pushed on to Beaver Creek, the last town in the Yukon and twenty miles from the Alaska border. We reached the border around 10:00 on what was turning into a very long day of driving, but got an hour back due to the time zone change. It was here that we met a fellow with a very bad job, a border guard in the middle of a plume of smoke. He told us it had been like this since June, with the exception of two days that had brought a little rain, and he seemed to be going a little stir crazy. He also told us the smoke we were in was primarily from the big Northway burn.

Knowing that the Northway cutoff was between the border and Tok, Brian clung to the idea that prevailing winds may have been eastward and that we might actually still drive out of the smoke tonight. We drove past the road to Northway in smoke so thick it felt like driving through a house on fire, without the fire. We arrived at an only slightly less smoky Tok gas station an hour later and pushed on south another 50 miles before giving up just before midnight, and calling it a late night at the Porcupine Creek Campground.

Daily Pictures (Slide Show)

Morning in the middle of the Cassiar Highway Today's potential, we ended up realizing way more of it than we intended
Road shot south of Dease Lake Roadside shot south of Dease Lake
The Yukon welcomes us The top of the Cassiar Highway, home is west
In retrospect, the first sign that something is wrong with the air ahead The very long Teslin Bridge
The actual junction in Haines Junction The increasingly smoky road toward Kluane
Looking across Kluane Lake toward Sheep Mountain Looking back at Slim River
The bus has taken on a distinctly road warriorish look One of our favorite stretches of road, even in the smoke, along the western edge of Kluane Lake
Snacking moose The sun over Burwash Landing
Approaching the border after Beaver Creek, driving through a smoke cloud Alaska welcomes us home

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