DEW Line Passage Trip Chapter One:

Fairbanks to the Beaufort Sea

Stacey and Ryan, testing out their new sailing canoe on Birch Lake south of Fairbanks on Solstice before they head off on the big trip.
It works.

Finally heading out of Fairbanks on June 30th. Our friend Gabrielle (left) drove us to Whitehorse, Dawson, and up the Dempster Highway to Fort McPherson.

The route included driving from Fairbanks to Whitehorse, Yukon, then up to Dawson City (where we waited for the Dempster Highway to be repaired from a big washout) and up to Ft. McPherson. From Ft. McPherson we put in on the Peel River, which turns into the Peel or West Channel of the Mackenzie River Delta and passes by the hamlet of Aklavik ('place where one can hunt grizzlies' and also the gravesite of the famous Albert Johnson, the Mad Trapper of Rat River. Last year a film crew came and dug him up to do DNA tests.)


From Aklavik the plan was to continue north to the Beaufort Sea and Shingle Point (fishing and whaling camp and location of the first DEW Line site we would visit).

Ryan, Stacey and Gabrielle crossing the Arctic Circle on the Dempster Highway, July 4th.
The Peel River ferry closed for repairs (high water damage) shortly after we took it over to Ft. McPherson.
The convoy of antique cars from Alaska was stuck waiting for it to reopen the next day.
The view from our campsite night #2 paddling on the Peel River between Ft. McPherson and Aklavik.
This was after a beautiful 11-hour day of sun and water. The barrage of mosquitoes was tempered by the truly amazing squadrons of dragonflies.
From our campsite on the beach in Aklavik, where boats constantly buzz in and out. Folks are checking fishnets, going swimming across the river at Hudson Lake, or heading up to Shingle Point on the Arctic Coast for whaling and games.
Updating the DEW Line Passage Log from the porch of the administrative offices building in Aklavik.
It is Saturday night and the bldg. is closed but the wireless is on. Here's a slice of Aklavik behind me. Tomorrow we embark on the second half of the Mackenzie River Delta portion of the trip and hope to make it to Shingle Point in a few days.

Next: Beaufort Sea and Shingle Point

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