May 30: Tundra Lodge and RV Park, Tok, AK
Attempting this route was determinate by the weather. The ice break-up on the Yukon River was the key. The only link from Dawson City to the Top of the World Highway is the George Black Ferry and, if the ferry can’t run, the Top of the World is closed. We watched the weather closely in May and the ice broke on the Yukon early this year ensuring that the road would be open when we arrived.
The George Black ferry is a free service and runs on demand. You ride the Yukon in the order you arrive. The following link is a video of our crossing: The George Black Ferry across the Yukon.
Just the other side of the Yukon crossing is the Dawson City Thank You sign.
It’s hard to describe the Top of the World Highway views. They are simply awesome. We will let the pictures speak for themselves.
From a distance, the tundra landscape looks barren, but, in fact, it is alive with wildflowers.
There is a teeny-tiny border check-point along the Top of the World Highway that is also the Northern most border point in the US. This crossing is at Poker Creek, AK with a total population of 3. This crossing is only open while the Top of the World Highway is active.
Here we had to forfeit the free fire wood that we collected in the Yukon so that the US Border Patrol could maintain their nightly campfires in the guise of invasive pest control.
And, of course, there were views on the US side of the highway, as well.
Finally, we arrived at Chicken, Alaska. Chicken is one of the few surviving gold rush towns in Alaska. There is a year-round population of 7 which swells to around 20 in the summer. The original settlers wanted to name the community after the Ptarmigan which were plentiful in the area, but could not agree on the spelling. They eventually agreed on “Chicken.”
Even though traveling in gold rush country, this was the first mining dredge upon which we crosses. There are dredges outside of Dawson City, but we chose not to visit them. Here is the dredge at Chicken.
Each day we seemed to come upon the unexpected. This day was no exception. We pulled onto a roadside cutoff to find a helicopter and pilot taking an obliviously needed rest. There are not many flat areas in this region. This was probably one of the few options for a break.
Next on our itinerary is the Richardson Highway to Fairbanks, Alaska.