16-Aug-2003 -- I hiked to this confluence with my dog Koko, (lower corner of pic2); this photo is looking back down the drainage towards the road from near the CP. We borrowed my sister’s motor home for an extended road trip to Interior Alaska. We left from our home near Palmer on Friday morning the 15th of August. We drove the 320 miles north to Fairbanks and watched the Palmer High Moose come from behind to defeat the West Valley Wolfpack in football. After the game we drove north and west following the Steese Highway to Fox (about 20 miles north of Fairbanks), and then the Elliott Highway towards Manley Hot Springs. We camped for the night at the Lower Chatanika State Recreation Area, along the Chatanika River. There was only one other campsite occupied that night. The next morning we got on the road at 7:00am and started our long journey north. The Elliott Highway is paved for about 80 miles, all the way to its’ junction with the Dalton Highway (known locally as the “Haul Road”). The Dalton was built to haul materials and supplies for the building of the trans-Alaska Pipeline. Pipeline construction began in March of 1975 and was completed in May of 1977. The Dalton Highway is just over 400 miles long and parallels the pipeline most of the time (pic5). The pipeline runs 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez thru some incredibly rugged terrain. It is above ground much of the way due to permafrost. The Dalton Highway is gravel and in bad shape at the start. It also climbs up and down across the many ridges and mountains along its’ route. Fifty miles up the road you cross the Yukon River on a bridge that slants from south to north. One of the few places along the Dalton Highway to get gas is on the north end of the bridge. They also have a restaurant, motel, and mechanic shop. Gas was $2.50 a gallon, not bad for as remote as we were. We filled our tank and headed north. About 10 miles north of the Yukon River we reached the place on the road closest to the CP it was drizzling so we decided to go on to the Arctic Circle and hope for better weather in a few hours on the return trip. Surprisingly at mile 90 we came upon pavement (technically chip seal). This lasted at least until the Arctic Circle at mile 115 where we turned around. There is a nice new looking campground at the Arctic Circle and a sign marking the spot of 66 degrees 33 minutes north.
The approach to this CP is from a bend in the road, (pic3), following an unnamed creek drainage upstream (pic4). In the picture the CP would be approximately in the center at the skyline of the ridge. My GPS said it was only .83 miles to the CP. It was uphill but not steep and I made my way to the CP easily except for having to find openings in the trees to get a reading. The ground was spongy and damp as I followed the creek upwards. When I got to the CP you really couldn’t see far in any direction so I’ve only included the photo looking north, (pic1). The other 3 compass points were nearly identical. My GPS photo shows 7.5’ to the CP (pic6). The photo that showed 2.5’ was to blurry to be posted. After taking the requisite photos Koko and I headed back down to the road. The whole hike took about 2 hours (6pm to 8pm). When I got back to the road I hiked south on it about a mile to a pullout where my wife and 10 month old son had agreed to wait for me. Monique had fixed the shower in the motor home while I was in the woods so I got a nice hot shower. A nice way to warm up after my hike thru the wet grass, shrubs, and trees. We headed south back down the highway for another 4 days of exploring Interior Alaska.