One year ago today I drove away from Whitehorse, embarking on a solo journey down the Alaska Highway in -30 something temperatures. I stopped along the way to take some photos and jot down some poems. Here is that post.
Day One: Whitehorse to Watson Lake (December 2, 2013)
This is the Alaska Highway:
At 10:45 in the morning my car’s thermometer is pegged at-30: as low as it will go. I do not know how cold it really is, only that it is colder than 30 below. After an hour on the road, there is still ice on the hood of the car and the clutch is still as stiff as tar.
I am driving East, into the rising sun, with everything I own.
When the road ahead
is drenched in molten gold
I know to raise my hand
in anticipation of being blinded,
until the road slides west
outhouse in December
someone has left the seat up
eases the pie jesu
into the rising sun
as brilliant bursts of liquid bronze and gold
chase the sweetness of the melody
across the hillsides.
Telephone poles stretching
one after the other,
t-braces white with frost,
a thousand messiahs
with knees and feet of alabaster
and frosty brows bowed down,
connected by living wire,
carrying my whispered voice
from christ jesus
to christ jesus
to christ jesus
until it reaches your
This is a short video of the road, shot holding the camera on the dash as I drove. It’s beautiful. Click here if you can’t see it.
Day 2 Driving the Alaska Highway
Contact Creek Lodge just outside of Watson Lake:
Contact Creek has the cheapest gas on the highway:
Somewhere between Watson Lake and Muncho Provincial Park (if you’re viewing through email, you’ll need to go directly to the website to see the short video)
Bison on the road. They lay on the sides of the road like statues. Like big boulders. You don’t realize it’s an animal lying there until you’re passing it, sometimes!
Caribou on the Alaska Highway in Muncho Provincial Park (if you’re viewing through email, you’ll need to go directly to the website to see the short video):
The drive through the mountains was awesome. A-MAZ-ING.
A long and winding (but scenic) road that used all my defensive driving skills. The road is quite a bit narrower in the winter because of the snow plowed off to the side. It wasn’t scary at all, but you do need to be alert and drive to the conditions.
I didn’t take any pictures of the road as it winds around the lake. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s sort of like driving on a flat roller coaster. Every corner is a blind corner. The road is about 1.5 lanes wide, and you can see what’s coming from several bends ahead, but you can’t see it coming right around the bend you are on. So you go slow. When you meet a transport truck, one of you has to pull off onto the side as far as you can, with a sheer rock wall on one side and the lake right on the other. Then you creep past each other with a wave and a grin before continuing on your way. It’s probably not so bad in the summer, but in the winter the snow makes it even narrower. So you can understand that I didn’t have any attention to spare for my camera!
All the mountain driving was tiring. Just when I thought I was through the mountains, I hit Stone Mountain Provincial Park. The road here was nice and wide, though, and other than a lot of climbing and descending, it was just fine.