Today had all of the ingredients for a tough day: hills, headwind, rough road, and a late start. The short video clip gives you of an idea how much of a momentum killer a rough road can be!
At least the scenery was amazing. It was warm again and the couple swims
I took did not even feel cold. At one spot a dozen beautiful arctic grayling
were stacked up right at the base of a feeder stream coming into a beautiful
Yukon is just so vast. I am on this ribbon of development called a road, but
move off laterally from the road and you might not hit another one for 200 miles in any direction. While the scenery reminds me of the lovely Flathead River valley in Montana or the Sangre de Christo range on Colorado, in this spots, the nearest road is never more than 20 miles away. The scale of things is just so much bigger here.
Its kinda strange, this Alaska Highway. All day long motorhomes blow by me,
either going to or coming back from the Last Frontier, their idea of the Alaska
experience so much different than mine. I picked up book at a diner yesterday and read how the stops along the Alaska Highway are slowly closing up, due to overcapitalization, motorhome travelers that don’t need the accommodations, and greater fuel efficiency of the typical vehicles traveling the highway. Feels strange to have such money going up and down the highway and the typical establishment on it either boarded up or looking like a run down junkyard.
My stay last night was just that. I got in a bit late and the owner sent me over
into a patch of grass that looked like a minefield of good things to cut your feet on. And he looked like the kind of guy very relieved not to have to worry about zoning, the kind of guy that looked like he lived on too much nicotine and too little sleep in the land of the midnight sun. (The sun set at 11:30 last night).
But that was a $10 well spent, if not for the hot shower alone. I recounted a day with 3 bear sightings, after having pedaled 500 miles so far without seeing one. One grizzly munched on grass about 30 feet from where I pedaled. It was either unaware or unconcerned about me, or had seen its share of pedalers that weren’t as tasty as the vegetation it was eating. Snapping a photo was not high on my priority list! Of perhaps 1000 grizzly sightings in my life so far, this is the first one I had seen eating leaves. Ironically, I am still very close to the fertile salmon rivers of the Alaska panhandle. I am surprised that this bear doesn’t migrate to feed on something a bit more tasty.
The last bear of the day was only 3 miles before I stopped. A passing motorist
alerted me to one on the road and escorted me past the beast.