After the Arctic Tour, we hopped back into Red Beard and headed south. The 24 hours of daylight meant we could drive until late at night without running into much truck traffic. We made it to just north of Coldfoot and pulled over to camp at a nice stretch along the Yukon river. No smoke, not too many mosquitoes.
The smoke had mostly cleared and the drive through the Brooks range was something I’m glad we got to actually see. We’d been told that we might spot moose, bear even some musk oxen on this highway, but smoke or no smoke the only (non-bug) wildlife we saw were some hares, and the oilfield caribou we think may have been planted there. Caribou love pipelines.
The wildflowers, however were spectacular. And something I wasn’t expecting in the Arctic circle. But mostly, it was pipeline. Alyeska Pipeline runs from Prudhoe Bay in the Arctic Ocean to Valdez, where the oil is loaded onto Ships. The tanker in the Exxon Valdez crash has been renamed, and is not allowed in the Bay at all.
It was still a long slow drive back to pavement. We stopped along the way at Coldfoot camp to gas up and take a photo of the phone I had to use to make the Arctic Ocean tour. Hadn’t seen one a while, and get this…you need a calling card!
Once we reached Fairbanks, we stopped for supplies and spent the evening cleaning mud and dust of the bus and ourselves.