Dempster Snow and a Human Toe

Day 5 on the Dempster.  We were feeling pretty good about our progress the prior day considering the wet weather and slippery roads. We figured today would be a slam dunk.

We woke up to snow.

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An early start was the plan, but I’d been hearing a familiar little popping sound coming from the rear suspension and figured I should take a look before we hit the road. Loose CVs. They had to get fixed right away, so I crawled under the bus into the frozen mud.

I do actually kind of enjoy this. I asked Angela if she could think of a good phrase for it.

“Damn fool.” That’s all she said.

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On the road, these were some of the worst driving conditions I can remember in… a long time.

We slipped and slid. We pulled over a hundred times to scrape the windshield. We froze.

The Dempster Highway. 1500 km of dirt road over the Arctic Circle and back. In an old VW. With no heat.


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Our reward at the end was a car wash and celebrating with friends in Dawson City.  The MaliMish gang was here and wanted to show us how the locals celebrate – they drink a shot of whiskey with a human toe in it.

Human. Toe.

This is how memories are made.

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4 thoughts on “Dempster Snow and a Human Toe

  • January 19, 2016 at 2:15 PM

    Who donates all the toes? Or is it BYOT?

  • January 21, 2016 at 6:54 PM


  • January 25, 2016 at 9:02 AM

    The Toes are donated by frost bite… Made this trip in much better weather almost 20 years ago, and everyone has to do the Sour Toe Coctail… Always thought it should be done in a 100 proof Yukon Jack… You can drink fast or you can drink it slow, but your lips have got to touch the toe.

  • January 25, 2016 at 1:53 PM

    This particular toe was donated by a woman from Alberta who lost it in a lawn-mowing accident. Some donate them when the die.

    Apparently, people have begun eating the toes, so they have imposed a $2000 fine for that. We only saw one toe, but we talked to others who have had a choice of three.

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