After driving for a while through some amazing scenery,
we climbed above treeline and reached the summit of the road. We climbed up a short but steep trail to a large rock cairn, marking the summit.
We each added a rock to the tower, and then just stood and looked for a while at the amazing view. We could see mountains out in the distance, stretching a complete 360 degrees around us.
It truly felt as if we were on top of the world. Words can't explain how it felt to be there, and pictures just can't capture the beauty of it all.
I think it is just something everyone needs to experience.
Once we finally pulled ourselves away from the view, we went through Customs for the last time. I was sad to leave Canada behind, but it was exciting to be entering Alaska again!
We drove for a while longer on the Top of the World
Highway (while I held my camera out of the window and took a picture every few seconds!),
and then turned off onto a road that led to a small town called Eagle. This road also had wonderful views of mountains,
and also of Fortymile Creek down in the valley below.
After a slow and somewhat bumpy drive over the dirt road, we reached Eagle. Eagle is one of the closest towns to Yukon Charley National Park.
There are no roads leading into this park, so the best way to see it is either by airplane, or from the river. Most people who visit this park get a canoe and spend five to seven or more days canoeing down the Yukon River.
I know I would like to do that some day! We went into the Visitor Center for the park, took lots of pictures (of course!), and ate a nice lunch by the river.
Before we left Eagle, we stopped at historic Fort Egbert. Soldiers were stationed at this fort during the building of the WAMCATS (a telegraph line). There are a few historic buildings around with interpretive signs by each. While driving back to the Top of the World Highway, we noticed plants all along both sides of the road that had such shiny green leaves, they looked white when the sun was shining in them. When we read our guide book with notes about each part of the road, it said that Fireweed grew for miles along the section of the road we were at. It looks like the beautiful bright pink flowers that I love so much might start blooming in a week or two. As I have said before, I would love to see this flower, but at least now I have seen a part of the plant! There were so many Fireweed plants growing along the road. I'm sure the views from the road will be even more amazing soon when they are all in bloom! Also on the one road to and from Eagle, we saw evidence of several forest fires. We also saw a perfectly straight line dividing the live, green trees and the burnt, dead, grayish/brown trees. Our guide book told us that this was where firefighters started a back burn, and it was successful. It saved all of the trees! That was also neat to see.
We hadn't seen any wildlife at all the entire day, but after we left Eagle, we started seeing some. First, we saw six caribou.
Four of the caribou ran across the road and a short distance away when we drove up, but the other two just calmly walked out into the road and stopped in the middle. The posed perfectly for several pictures, both of them turning their heads to look straight at us, and then both at the same time turning their heads back straight again. After a few minutes they decided they were done posing for us, and walked off. A little bit later, we saw three snowshoe hares. They were sitting in the road and looked almost like rocks, but when we got close they jumped up and ran off. Right now they are changing colors from white to brown, so their bodies are completely brown, and their feet are bright white! The last wildlife we saw for the day was a female moose with her two babies!
They were walking along the side of the road, but got scared when we got closer. The babies were really cute! Their long ears kept twitching, and their legs were really long and spindly. I think those are the first baby moose I have ever seen. It was wonderful to see them!
When we got back to the Top of the World Highway, we drove to a small town called Chicken. The drive here was also beautiful, and as we got closer to Chicken, we could see that the small stream we had been driving along was now way down in the valley below us.
We counted each car we saw today. Before we got into Chicken, we saw a total of eight cars the entire day. Yes, Eagle and Chicken and the Top of the World Highway are fairly remote. :) We are camped in the RV park in Chicken right now. I'll let Stephanie tell you all about Chicken and why she likes this town so much in her blog entry tomorrow. I'm looking forward to another wonderful day tomorrow!
We started out the day in Dawson City, Canada. We went to a couple gift shops in town, an information center for the town, and a Visitor Center for the Northwest Territories. The Visitor Center was neat, and it made us really want to drive the Dempster Highway some day. The Dempster Highway starts near Dawson City and goes north, all the way up to Inuvik. We saw pictures, and it looks beautiful! (I think everything in northern Canada is beautiful!) Also, the range of large (thousands of animals) caribou herd crosses this highway. Someone told us that if you get there when the herd is crossing the road, you might have to wait two hours or more for them all to get across! That's a lot of caribou! After we put the Dempster Highway on our "to-do next time" list and finished up around the town, we took a small ferry to the other side of the Yukon River and started driving along the Top of the World Highway.