I have often been asked what was the most impressive experience for me that I associate with Canada. Well, there is a lot that I have experienced in the more than thirty years that I have traveled the vastness of Canada. One thing is for sure the enormous size of the country, for which a human life is not enough to get to know it in its entirety. But since I was in the Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories for the first time in 1990, the north of the country has stuck with me. My Dempster Highway travel report tells about three of my trips that I will never forget.
My first drive on the Dempster Highway to Inuvik
Some years later, I collected the most lasting impressions from these latitudes on a journey across the Dempster Highway to the Arctic Ocean. Before we started to traverse the taiga and tundra regions between the Klondike Highway and Inuvik in the Northwest Territories, we watched spellbound the weather. For days it was raining like rain, and it just would not stop.
Eagle Plains - our destination on the Dempster Highway in the Yukon
The Dempster Highway is unpowered in its full length. Only the first few kilometers you drive on a tar line. Then it gets adventurous. And that was this ride. Along the Dempster Highway, there is just a simple motel at a roadside maintenance center about half way up the highway, and where almost anyone can spend the good 700 kilometers between the Klondike Highway and Inuvik. Only a few campsites offer campers the chance to spend the night in the solitude of the wilderness. However, since we were not equipped to camp, we had to reach our milestone in Eagle Plains.
Rain and mud hinder the ride
It did not turn out to be so easy, because the first part of our journey was so much soaked by the rain of the past days that the journey over this part of the route turned into a pure mud fight. The gravel road was so steeped in water, that you sank immediately in the mud, you dared to leave the car. And this had to fight with the slippery surface as well as we: in dry weather the road service drives over the gravel road and sprayed a binder, with which the dust is to be bound, so that the drivers free visibility remains, even if overtaking vehicles the dry and fine Stir up dust so that it penetrates all the cracks. Due to the rain for several days, dust and binders had become pure soft soap, which we were only able to drive very carefully and slowly. And so our ride to Eagle Plains lasted an agonizingly long eight hours.
Incredible silence in the taiga of the Yukon
Tired and exhausted, we finally reached the ridge at Eagle Plains when - finally! - the sun broke through the clouds again. And what a view opened up! Miles and miles stretch the crippled conifers of the Canadian taiga, which looked as if they were not yet fully grown, but which were often several hundred years old. The ridge behind the ridge strung together to the horizon. In the south, the Richardson Mountains limited the view to infinity. Toward the north, the seemingly never-ending hills lost in the mist. Fatigue and exhaustion were forgotten at the sight of the vast forests of northern Canada. And when I first dreamed of a juicy steak as a reward for the day's travel, this was forgotten as I sat down on a bench, overwhelmed, to enjoy this view. Alone and tired, I looked out into the vastness of the Yukon and listened to nothingness. And that was it really: no wind, no birdsong, not even the hum of a mosquito disturbed the incredible silence that surrounded this landscape. Nowhere else on my many journeys have I experienced this absolute silence, as in this place, which since then embodies for me the Canadian north.
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Source: own research on site. We financed this trip ourselves.
Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline and public domain