After a little pit-stop in Inuvik am onto the Dempster Highway proper, the northern road to Tuktoyaktuk only having opened as an adjunct to the Dempster in 2018. The first part of the highway south is a flattish undulating forest road down to the two river crossings 61km apart at Mackenzie River and Peel River. It is Spring so the thaw is on and the vehicle transport ferries are not operating due to the ice flowing down into the delta, draining a fifth of Canada the guide tells me.
Having jumped in a little boat with one of the local trappers to cross the Peel River, your correspondent heads up into the mountains. [below is a link to a video from the first part of the highway].
The first of the mountain legs beyond the Peel River crossing. Lovely barren hills of the Richardson Mountain Range. Gradients not pleasant on the legs though. Absolutely no polka-dot jerseys to be seen here. The mountains are hellish for this out-of-condition rider and the gradients are truly debilitating in places. But southwards we forge.
The barren snow strewn Richardson Mountains in Northwest Territories. Vry beautiful but his was an ugly little pass.
Crossing out of The Northwest Territories into Yukon with a stunned selfie.
The road continues to be a joy as the ferries that cross the Mackenzie and Peel rivers have not started operating for the summer season yet due to ‘the thaw’. As a consequence there is no vehicle traffic at all apart from locals and the occasional territorial truck; maybe half a dozen a day. So I pretty well have the road to myself every day! Perfect timing. Above is the (mandatory) photo at the marker for the crossing southwards over the Arctic Circle (‘pink-nosing’ as opposed to the ‘blue-nosing’ of naval parlance I suggest).
Rarely in the history of international bicycle touring has a sign-post been greeted with more joy and unbridled relief than this sign 2km out from the lovely Eagle Plains restaurant and lodge (170km south of Peel River crossing).
Here at Buff3ysbicycling blog as key influencers in matters culinary, we like to keep our fingers on the collective pulse of food fashion. On our left we have a rich concoction of deb instant potato with delicate shards of spam. This is beautifully complimented with Nescafe. Add some butter and salt to the potato to taste, particularly if you feel any compulsion to gag or throw-up.