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Snag Junction YT to Deadman Lake AK on the Alaska Hwy

21 August 2010 - Saturday

Woke to a temperature of 42 degrees Fahrenheit inside the fifth wheel! Chilly! The result of clear skies outside. It was great to see the sun come up!! And the barometer is rising, which cheers us up a great deal!

Today was border crossing day. I gathered together our paperwork -- passports, dog rabies documentation, etc. But first we had to start the day with frost heaves and rough asphalt on the Alaska Highway.

Alaska Highway frost heaves near Beaver Creek, Yukon
Rough & broken asphalt caused by the thawing permafrost and winter freezes

American and Canadian agencies are working together in an effort to resolve the issues caused by the remarkable temperature differences the highway endures.

Alaska Highway south of Beaver Creek in Yukon
Vents alongside the Alaska Highway are part of a multi-year experiment to reduce frost heaving

I think the experiments aren't overly effective; this section was also bad.

Don't let the bad highway distract you from the stunning views of the Nutzotin Mountains and the Wrangell Mountains through this area! We planned to also see the Wrangell mountains from the Alaska side while driving the Nabesna Road in a few days.

Wrangell Mountains viewed from the Alaska Highway
Wrangell Mountains in the distance, seen from just south of Beaver Creek

Approaching Beaver Creek I again felt things were odd. I grew up in Beaver Creek and the bridge I knew had been replaced with a bridge with no overhead structure. Just seemed odd.

Near Beaver Creek, Yukon on the Alaska Highway
Approaching the bridge over the Beaver Creek and the community of Beaver Creek

Often we overnight in Beaver Creek as it is my hometown. But this year figured we would carry on through as many travellers do. Most are anxious to get to Alaska so don't stop here. Yet, the information center is a great resource for info. For those heading south into the Yukon, I highly recommend a stop to collect some maps and see the displays of local handicrafts.

Info Centre at Beaver Creek, Yukon on the Alaska Hwy
Visitor Information Centre in Beaver Creek, Yukon

We stopped for fuel at the Westmark RV park and to dump our tanks and refill with fresh water. Because we filled with fuel there was no charge for the other services. In the past we have overnighted at this RV park. We've also had some great fun at the Rendezvous Dinner Show at the Westmark Inn.  (note: the Westmark closed in 2013)

Beaver Creek, Yukon
Looking south on Beaver Creek's 'main street' -- the Alaska Highway (the Info Centre is on the right)

A short distance north of the Westmark RV park is the 1202 Motor Inn. Used to enjoy some good breakfasts here. In past years it has become run down so we don't usually pull in now.

Beaver Creek, Yukon, on the Alaska Highway
1202 Motor Inn in Beaver Creek

Continuing north towards Alaska the landscape switches to muskeg, the North's version of swamp land. The drunken spruce alongside the highway show the effects of the freezing & thawing.

Alaska Highway view between Beaver Creek & the border
Muskeg north of Beaver Creek- N62 29.491 W140 51.640

Muskeg alongside the Alaska Highway in Yukon
Looking to the east from the Alaska Highway before the Alaska border - - N62 30.367 W140 52.458

About 30 km (20 miles) north of Beaver Creek is the Yukon/Alaska border.

Yukon / Alaska border on the Alaska Highway
The view towards Canada at the Yukon/Alaska border

At the Alaska/Yukon border there is a cut line through the bush marking the boundary.

Yukon / Alaska border on the Alaska Highway
Standing on the International Boundary marker between Yukon & Alaska

Looking towards Alaska, there is also a sign welcoming travellers.

Welcome to Alaska sign on the Alaska Highway
Welcome to Alaska Sign on the Alaska Highway

Back on the highway, the signs weren't quite so welcoming!

Sign announcing the Alaska border on the Alaska Highway
Approaching the Alaska border crossing on the Alaska Highway

Crossing into Alaska wasn't too difficult. The border agent reviewed our passports, then asked about our vehicle and trailer registration. The agent also queried about guns and knives. Then the dog's rabies vaccination papers. He also asked where we were going. Steve replied, "Alaska". Steve laughed when he realized it was obvious we were going to Alaska. While one agent questioned us another walked around our truck and trailer. The visit with the border agent took about five minutes and we were again on our way.

Deadman Lake campground in the Tetlin Refuge was ahead. It makes a nice lunch spot. The road into the campground is narrow and winding. There is a wide variety of campsites with a handful capable of handling larger rigs. After lunch we decided to stay overnight. The day was lovely, the sun was warm, and the campground was very quiet. Except for a busy squirrel.

 Deadman Lake, Alaska          Deadman Lake
This squirrel occupied much of Tazz's time! Tazz patiently waited for a long while for a chance to snack!

The views over Deadman Lake are stunning with the snow capped Wrangell Mountains as a backdrop.  Later in the afternoon the sun peaked through the clouds to highlight the snow.

Wrangell Mountains viewed from Deadman Lake Campground in the Tetlin Refuge
Wrangell Mountains viewed over Deadman Lake

There were numerous birds on the lake but most stayed on the shore away from the campground. The lakeshore was marshy and thick with reeds & pads. There were also LOTS of mosquitoes! It was difficult to stand still long enough to take pictures!

Wrangell Mountains viewed from Deadman Lake Campground in the Tetlin Refuge
Wrangell Mountains over Deadman Lake

There were some nice walking trails in the area and a good boat launch. As well as a decent dock for fishing. Overall, a nice stop. Even better, there was no fee to stay!

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