The first half of the Dempster highway winds and wends its way through the Tombstone, Ogilvie, and Richardson Mountains. I have many times heard people say that the section between the end of the mountains and Eagle Plains is boring and not beautiful. I don’t think we were driving the same road…
Having previously driven the first 150km of the Dempster twice, as far as Two Moose Lake, it wasn’t until after that point that I really felt that my adventure had begun. I still stopped to retake old photographs just to test out my new camera!
This first portion of the Dempster is the most isolated. There are really no services between the Klondike River Lodge and Eagle Plains, just a lot of wide open country, the Tombstone interpretive centre, and a highway maintenance camp.
It’s really a good idea to bring a spare tire or two, but I really don’t see the point of bringing extra gas unless you plan to zip past Eagle Plains when the gas pump is closed. I filled up at AFD Petroleum in Dawson for $1.12 when I set off and had nearly a half a tank left by the end of the day. It would have been the same had I been traveling with Miranda.
This first 400km or so was in reasonably good shape; dry and recently graded. I still had to watch out for pot holes, pointy bits of shale which are known to shred tires beyond repair, and speedy drivers throwing up rocks. All of this meant focusing more on the road than on the landscape; it might be nice to do this trip again as a passenger. 😀
I left Dawson City at about 11:45 am and, even though the drive hadn’t been that difficult, when the oasis of Eagle Plains came into view at quarter to seven, I was very grateful and more than ready to stop!