Saturday, June 21, 2008

Alaska Sunday XI

The Adventure Continues...... from last week

As you will remember, we were heading back to Coldfoot from Deadhorse. The morning started cloudy but with high hopes for the sun to burn off the clouds. That was not to happen, as the rain steadily increased as we headed out across the tundra. We reached the first steps of the Brooks Range and noticed a lot of small streams that were not there when we first arrived.

It had been unseasonably warm (~60 °F.) the 4 days we were there. There was a lot of the snow at the higher elevations that were rapidly melting and combining with above average rain, was producing a lot of water.

On the north side of the pass we saw a lot of streams (small waterfalls in the higher elevations no less) coming down.

Click on the photos for a better look at the adventure!

Snow Melt

Enough to make small waterfalls

We had read in the brochures that they had to constantly repair the guard rail due to landslides and falling rocks. Most of the rocks were small to baseball size with 1-2 foot boulders mixed in. there was a section taken out by boulders since our arrival a few days earlier. We could not stop on the blind curves, to take photos of the bad sections of the rail, and later on as you will see, I did not want to.

A "Good" section of the Guard Rail

We were in a narrow section of the pass when Martha said something to the effect that there was a small landslide coming down towards us. Now it wasn’t like an Earth trembling Hollywood blockbuster, but it was a respectable size and I can tell you that our 4Runner didn’t want a boulder in the side. Sassie (that’s our Toyota’s name) can move when she wants to. No, we didn’t stop to photograph this. I know, I know, camera always at the ready. I was a little busy driving and Martha was busy urging me on.

Safely through the pass, and about 50 miles down in the valley flats, between the mountain ranges, we discovered another interesting adventure. At least Martha did. I didn’t until I looked at the photos later on. If you remember, I mentioned several weeks ago, how several native villages were swept away by the river years ago. This was another case of the Koyukuk River flooding. The road was covered with sheets of water, hiding large, very large, potholes and I was try to avoid these. Martha kept mentioning that the water was rising and was pretty high. I took a quick glance and about my only comment was, “Yes Dear, that’s nice Dear, Why don’t you put the VR lens in active mode and shoot some photos. I’ll look later”.

The photo below shows how much the river was out of its banks. It was only about 6” below the roadway in places. Remember, we were in a valley with no place to go. Well, all’s well that ends well.

Koyukuk River Flooding

We arrived in Coldfoot late, grabbed a bite to eat in the trucker’s and oil field workers cafĂ©, and straight to bed. Even though I hung over the end of the bed about six inches, it was a great night’s sleep.

Next week, I will show some photos from other parts of the trip.
Just some favorites along the way and in no particular chronological order.

Alaska Sunday is a collection of photographic remembrances of our driving trip from Texas to Alaska.
18,000 miles, 16 weeks, 16 western states including Alaska and four Canadian Provinces.
No chronological order, just anything of interest that got in front of our cameras.

Driving by Troy
Photography by Martha


The Texican said...

Alaska is a wild and wooly place. I had one of the first Four Runners when it was a Toyota pick-up with a fancy cover and rear seats. Thanks for your chronicle of this trip, it is very entertaining.

Judi-gmj said...

I am still following along, goose bumps and all!

kjpweb said...

Great to come along! Thanks for the ride!
Cheers, Klaus

Stacey Huston said...

alaska looks pretty grey today! I can almost smell the air and the raw beauty. Thanks for our weekend Trips to this pristine place.. by the way.. Love the "Good" guard rail.. lol..

Gretchen said...

Would love to see those places in person some day. :)

Daryl said...

Its just as well you didnt stop .. I could 'see' it from your description of the rapid departure!


Shellmo said...

Glad to continue the Alaska adventure with you. The snow melt photo was neat to see!

Kathiesbirds said...

Wow, that's quite story Troy. Glad you and Martha are safe! These photos are so eerie, beautiful, barren, mystical. Without even being there, I get this feeling for the place from your pictures. What I can't imagine (but wish I could) are the sounds and smells of this place. Those mossy-rusty-green barren slopes make me feel so lonely, yet peaceful. How did it make you feel?

storyteller said...

Last year my sister and her husband took an RV Caravan tour through Alaska and had so much fun! Your 'travel' posts are wonderful. Thanks for sharing. Mine's at Small Reflections.
Hugs and blessings,

Doug Taron said...

I loves me some Alaska Sunday. This has been such a great feature. This installment was especially exciting, and the pictures were very good, too.

Sandpiper said...

What a great trip! Someday I'll go there and see it in person. Until then, I've really enjoyed your journal and look forward to seeing more of your pictures.