Monday, September 26, 2011

Atigun Pass

Early Saturday morning, we left Toolik Field Station headed back to Fairbanks. As mentioned in my last post, I took a couple of pictures of some of the views from Atigun Pass. Since the road is fairly steep (12% grade), you are up and over pretty quickly.

Approaching the Brooks Range from the North

Half Way Up Looking North

Just South of the Summit

Looking South

South of Atigun
We arrived back in Fairbanks around 3:00pm.

12 comments:

irondad said...

That doesn't look like a very hospitable place! Hope there was more cheerful places on either side. :)

Unknown said...

RichardM:

yikes, looks cold . Glad you were in a truck with a blasting heater.

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

Geoff James said...

I think they're terrific photos! Exposing my lack of knowledge of Alaska, are most of the main highways outside towns dirt roads because of the difficulty in keeping seal intact?

RichardM said...

Irondad:
No, not too cheery to the north as winter has arrived. As we came south, we saw more and more trees still holding onto their leaves and by the time we got back to Fairbanks, it was a balmy 55°F.

Bobskoot:
Actually, it wasn't too cold -10°C or so. Given the road conditions, 4WD was more important than the heater as the gravel on the edges of the road were pretty soft.

Geoff James:
Most of the main roads in Alaska are paved. Up north due to the permafrost, it is difficult to get a good road foundation and you end up with a lot of frost heaves. If it's gravel, you can always regrade. In many cases, the gravel sections are much smoother than the paved sections.

redlegsrides said...

Richard...Atigun Pass looks fantastic! Someday, I hope to ride it.

dom


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

RichardM said...

Dom:
I thought that you would like pictures of the pass.

For me, next year I'm going to ride up there...

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Richard:

Now you did this on four-wheels, right? Sitting at my desk, the dogwoods outside are red, but there is only a slight slash of color in the oaks. I am not yet ready for the ghastly white stuff.

Do you have to think about polar bears in these places?

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep

RichardM said...

Jack:
Yep, four wheels. I thought about meeting the others in Coldfoot but would be left with the problem of where to store the bike. On the way up, the road on the north side of the pass had quite a bit of ice on it. On past trips up here, I've seen black bears along the roads but Toolik Lake is probably too far from the ocean to routinely see polar bears. But then again, possibly due to the speed of the retreating sea ice in the summer, polar bears have been spotted much further south than ever before.

I was wondering when the snow arrives in Lake Placid? About the same time as you?

Richard

Trobairitz said...

Brrrr. Sure looks chilly and barren up there.

I guess I didn't realize how spoiled we are with our weather down here.

Dar said...

Snow....I dont even want to think of it. Glad you are toasty warm and in a comfy truck. I wont whine about our weather anymore. The pictures are pretty though.

RichardM said...

Trobairitz:
The early morning light made it look colder than it really was. But it is pretty barren. Not a whole lot of vegetation once you get near the Brooks Range. And Atigun Pass is the only road crossing these mountains.

Dar:
It was only a light dusting of snow. We'll see what it's like in a couple more weeks when I go back up....

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Richard:

I have seen the snow fall as early as Columbus Day in the Adirondacks, with black ice rearing its ugly head by Halloween.

And some winters, there was little snow, which is really bad for the winter sports economy.

Fondest regards.
Jack/toad