The Denali Highway, day 11

This is continued from our Alaska trip in August. With so much to see and do I fell behind on the blog and skipped day 9 – 13.

After waking up in 38° F., Debbie grabbing a shower and me grabbing breakfast at the Roadhouse we are enroute to Paxson (population 37) in search of laundry, Internet and a post office. As we left we doubled back to the nearby Sourdough Creek Campground (BLM) to dump trash. The Sourdough Creek Campground would be a great place to camp and fish. We went down to the boat launch area and watched a couple of red salmon (5-7 pounds) be brought in by a lucky fisherman. I tired my luck with no joy. Next time I need to build more time into the schedule for fishing.

Near Paxson we checked out the BLM’s Paxson Lake Campground. It is a great facility with a large lake to fish and boat on. It also has a dump station. Rafting groups leave from here for 4 day trips down the Paxson River to the Sourdough Creek Campground.

We stopped at Paxson which basically consisted of the Paxson Roadhouse. We fueled with diesel ($5.599 per gallon – mileage for this fill-up 18mpg) and went inside for lunch.

No post office here – the mailman only comes on Tuesdays and Thursday, no Internet, and no laundry. Lunch however, was great and you can buy a shower here. People from a tour bus were eating and another bus came in while we were there. A very busy place. Once a year Paxson is the 3rd largest city in Alaska when the snow machine riders convene for their annual gathering.

Here we turned west onto the Denali Highway. We have 135 miles ahead of us of mostly gravel road. (a warm-up for the Dalton).

Great views of the Gulkana Glacier and in the distance the Wrangell-St.Elias peaks.

We drove to the Tangle Inn BLM Campground but there were too many people about (learned later tomorrow  was opening day for Caribou hunting  :^( so we backtracked a bit and just pulled off the road into an open area with a 180° view of the mountains and tundra.

This entire area was once covered in ice and the glaciers carved out the hills and lakes. Gravel is everywhere as is lichen, the main food for the caribou. Herds that took days to cross came through here and still do but in much smaller numbers.

We had a great camp, veggie stir fry and spent lots of time waiting to see a caribou.



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