Monday, September 10, 2012

And the weather turns colder...

The weather as we travel has been getting steadily colder as we got farther north, but it seemed to get no colder than the 40s, and the temperature would always get back up into the 60s if not warmer. Sunday morning as we drove along the remaining bit of the Denali Highway, we saw a low flying, fast moving cloud. Underneath there seemed to be precipitation, but it didn’t glisten so we began to think it was just dust being kicked up by the wind. As we passed through it though, we realized that it was a small “snow storm.” It seemed be generated by the mountain (which was already coated in snow) to the north of the little valley, and it just so happened that the wind carried down the valley. It wasn’t very wide, only about a football field’s length, but it was our first snowstorm on our trip, most likely the first snowfall on the “lower” elevations (the mountains had steadily been getting more snow on them as the days went by). The sun was shining and it wasn’t too cold, either.

The hazy area is the snow fall.

Sadly, I was a bit under the weather that day. There was great scenery, but I was tired, neck and throat sore, and a bit congested. You can tell my mood by the fact that I only took 2 pictures that day; I normally take 25-40. We finally did get off the bumpy Denali Highway onto some paved highways that weren’t too much better. Lack of maintenance leading to potholes and frost heaves and miles and miles of road construction were a quite a bit better than the unpaved/unmaintained Denali Highway, but still a bit treacherous for our van’s suspension. We suspect we will have to replace the remaining parts of the suspension when we get to the states. Turning onto the Alaskan Highway again, we got all the way to within 30 miles of the border at Tetlin Wildlife Refuge before we decided to camp for the night.

This morning when we awoke, we discovered that it was snowing! It was only a soft, light fall, though. And, with the ground still so warm, it wasn’t accumulating where we were at. We soon found that it was snowing along the road to Canada, though.  We soon saw a vehicle or two that were covered with snow. Later, we realized that Canada had gotten a lot more snow, but the vehicle we saw must have overnighted in the elements. The roads were clear, and the snow didn’t look as if it would last long, though. It did create some very pretty views, though.

Later in the day, it was warm enough to melt off the snow after a certain elevation. We will probably be flirting with snow all the way back. Fortunately, the roads are staying clear and Jonathan is experienced driving in snow.

I did see two grizzly bears today! The first seemed to be rather young, not young enough to be with his mother, but not huge yet either. It looked like he had just crossed the road by Destruction Bay and was heading towards Kluane Lake. The other was simply walking down an unpaved road that we were considering driving down to find a camping spot. We decided that we would let the bear have that one. Maybe the snow drove the bears to start moving? It was exciting to see them, though. Unfortunately, both times were driving too quickly to get pictures.

1 comment:

  1. i read "The other was simply walking down an unpaved road..." and immediately pictured him just strolling along on his two hind legs... but i'm pretty sure that was not the case. :/