Arctic Circle

When the Alaska oil pipeline was built a road was constructed by the state to move men and equipment north from Fairbanks to the oil fields at Prudhoe Bay. As a condition of building the road, the state required that public access be allowed over the southern portion of the length. This didn't make the oil companies very happy because they didn't want their trucks being slowed down by RVs, but they didn't have much say in the matter and today you can drive this road, known as the Dalton Highway, well north of the Arctic Circle. It's one of two roads in North America where you can do that, the other being the Dempster Highway in the Yukon Territory, Canada.

I chose to drive this highway to the Arctic Circle, about 100 miles north of Fairbanks. I did this mostly to be able to say I'd done it as there is little other reason to visit this remote and isolated area which has no fuel services for tourists and only a cafe and trucker motel where the road crosses the Yukon River.

The road crosses the circle in Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land and to commemorate the event the BLM has kindly put up a sign and bulldozed a couple of camping spots in the tundra but provides no other services.

As you can see, the Alaskan interior is surprisingly mild even this far north, unlike the southern coast which borders the frigid Gulf of Alaska and is ringed by mountains covered by icy glaciers.

I spent the night here and a remarkable night it was. Although I was not here at the summer solstice (it was late July), the sun never truly set providing an eternal "sunset" that lasted the entire night. A very memorable night, indeed.