Back to the Lower 48 – Day 6

Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Chicken to Eagle and back again!
Did you hear about Eagle, Alaska this spring? Right about when we were starting our trek north, we heard that the village of Eagle had been devastated by flooding caused by an ice damn. Eagle is on the Yukon River, about 8 miles from the Canadian Border (via the river anyway – it’s about 140 miles by road to the closest Canadian crossing), and it is at the end of the Taylor Highway. In some ways it’s like Chicken – no public utilities. But because it at one time had an Army Fort there – Fort Egbert , is home to the Yukon-Charley Rivers Natural Preserve and has river access (obviously!), it is a little more populated (115!). While most homes do not have private wells, there is a public well that they can get water from. Not piped to their homes, mind you. They need to come and get it. I think it’s still generators for electric and we saw a phone company building, so there must be some kind of phone service. From Chicken it’s about 100 miles. All of it dirt. Most of it winding. Some of it one lane. All of it spectacular. It was a long, bumpy drive, with some major scary parts for the passenger, but we were very glad we did it. Apart from the drive (which would have been worth doing in and of itself), seeing this community bouncing back from such wreckage was inspiring. It was hard to capture in pictures how much damage renegade ice and flooding can do to a community.
The Complete Set of Day 6 is HERE – but I thought you might enjoy this sampling….
Scenes from the drive –
BTL48-Day 6-7
BTL48-Day 6-8
Company on the road
BTL48-Day 6-4
BTL48-Day 6-12
BTL48-Day 6-15
The fireweed doing it’s part to rebuild the forest.
BTL48-Day 6-18
The Yukon River at Eagle – looking pretty peaceful now.
BTL48-Day 6-22
Just one of the homes moved from it’s foundation during the flood.
BTL48-Day 6-24
Need I say more about the utilities?

Day 6 – RV miles – 0, Truck miles – 200 dusty ones. No Flat Tires. And that’s a good thing (if not a miracle!).

3 thoughts on “Back to the Lower 48 – Day 6”

  1. This trip looks spectacular. I was wondering… is the fireweed called that because it makes the hills look like they are on fire when it is in bloom, or because it is one of the first things to reclaim the land after a forest fire? Or maybe both?
    And I was wondering… how does it feel to have so much wilderness around you? It looks like just miles and miles of no people. I’ve been thinking it must take a special kind of person to live in all that. Were there any side roads off of the 100 miles of dirt highway? And it must be impassable in the winter – no cool overhead poles for the plow to follow.
    Too much thinking for this rainy day in VT.

  2. About your wondering….:-)
    Fireweed (we have been told) was so named because it is one of the first plants to reclain the land after the forest fire.
    And about all this wilderness….yes, it is a little unsettling sometimes. Along the road to Eagle there were a few rustic mining sites, but other than that nuttin. And between the Canadian border and Dawson City – ditto. The road is unmaintained in the winter, which is why even the smallest communities (like Chicken) have an air strip. Eagle is totally cut off by road – and obviously the Yukon freezes over. That pretty much leaves your bush planes, dog sleds and snow machines. Folks that live in these hills are indeed a very special breed of person. Not to mention all the darkness that happens. I know I’m not up to it!

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