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  • Day20

    The Dalton Highway

    June 4, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 63 °F

    There are only 3 roads in the world that cross the Arctic Circle and the Dalton Highway is one of them. The Dalton Highway is a 414-mile road. It begins at the Elliott Highway, north of Fairbanks, and ends at Deadhorse near the Arctic Ocean and the Prudhoe Bay Oil Fields. Once called the North Slope Haul Road (a name by which it is still sometimes known), was built as a supply road to support the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System in 1974. The highway, which runs parallel with the pipeline, is one of the most isolated roads in the United States. There are only three towns along the route: Coldfoot at Mile 175, Wiseman at Mile 188 and Deadhorse. Fuel is available at the Yukon River Bridge (Mile 56), as well as Coldfoot and Deadhorse. The road itself is mostly gravel or packed dirt and very primitive in places. The nearest medical facilities are in Fairbanks and Deadhorse. Anyone embarking on a journey on the Dalton is encouraged to bring survival gear - in fact our guide was trained in survival methods, carries a first aid kit, food and a satellite phone for emergencies. Our van also had a CB radio which she used to inform truckers at certain locations that we were on the road or pulling back on the road from a pullover area. The truckers travel fast and don't move for oncoming cars and there are no shoulders. Truckers that travel the highway have given their own names to its various features, including: The Taps, The Shelf, The Bluffs, Oil Spill hill, Beaver Slide, Two and a Half Mile, Oh Shit Corner and the Roller Coaster. The road reaches its highest elevation as it crosses the Brooks Range at Atigun Pass, 4,739 feet (which we saw in the plane). We traveled through Beaver Slide, Oh Shit Corner and the Roller Coaster. They are doing some 'repairs' (putting more dirt on the road and smoothing it - somewhat!). It took us nearly 10 hours (with some stops along the way) to travel the Dalton Highway.Read more