The Dempster, Dawson to Tuktoyoktuk

What’s next for EndMS93? Since my Highway 16 adventure that has been the question everyone asks, what ride will you do next? I had completed ‘end to end’ trips of both Jasper Highways 93 and 16. I needed a new target. So I put it to the audience at the MS Society Connections Conference in Calgary last fall and received a lot of feedback. After reviewing the suggestions, a few stood out as likely candidates for a Fat Bike adventure. After hours of consideration and research – the winner is “The Dempster Highway” The most northern Highway on Canada and the only all-weather road to cross the Arctic Circle. Sounds like fun! The Dempster, also referred to as Yukon Highway 5 and Northwest Territories Highway 8, connects the Klondike Highway in Yukon to Inuvik, Northwest Territories on the Mackenzie River delta. During the winter months, the highway extends another 194 km to Tuktoyaktuk, using frozen portions of the Mackenzie River delta as an ice road (the Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road). The highway crosses the Peel River and the Mackenzie Rivers using a combination of seasonal ferry service and ice bridges. The highway begins about 40 km east of Dawson City, Yukon on the Klondike Highway and extends 736 km to Inuvik, NT. The Dempster Highway is Canada’s only all-weather road to cross the Arctic Circle It was officially opened in 1979. It was unveiled as a two-lane, gravel-surfaced, all-weather highway that runs from Klondike Corner to Fort McPherson, Tsiigehtchic and Inuvik in the Northwest Territories. The design of the highway is unique, because it sits on top of a gravel berm to insulate the permafrost in the soil underneath. The thickness of the gravel pad ranges from 1.2 m up to 2.4 m in some places. Without the pad, the permafrost would thaw and the road would sink into the ground. Much of the highway follows an old dog sled trail and the highway gets its name from Royal Canadian Mounted Police Inspector William John Duncan Dempster, who, as a young constable, frequently ran this dog sled trail from Dawson City to Fort McPherson NT. Inspector Dempster and two other constables were sent out on a rescue patrol in March 1911, to find Inspector Francis Joseph Fitzgerald and his team of three men, who never made it to Dawson City. They had become lost on the trail, and subsequently died of exposure and starvation. Dempster and his men found the bodies on March 22, 1911 Source: Wikipedia Stay tuned folks!

I start my adventure from the Dawson City Fire hall in March 2015, follow the blog posts.