Despite the fact that it is arid and the icy winds are never far away, the place is bustling with life. We see an Arctic fox, musk oxes and a lot of caribou. This makes the cold a bit more enjoyable to cycle.
The polar fox was fantastic to see. With his coat as white as snow, he crossed the road in front of us and curiously looked at us. The caribou - or reindeer - are worth stopping for. It is beautiful to see how gracefully they trot across the tundra. I like seeing animals for the first time in real life. Like us, they enjoy the first rays of sunshine on the tundra.
Those cycling the Dalton Highway must cross the Brooks Range. This goes via the Atigun Pass, this was the first real test and man, it was tough. Snow, freezing wind and a road that goes steeply uphill. I have to push the bike a long way up. With tears in my eyes I arrive at the top broken. Never again, I think to myself. It will undoubtedly go better when I have lost my Covid kilos!
When I weighed myself before departure the scale indicated 190 pounds. To be honest, for someone of my height (5.5 feet) this is too much. The last few weeks I indulged in fries, pizza, restaurant visits and way too many soft drinks. Building up spare and enjoying the good life was the idea. It was fun and tasty, for sure! Dragging all that spare weight with me up the hills is less fun.
The first tree, another world
After the descent, we are in another world. No more dry and icy landscape, it has turned into a green and living landscape. After 4 days we see our first tree and out of nowhere the flanks of the surrounding mountains are full. This is cycling through one big postcard. It feels like dreaming with your eyes wide open. But then you see fresh bear tracks on the road and suddenly you're awake pretty quickly. Rivers fed by meltwater on both sides of the road, mountains in the background and the only sign of civilization: the Dalton Highway quietly working its way through all this beautiful natural scenery, ... This is how I had imagined it back home. I regularly have to remind myself that we really are in Alaska. Two little Belgians in this huge wilderness.