Tombstone Park to Eagle Plains
This morning we decided to leave our lovely dry and quiet campground spot to venture farther North. Eagle Plains is 214 miles from here and the Arctic Circle is about 20 miles from there.
The views looking toward the Tombstone and Klondike Valleys are amazing. What a beautiful place.
Heading North is the area that is known as East Beringia. It is the Eastern most edge of the Bering Land Bridge that stretched across The Yukon in Canada, Northern Alaska, and Siberia. This section of the world was unglaciated during the last ice age and was the only refuge for our human ancestors to escape the ice age. This was home to the Wooly Mammoth, The Scimitar Cat, and many other species of mammals, insects, and birds. This was their Noah’s Arc. This valley below is the place where they came across as they made their way across Northern Alaska.
After 5 hours of driving we came across the self billed “oasis in the wilderness”. Or so they want you to believe. We passed the point of no return about 2 hours ago. Yes it was wonderful to come across this little collection of buildings with a gas pump. Yes, one pump for gasoline. The old fashioned kind with an old man pumping so he can keep track of what you actually owe. Unfortunately, this little oasis is also a mosquito ridden “campground”. $20US for a spot in a gravel parking lot that is surrounded by wilderness. Wet swampy wilderness with hungry Arctic sized mosquitoes. Very little privacy. Of course it was pouring rain when we arrived.
Eagle Plains Lodge is a strange little place. Only 8 permanent residents year round plus Lilah the Malemute dog. They offer motel rooms for about $150US. These are tiny little rooms with nothing but a bed and a bathroom. I would have paid maybe $50 for a night. We opted for a piece of campground to park The Beast. It came with a picnic table.
We thought that we’d check out the “lodge” part of this place while we waited for the rain to subside. A little dining area with truck-stop quality food including a delicious beef vegetable soup. The best part was the bar area. It was originally built in Whitehorse decades ago and then moved to Eagle Plains after it was lost in a card game. At any rate, I came to discover why they call it a lodge. It’s a bar with the theme of a hunting lodge. Including all manner of dead animals mounted on the walls, ceiling, and on display on the floor. I swear that they were all staring at me. That feeling intensified after the second glass of cheap white wine.
There’s a helipad—okay it’s a windsock with space to land around it-that appears to be used by a local helicopter service. This is a big caribou and bear hunting area. Our fellow campers and motel guests are from varying nationalities and are here for either sightseeing like us, or for fishing. You know. The usual collection of crazy people who decided to vacation in the Arctic Tundra instead of Hawaii. Nothing to see here people. Keep moving.
It’s 11pm and time to get some sleep. Who knows what tomorrow might bring and I need my beauty rest.