I woke up around 9:30am and looked out the window at some clouds and rain in the mountains so I decided to sleep in and woke up a few hours later. I started out just as a light sprinkle was dissipating. I ended up shedding most of my warm weather stuff I’d put on even through it was considerably cooler than yesterday. My body heat from pedaling was keeping me warm enough. Now it was time to conquer the steepest part of the Brooks Range leading to Atigun Pass. At the foot of my first big climb, a car stopped and a couple got out to chat. Hugh Richards was nice enough to offer me access to his computer when I got into Fairbanks. He snapped a photo of me against the steep incline and I said farewell.
Slowly I climbed. A few times I nervously dodged huge semi-trucks barreling down the pass. There was one big climb and then another shorter steep climb. I took a break in between the two and ate my last Clif Bar before pedaling my way to mile marker 245 – YES! I made it!
It was such a thrill to be on top of that pass (4,800 ft). I snapped a couple photos to remember the feat and cruised down the other side of the pass. Not a mile down the other side and I spot a Dall’s Sheep standing in the road! I was very excited for this close up and tried to sneak up on it with camera in hand. I got a few good pics but it got startled and ran back up the mountain. I saw a few others up a little higher and got some pics of them too.
As I cruised South of the Brooks Range, I was faced with an abundance of beauty and wonderful photo opportunities. I kept thinking of how much all my friends and family would enjoy this and how glad I was to be on this adventure.
Later in the day, I was stopped by a volunteer photographer for BLM (Bureau of Land Management) named Dennis Green. He took some action shots of me on the bike. We chatted for a while about the scenery and his job and then he took off.
I did 68 miles today and biked until about 2am. During the last few miles I was thinking about how not only can you find this outstanding beauty throughout Alaska in the summer, but you can also enjoy it at 2am! Amazing. I ended up making it to Wiseman and pitched my tent amongst the mosquitoes near the post office that closed almost 50 years ago. (68 miles)
Picture: About to head up the steepest parts of Atigun Pass in the Brooks Range.