Days 21 and 22 Tundra….My Darling, I’m back!

Oh the Joy, the decadence, the gluttonous feeding of the ego to have the world to oneself…..



Mine Mine Mine



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Very old caribou antler



Looking down the ridge that we’re following


This area is called Eastern Beringia and From the Richardson mountains to the east, south to the coastal mountains, west to the Bering Sea and North to the Arctic Ocean (or more specifically the Beaufort Sea).


We followed the ridge from the bottom right corner up to the left and then over and beyond the furthest bump in the distance.  These ridges are part of the continental divide (dividing the Beaufort Sea watershed from the Bering Sea watershed).  These mountains are the most northerly extent in of the North American Rocky Mountains.  To be honest I’m still a little confused about the geography of this region.  The mountain shapes and the rocky outcrops and moraine were formed by both glaciation and the upheaval caused when the continental divide was formed.  I was always under the impression that moraine was caused by glaciers but some of what I read says that these moraines were actually caused by the grinding by think ice sheets rather than glaciers.  In any case, you can see the mounds of rocks in the video above.


Here you can easily see the up-lift

From, “The Dempster Highway Travelogue”:

 The Richardson Mountains are composed of dark shale and sandstone deposited

in a deep basin about 450 million years ago. The mountains form a narrow

line between north-trending faults. East-directed tectonic forces caused the

sedimentary rocks to buckle and uplift between these faults; a mountain range

formed during the last 50 million years. They are unique because, during the

last ice age, the climate here was too dry for glacial formation. The tip of the

Laurentide Ice Sheet was stopped by this mountain range, marking the eastern

edge of the unglaciated area.


At the end of this video we are looking back toward the campsite where we began two days of hikes.  You can see the white spec of the camper.


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Moss trying to trick me!  I’m seeing antlers in everything now!  I’m obsessed….


Antler Moss

Maybe this is a prehistoric mammoth skull!


I think this is weather worn quartz. It was a chunk about two feet in diameter. There were smaller smooth pieces near by.


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The scratchy sound you hear in the background are ground squirrels.  The girls had a very good time looking for them but never came close to finding one.  The bears also like to hunt for ground squirrels.  Here’s are area where one has been digging after them


Some plant life



Cloud Berries


They’re edible but I thought they tasted a bit bland and they were kind of creamy… which I didn’t like

I don’t know if the NWT locals do this but the Alaskans make ‘Eskimo Ice Cream’ out of berries. It’s made of Crisco, berries, sugar, and a “texturizer”, either boiled white fish or mashed potatoes.

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 You can see the crazy weather changing by the second.  But the Poodles don’t care… neither do I.

The dogs are looking a bit disheveled by now.  So do I, that’s why you never see pictures of me.  ha ha ha


Eureka’s Lyle Lovett impression



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Let’s play find the poodle again…..




Nickel says More More


But off we go to find our last night’s stay on the Dempster Highway……

Day 12 Wolves and the Arctic Circle

Wildlife Groupnot including domestics Number of species in Yukon
known as of September 2007
Amphibians (i.e. frogs and toads) 4
Fishes (not including salt water species) 36
Mammals (not including humans 66
Birds 227
Butterflies 92
Large Moths 286
Dragonflies 40
Spiders 300+
Insects total species 6,000+
Mosses 400+
Vascular Plants (i.e. not including mosses, liverworts, hornworts or algae) 1,242


Day 12 From Engineer Creek CG to Rock River CG


The first part of the day took us through twisted hilly areas of old burned Boreal forest

(In Alaska we called it Taiga forest)


miles muddy of road


and into a world unto itself




Our goal for the day:

From the beginning of the Arctic Circle to As Far As One Can Drive in Canada




Not quite Tundra yet


Even here you’ll find evidence of men marking their territory




As Nickel discovers Caribou remains (again)IMG_2860


Note where TinTin is looking …..


Wolves discover us 



Heading North we hit more rain which meant more mud.  This mud was a slick and oily substance that stuck to the car and made the traveling treacherous.  IMG_2880 IMG_2883

For about 30 miles it was like driving on black ice and slush that forced us to slow down to 10-20 miles an hour.




The driving was wearisome but once past it we had traveled over another pass and to drier terrain.   It was time for another break.

This hike took us out to the Tundra.  I am in love with hiking here.  It is abundant with plant life and if you take the time, bend down, and study you are welcomed into a miniature world of color and texture.

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By late afternoon we reached our goal of Rocky River Campground.  Apparently a routine has been established; we headed out to the river to have a look around.


Like Engineer Creek, this one was bathed in iron deposits making the rocks red.

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IMG_2993Our campsite was a lovely grassy spot nestled in a grove of poplar and birch.  Of course there were a few mushrooms to be found


Shaggy Manes… we’ll see more of these later!



The only other people in here was a mother and son.  He was about 8 yrs old and told me that his goal was to find a caribou antler.  I told him is was one of mine too….

Day 8 Continued… onto Moose Creek Territorial Park for the night

Believe it or not… we finally arrive at our campground destination!

but NO!  We’re not even close to being done for the day… remember?  the sun sets at around 10:30 now!


They don’t call it Moose Creek for Nothing….IMG_2378


There’s still some exploring to do and what better way to start than discovering more mushrooms…. yes! more mushrooms.

If anyone knows the names of any of these, I’d love to know.  The one below was called a Hawk Wing in a book at the Tombstone Ranger station.   I saw it called something else since then.  d


Hawks Wing I discovered later that these are edible… dang


oops, what’s that doing here?


Lichen and moss


another lichen and… yet another moss….


let’s see… pine cone, lichen, moss, mushroom and… puffball

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Strawberries and Cream. Yes, That’s really what they call it…

Yet another dung picture..  It was interesting because it’s the size of a cat poop but obviously most of it’s diet was full of chlorophyl.  Any ideas?



So out of the woods we hiked and into the river channel.






Through out this blog you might notice my predilection for walking through all types of terrain in my sox and sandals.  Although it is rather odd (ok, don’t say it), socks and sandals are the perfect way to travel when one has limited storage space and limited ability to dry articles of clothing.  Wool socks stay warm in the most frigid of water and they dry much more quickly that in insides of a boot.  My favorite socks for doing this are my merlon Icelandics from New Zealand.  Oh so comfy and durable!



I guess you can’t really tell that my socks are on….


The poodles had fun getting their feet wet and I had a chance to find some interesting animal prints.  I saw raccoon, beaver


and wolf



Well, all good things must come to an end


But sometimes that end is just the beginning for something even better!!

We finally settle down for a good bone chewing