The Dempster
Our objective was to drive the Dempster to the Arctic Circle to see the fall colors. Our day in Dawson we drove up the
Dempster the first 50 miles and back. The most interesting thing we saw that day was a family of 14 Ptarmagin. These birds
are brown in summer and white in winter. They were beginning to expose their white feathers now that snowy weather was
near.
Going up the Dempster the next day, the highway was very wet. This was one of the better spots. When the mud got deep,
we dared not stop to take pictures.
It was 225 miles of gravel road to our destination, Eagle Plains, the only place to get gasoline and lodging on the 450 mile
highway to Inuvik. The last hour into Eagle Plains the forest was burned by a forest fire.
The Arctic Circle is about an hours drive (or twenty five miles) north of Eagle Plains. We would spend four nights and three
full days at Eagle Plains, driving above the Arctic Circle each day looking for wildlife.
The best part of our three full days above the Arctic Circle was seeing the grizzly bears. These grizzly bears are mostly
vegetarians. Some were very shy and ran at the first hint of our presence and others mostly ignored us. The grizzlies could
be readily seen one moment and then disappear into brush or trees the next.
Mostly the grizzly bears kept their heads down eating constantly in preparation for hybernation.
Since we have been to Inuvik three times, twice up the Dempster, we did not care about going much beyond the Arctic
Circle. We never quite made it to the border with the Northwest Territories as the road would start to get muddier as we got
closer to the NWT.