This morning I’ll hop a plane to Juneau, then fly north to Fairbanks. My plan is to join my sister-in-law there. She’s moving the household to Washington D.C. I’ll serve as copilot and navigator for her drive down the Alaska/Canada (ALCAN) Highway to the Haines Highway, over the Chilkat Pass to Haines.
I’ve done the trip before, twice, in the late spring. This time will be very different. We’ve never crossed the pass in the winter, but we’ve heard a lot about it from others who have. Like any travel, it can be no problem at all, or deadly, depending on the circumstances and one’s preparedness. We intend to be prepared.
Last week I mailed a “care package” to myself in Fairbanks, containing all the things I normally carry at this time of year, useful tools that TSA agents would frown on should I try to carry them aboard the jet in Juneau: my pocket knife, a magnesium fire starter, some handwarmers, and a credit card size multi-tool I normally carry in the card slot of my Franklin Planner. As soon as I arrive at my sister’s house, I can return these things to their rightful places, ready at hand if needed.
We plan to take the trip slowly. We’ll leave Fairbanks on the morning of February 1st. We have hotel reservations in Beaver Creek, Yukon Territory. Traveling around 45 mph, we should arrive there in the afternoon. We intend to travel during daylight hours only. Oddly, we’ll probably have more daylight up north than we do in Haines, as they swing back toward the summer’s midnight sun.
The biggest issue will be crossing the pass, which sees severe winter conditions through much of the year, particularly now. It’s a well maintained highway, with better surfacing than the ALCAN by far, but it can be shut down with short notice due to winter hazards. We’ll have two big dogs with us, sleeping bags, and other survival gear, so we should be ready for whatever comes our way.
I’ve pre-scheduled posts for the time I expect to be gone, so if you enjoy reading this blog, no need to worry, there ought to be something new posted each day.