We have Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, (which I haven’t seen) Eagle Plains, and now just Eagle. Eagle Plains was the halfway point on the Dempster Eagle is at the end of the Taylor Hwy (AK 5). We left our trailer at the campsite in Walker Fork BLM Campground, she wanted a break from the rough roads. The Taylor Hwy runs from Tok AK to Eagle AK it’s 160 miles of dirt. (I see a theme developing here too) .
I was impressed with the road even though it was all gravel it was in good condition. The views from the road were expansive, so much so that we were able to see the Ogilvie Mountains that we drove through when we were on the Dempster. When the signs say road narrows it does. In fact in a couple of spots it is one lane. No worries you can see for miles and the dust cloud warns you that someone is coming. We only had to pull over once to let someone go by that was coming towards us. We drove over a earthquake fault you could not see but you could tell the difference in landscapes. It’s 78 miles from the campsite to Eagle we did it in a whopping 3 hours getting there and 2 1/2 hours coming home. (the extra time was stopping to take pictures I have been working on framing my landscapes). I did mention the views didn’t I. 🙂 Side note still no animals (unless you count the dog Roy saw) hopefully Yellowknife will be beyond our expectations.
Just before town we see a gas station even though we didn’t need a lot of gas thought we would give the locals some support plus the gas pumps were vintage 1955. They still worked and he even pumped the gas for us. $50.00 netted us 11 gallons $4.49 a gallon not bad for the middle of nowhere. In town it was $4.69 a gallon and we would have had to pump it ourselves. It was also cool to sit and chat with him about the local color. When asked how many stay for the winter; he said, ‘there are 78 diehards and 2 freeloaders from California.’ He was definitely outspoken. In small rural backwoods this can still be done. We wanted to continue onto town and see the end of the road. It dumps right into the Yukon River, in 2009 there was a flood that wiped out at least three city blocks. They have recovered but not all the shops came back.
Shopping! Yes, I did another t-shirt and then some caribou antler earrings and a caribou antler key chain is coming home with me. The only gift store that had anything was Yukon Ron’s, http://www.yukonron.com almost didn’t stop because it said jewelry, gold, and silver. I am so glad I stopped because it was a cute shop that also had t-shirts, she starting doing these last year because the store that had carried t-shirts and hats was wiped out by the flood of 09 and no one picked up the torch.
I hope I get this part of the story right. Mary and her husband used to make jewelry in the lower 48, when they decided to move got rid of most if not all of the tools of the trade. So fast forward a few years after they move up to Eagle in 1980. They decided let’s open a jewelry store. (sounds like something Roy and I would do) As she said who would have thunk. Her husband designs all of the jewelry and does drawings. In fact he did the design for the t-shirts, postcards, even some of the artwork on the wall. One of the pieces I thought was a gemstone turned out to be a tiny shell and stone from the local area. They also use gold and silver from the area, along with the caribou and moose antlers. The build was a perfect fit for the store (a small log cabin). I enjoyed chatting with Mary she said she loves to see tourists come and here their stories. Just as I was getting ready to go Nathan walked in a semi local. I say semi because he left, came back and now comes and goes. As a pilot I asked if he had a plane at the airport in town. (Yes, Eagle has one) Nope, his is in Fairbanks, because he had to fix his 82 year old dad’s plane. It pays to have a mechanic in the family as we all laughed. I hated to leave but I knew I was a third wheel so down the road we head.
The town itself is quaint and cute. The town supports a phone company, courthouse, hotel, and even their own mosquito abatement department. For those of you who don’t know some birds love eating mosquitoes those all the bird houses in the picture.
There is an old military complex called Fort Egbert https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Egbert
On the way back to the campground I finally found out where forks were discovered Discovery Fork Creek. Wet humor I know. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but it is interesting how the same road can be different depending which direction you are going in. The road to Eagle was like this, I think it had to do with the edges of the road. I was more comfortable on the way out to Eagle because the dropoffs were on Roy’s side of the car. Nathan from the gift store agrees. This drive maybe off the beaten path but I would have to say it is a off beat path that is worth taking.