The campground is amazing. Susan said it compared to Switzerland but all I could think of was Wales which has nice mountains and is very wet. I remember a postcard from Wales that was divided in two, the first part showed sheep getting rained on and said “winter in Wales” and the other half showed the same sheep getting rained on and the title said “summer in Wales”. But it is not usually this wet. The ranger said the fast flowing creek we were walking by is usually dry this time of year. Then we get a bit of a dry spell, enough to set up the tent and go on a tundra hike. Batches of color are actually tiny plants, mushroom and lichens when we look close to the ground, but look up and there are towering peaks like something out of Lord Of The Rings. Life imitates art? The trip is definitely looking up. Susan prepares her fishing gear but there will not be any good opportunity today, we hear about some places down the road with a good reputation for fishing.
Our goal today is to get to Eagle Plains roughly the half way point. This is the first place that has fuel, food, and a campsite. The fuel ends up costing about $7.00 a gallon but there are no complaints as the nearest alternative is 229 miles back at the start of the Dempster. We eat a quick sandwich and press on as it is early (4 PM) and light. We pass the official crossing into the Arctic Circle and stop for pictures. We just inside the Yukon/Northwest Territories border at the Rock River campground. The campground is empty, not a single person or vehicle, official or tourist. We wonder why but we have a theory; this is a secret site for biological warfare where they raise mosquitoes. Never have I seen so many. And despite sprays, thick clothes and the foresight of Susan to buy and actually have accessible face nets we still get a bunch of bites setting up the tent. Its particularly frustrating as we are driving through vast panoramas with Arctic forrest as far as the eye can see and we are somewhat confined to our tent.
It is one of those times where the sun leaks through the clouds and it is warm enough for a T- shirt but as soon as it clouds over it is necessary to have more than one layer of sweaters. Nice signs here; one directs campers to put all gray water in the out houses as they do not want even a trace of food around the campsites. There are food storage boxes and hanging racks for backpackers’ backpacks. And there is a specific sign for hunters not to bring any dead game into the area. Sounds like we are in bear territory! There was a report of a Grizzly sow with two cubs at a campsite we passed. And its cold. When we break camp in the morning the Jeep thermometer indicates 35 degrees (F not C). This is summer?