Thursday, October 24, 2013

Day 18 - Finger Mountain

This post is a continuation of my Alaska trip in 2012 for anyone reading my blog for the first time.

We left the Yukon River Camp and continued north fighting a little rain and the worsening condition of the road.  The clouds kept getting darker but the rain stayed away and we were able to maintain a reasonable speed in the slippery road. At 70 mph I could feel my rear tire fighting for grip on the wet spots, the traction control light would occasionally flash at me as if to warn me to slow down, definitely made for an interesting journey.

A few miles down the road we came upon the spot I had seen in pictures posted by so many other adventurers going north on this road.  It is also famous on the "Ice Road Truckers" show because the big trucks have to gain speed in the snow if they want to make it up the other side of the hill.  It's hard to imagine how far the other side is until you see a motorcycle go down the hill and disappear momentarily and then appear on the other side going up.

I sent Dave ahead while I took pictures of him riding downhill into the distance, briefly disappearing and then appearing on the other side already going up the hill.  I waited until he had reached the top on the other side before I continued. You can see the camper disappear briefly at the bottom on the animated GIF.

Dave and the camper briefly disappeared but I don't have a picture.  It's pretty deep at the bottom of the hill and I can imagine the difficulty for the trucks to make it up the hill when there's snow and ice on the road.

We ran into the occasional rain shower but nothing that would slow us down, we were both wearing our rainproof jackets and pants, worrying about the slippery road was my only concern.  A little later I found a spot where I could park the bike near the pipeline and off the road, we took the opportunity to rest, have a snack and rehydrate.  I almost caught 180 degrees view of the road on the picture below.

The road is pretty much the same, it can be a little monotonous at times, but I had a destination and determination to get there so I continue to plod along.   The light brown dirt is the worse when wet, I rode for miles and miles standing up, makes it easier to feel the bike and let it move under you.  The darker brown  dirt didn't feel as bad, it was still messy and slippery.

Not sure why there was a road here but it crossed the Dalton Highway, I took a little detour to investigate but it just kept going, I turned around after a while and came back to the Dalton.

We move on and a little later the road becomes paved.  We pick up speed and are able to quickly cover some miles.  At around mile 95 on the Dalton you come upon a very rocky area, the ground all around us was made of granite rocks.  A few miles later we stop at the Finger Mountain visitor area.

Finger Mountain is a topographical formation in interior Alaska. Not actually a mountain, it is a wide broad hill, with an altitude of around 1312 ft. It is named for Finger Rock, a distinctive granite protrusion on its surface. Finger Mountain Wayside is a partially maintained pullout along the Dalton Highway at mile 97.5. It features informational signs and some facilities for travelers. Wiki
We park the bikes and head for the granite rocks.  The place is well maintained  and there's restrooms.

The view towards the south

The view towards the north and the road we still had to cover.

While we were exploring the area we saw two other riders heading north but they never pulled in to the rest area.  They stopped their bikes, looked around and then continued.  I never understood why people do not want to see things and explore.  I think I would be a great explorer, I always want to go off the beaten path.

The landscape is really amazing, I climbed to the top of the rock and this was the view from the top.  See these full screen for best effect.

I'm like a cat, I had to climb to the top to get a better view.  Once up there I had a big smile on my face, poor Dave had to endure taking pictures but I did the same for him.  It's not everyday you get to this point, might as well enjoy it and capture the moment.

Time to get back on the road and continued north, we still had a while to go before making it to the halfway point in the town of Coldfoot where we planned to have lunch.

To be continued


  1. Looks like you had some slippery roads. Is it from rain or the water trucks that DOT like to run up and down the road supposedly to keep down the dust.

    I didn't explore too much at the Finger Rock turnout as the Arctic Circle turnout wasn't too much farther.

    Very nice photo.

    1. Richard, it was all from rain. It was Sunday when we went up, there was no one working on the roads. The good thing is that it was sporadic and not continuous with sun in between. Yea, the Arctic Circle stop is just up the road.

  2. Glad you are continuing your write up of the adventure. The pictures always make me want to ride up there.

    That mud/wet red dirt doesn't look like much fun though. But worth it for the scenery.

    1. Thanks Trobairitz, I will finish,can't say when but I will continue and finish. Are you on Google+?
      I know you on Facebook.