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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Kind Kind of People One Meets on the Trail

Written in Room 211 at Skarland Hall, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Mile 0 Marker, Dawson Creek, B.C.
The Alaska Highway is a road through the wilderness of British Columbia, Yukon Territory, and eastern Alaska. Over 1400 miles in length from Dawson Creek, B.C. to Fairbanks, AK, it was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in eight months back in 1942, after the Japanese had invaded two islands (Attu and Kiska) in Alaska's Aleutian Chain.  Fearing their using those islands as bases from which to close the sea lanes by which our Alaskan cities and military bases were supplied, the American government put high priority on carving this road.  The Japanese war effort had thus far been invincible.  The defense of Alaska was crucial to preventing the Japanese from gaining a foothold in North America.
Today, driving the Alaska Highway is still a legendary adventure.  It is largely straight and flat, across wooded plains and slow rivers.  But it also crosses the Northern Rockies of British Columbia, some mountains that offer views to rival those of Glacier National Park, several hundreds of miles to the south.

In the Northern Rocky Mountains, B.C.
So let this post serve as an introduction to the environment through which I have ridden with the noble Rocinante for the past seven days.  And in that environment, we have shared many meetings with fellow travelers, and with local wilderness dwellers.  And they have been consistently kind to us.  My next few posts should come soon, in rapid succession, as I devote a day here at the University to telling of the kind kind of people one meets along this trail.
The Alaska Highway skirts many lakes.  The fishing is said to be excellent.

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