It was a cold morning when I cycled on from the Arctic Circle on the Dalton Highway. There was a steep decline and in the distance I could see the road climbing steeply again. I filled my water bottles at Fish Creek, a clear water stream,cold and fresh. That’s where I saw the Boreal owl. He looked towards me with quite an annoyed expression as if I had just trespassed.
Feeling better after having loaded 3 litres of water I pedalled few kms ahead, till I came to Beaver Slide, the steepest hill ever! It had a 15% gradient and seemed to go up the hill vertically. I braced myself and pushed the bike up stoically. After an hour of pushing, shoving and hard sweating, I reached the top of the hill, a mere 2 kms.
There was always breathtaking scenery that became a balm for the aching legs and body. It had begun to fill my soul and my spirit and I gained strength from it.
I cycled on these roads for two days, along paved to gravel to a mud road for the last 40 kms to the Yukon river. Thankfully the water from the previous days rains had soaked in and dried and I did not need to deal with a swampy road. Instead it had became like a hard mud cake. I reached the ” hot spot cafe” 5 kms short of the river and chose to stay here. I was hungry and the small cafe was serving hamburgers and ice creams and coffee! It’s here that I met Taka a Japanese cyclist who was making his way to Deadhorse. He turned out to be nice guy and had just climbed mt Denali. He also planned to climb mt Logan in Canada!
The following day I made my way to the Yukon river camp where I had my breakfast.
The next 250 kms were filled with gorgeous landscapes, arduous and long climbs and thrilling descents. I was caught up in a day long deluge of rain which forced me to stay in my tent for more than 24 hours. Finally after much delay, just when I thought I would cycle on, my rain jacket zipper broke. At this point I was forced to consider taking a ride to Fairbanks for the remaining distance as it was still raining and quite cold. But with the dalton highway ride under my belt or should I say saddle, I felt proud and accomplished! I had just been the first indian to cycle the highway and complete the epic journey.