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The Alaska Highway has become The Great Frontier's road to adventure

Once a dangerous undertaking, it's now a personal experience filled with wildlife wonders and breathtaking beauty
BY GARY GIUDICE, For The Oklahoman Modified: December 22, 2012 at 10:34 pm •  Published: December 22, 2012

It ‘s sort of a roller coaster effect that the construction folks are constantly dealing with so construction zones will go on for miles. Care is suggested driving in the zones. But still, it is one unbelievable highway in some of the harshest environmental conditions on the planet.

At times wildlife seemed plentiful and at others almost none existent. We went through three of the four North American wild sheep habitats and saw all three; Dall sheep to the north, Big Horns to the south with Stones in the middle.

It was a big deal to me, lesser to Thressa and Deke could've cared less.

We saw lots of caribou and a few moose and bear. Wood buffalo were plentiful and elk in the southern parts of the journey seemed common.

We would stop in small towns and villages for gas or supplies and just to meet people. I remember going into very small sporting goods store, talking to the older gentleman that ran the place about his various products. I also asked him about the buffalo I was seeing.

“Sir,” I said, “I see these Wood buffalo around and I really can't tell. Are they larger or smaller than a normal buffalo?” referring to the plains buffalo back here in Oklahoma.

“Sir,” he said with a frown, “a Wood buffalo is a normal buffalo.” I never learned about the buffalo but I felt small.

Perhaps Aldo Leopold, or David Thoreau or John Muir could have more properly put into words the sights of our journey. Perhaps they could have aptly described the man in the sporting goods store or the beautiful animals along the fabled highway.

Neither Thressa nor I can do them proper justice and we're OK with that, because all these things along our 9,200-mile journey are burned into our memories.

And maybe, just maybe, this trip along the Alaska Highway did alter our personalities just a little.

We know the only true way to fully appreciate the adventure of the Alaska Highway is from personal experience. Load up, buckle in and drive it.

And we now know it's not all that hard for anyone to check off their bucket list.

Did you know?

*The Alaskan Highway was built during World War II to connect the contiguous United States with Alaska through Canada. It was opened to the public in 1948.

*The 1,400-mile road begins at the junction of several Canadian highways in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and runs to Delta Junction, Alaska, via Whitehorse, Yukon.

*The road is now paved but once was considered treacherous to travel.


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