Lately I’ve been doing a lot of research into the geographical/route details of our trip. Our first challenge will be getting to Deadhorse, AK from Victoria, BC. How can we do this on a budget? Any suggestions? I’m secretly, well…. not so secretly hoping to hitch a ride from a long haul trucking company to the arctic circle.
Once we arrive in Deadhorse our first 10 – 12 days on the road will be spent cycling all 667 km of the Dalton highway (Alaska Route 11) parallel to the Alaska pipeline. This could prove to be very challenging. Not only do we have to carry enough food & water to last almost two weeks, but we can expect to endure cold wet weather, mud, bear encounters, while cycling up steep grades including the Atigun Pass an elevation 4,739 feet/1,444 meters.
While the first leg of our trip poses the challenges of a cold mountainous climate, once we head south we can look forward to cycling through arid deserts, dense jungles, and cold mountain passes up to 9000 ft.
While our first concern will be finding transportation to Deadhose, Prudhoe Bay, AK, another area where we might have to arrange for transportation is the Darien Gap, a large swath of undeveloped swampland and forest separating Panama in Central America, from Columbia in South America. 160 km long and 90 km wide, the terrain varies mountainous rain forest to dense swampland and is inhabited by the Embera-Wounaan and Kuna Indians. After viewing this video of Ian Hibell crossing the gap during his trip from Cape Horn to Alaska 1971- 1973, both Brian and I agreed that it might be best to find alternative transportation, bypassing the gap by either sailboat or plane.