Photos by David Raithby 

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In August of 2009, I attempted a long hard bicycle trip to promote the preservation of the Three Rivers Region of the northern Yukon and to bring appreciation to this beautiful landscape and the need for protection; however, Mother Nature had different ideas. Forest fires were burning throughout the Yukon and Alaska making breathing difficult. I had to change my plans after three days in. It now looks like 2014 before I will get back to finish this trip. For more information, please see my blog or newsletters.

The Dempster Highway is one long tough road. It is a 670 km stretch of gravel that runs between Dawson City in the Yukon Territory and Inuvik in the Northwest Territory. As far as remote hard bike touring in Canada, it would be difficult to top the Dempster.

This is not a ride in the park - especially on a bicycle. The Dempster Highway starts about 30 km from Dawson City. The road follows the north channel of the Klondike River heading up to an elevation of 4200 feet. The road travels along the Blackstone River and Ogilvie River for a while. Both of these rivers are on the Mackenzie watershed. The road then follows the Ogilvie River before turning north. It is over the Continental Divide and onto the Eagle Plains. It travels across the plains and over the Eagle River, in the Yukon River watershed, and up and over the Continental Divide for the third time and into the Northwest Territories. Vertical climbs of 1000s feet. Unpredictable weather . . . summer could be anything from dry hot to sleet to a ride in the snow. No pavement. Strong winds with little protection. Sounds like a good challenge.

The road crosses the continental divide 3 times so there are a whole lot of uphill! There is a hotel/gas station after 350 km of travel, villages of Fort McPherson on the Peel River and Tsiigehtchit on the Mackenzie River.

I also ride in support of a number of ventures and two specific charities. Please see the links and become involved through registration and financial support.


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