Rob and Syd's Western Canada and Alaska trip 2012 travel blog

The Alaska Mountain Range west of Tok

When you gotta go :)

Caribou on the airstrip at Chicken

Welcome to the Community of Chicken (pop 67)

Taylor Highway north of Chicken (dirt/gravel for 60 miles)

No Moose but lots of his stuff

Chicken, Alaska landmark

Day 31, Friday, May 25, 2012

Today we drove north from Tok on the Taylor Highway which runs through Chicken, has a side road up to Eagle, and then across the Canadian border to Dawson City. The first 64 miles are paved and then it is dirt and gravel another 120 miles to Dawson City and I think beyond that too. Much of the area was burned by wildfires in 2004 (about 1.3 million acres). That year was the largest fire season in recorded history in Alaska. About 6.4 million acres burned across the state in that one year alone. The weather was clear today, instead of the rain they said was coming. The views overlooked river valleys and mountain ranges and the snow covered Alaska Range in the distance. We saw a small group of caribou on the little airstrip coming into town. That must be interesting when you are coming in for a landing. Chicken is an interesting place. Supposedly there is a population of 6 in the winter that swells to 23 in the summer. The “town” is actually composed of three separate businesses. “Downtown Chicken” is a store, saloon, and café run by a woman named Susan. The Chicken Gold Camp and Outpost is an RV park, cabins, gift shop, and gold panning operation run by a couple named the Busbys. Another guy runs the Chicken Creek RV Park and gas station. They are all very different. There is a big (and I mean big) metal chicken out in the grass and remnants of an old floating dredge they used for gold mining. Chicken was named by miners in 1886 who actually wanted to name the place Ptarmigan (which is the state bird) but they couldn’t spell it so they settled for the slang term for ptarmigan, which is chicken. We actually saw one run across the road in front of us too. We continued on for a little while but it was too far to go all the way to Eagle today. They call this road the goat trail. It is very narrow with hairpin turns and winds along the side of the mountain like a shelf. There are no guard rails and thousand foot drops into the Fortymile River if you go off the edge. This river is flowing fast. We will not be taking the bus over this route. We pulled over in a campground along the river and took a little walk to stretch out. We passed a lot of moose poop but still no moose.

Tonight, we went to a musical show in our campground. A 17 year old girl and her 16 year old brother do a show here every night. Tonight was their first show of the season. She plays the fiddle and he plays the banjo and guitar and does most of the singing. In between they talk about coming to Alaska on vacations and then finally moving here a couple years ago and their experiences here in Alaska. They were very cute and not too bad. Tomorrow, I believe we are heading to Fairbanks.

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