Friday, July 31, 2009

Yukon Trip 2009 - Day 19 Part 3 - lower Dempster

After lunch on June 10th the aim was to get through the Ogilvie Mountains, and back to the Blackstone Uplands, the next area of tundra....

The roadside wildflowers continued to that Northern Hedysarum that had been so spectacular along the highway further south on our way north, was now in full flower....

Rock gardens on the hillsides were in full bloom......

We've seen this Northern Blue bells before, but not this far north and these were remarkable for the depth of the blue color - we've noticed that the further north you go - the more intense a lot of flower colours are.

A closer view of the Northern Bluebells.......

Different Vetches started to show up as well, including this pale pink one.

The Milepost states that Angle-Comb Peak or 'Sheep' mountain, is a lambing and nursery habitat for Dall Sheep....and sure enough...just across the creek that was running along side the highway, we spotted this small herd of ewes and this year's young.

Minerals seemed to be the main goal here as they kept licking the bottom of this fallen tree root.

Dall sheep - we'd obviously been spotted, but they were just curious, not scared....we got out and stood on the side of the highway to get these pictures.

and a final look at the Dall Sheep

We reached this area, just before North Fork Pass, right about supper time, since there is lots of room and lots of places to park in this area, we pulled in and decided to make supper. I thought it would be an ideal spot to spend the night....figuring it was so dry and arid that the bugs probably wouldn't be much of a problem.......

It may be one of the most arid and barren areas along the route....but there were still flowers.....

This little guy is 'Ogilvie Draba'

and here is some more of that Northern Hedysarum - maybe I should just call it Wild Sweet Pea, that seems to be one of it's common names.....I could remember how to spell that!

and some more Mountain Avens and even a bit of Loco Weed.

This tiny 'shrub' is Bearberry. I don't know if those are last year's berries or not. Apparently it flowers really early, as soon as the snow melts off it, so with the 24 hour 'greenhouse' effect it is feasible that these were this years crop.

Ernie didn't share my enthusiasm for spending the night. He wanted to get back to 'tundra' so after supper, we hit the road again. Had just started when we spotted this Dall Sheep up on the rock face.

Through the pass and now the roadside was lines with more of that Arctic Arnica - I keep saying this, but there had been absolutely no sign of this flower on our way north....we were continually amazed at how quickly things grew, flowered, and then disappeared because there was no sign of the flowers that had been out when we were here before.

This, another view of the Alpine Arnica....this one looking south, the way we were heading.

and finally, back to the tundra.......I wonder just how long that ice stays there? Does it ever completely go away? Guess we'll have to back and find out!

and here is yet another variety of the vetch or loco weed family.

We hadn't noticed this monument on our way north and can't find it mentioned in the Milepost.....

take a moment to enlarge (click on picture, click back to return to blog) and read this.....pretty remarkable!

and his wife - of 81 years no less!

Back on the tundra and the weather is definitely about to do something!

We pulled into this spot off of the highway and decided it looked like a good spot to spend the night. Obviously, normally, you can drive much further, but we thought maybe we'd at least see a Moose......

By 8 pm we were hearing thunder, it was 19 degrees and raining....which was fine as there were too many bugs to be outside anyway.
Campground fee: nil Total distance traveled to date: 4,097 Km.

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