Sue North

From one adventure to the next ...

Our last days on the Dempster Highway

After a busy few days of hiking our way down the Dempster, our legs were ready for a break. And what better way to rest than fishing? The Ogilvie River was not cooperating with us, so we continued south towards Blackstone River which we’d previously camped and fished on before parting ways with Derek and Jeni. We discovered another beautiful campsite on the river, a ways from the highway at approximately km 98. Two other parties had also set up camp here, but there were plenty of spots right on the rivers edge. We went to bed really early that night and rose rather late, almost fully recuperated from our hikes.

 

Paul eagerly set out with his hip waders that morning to scout the fishing for us, but returned with dire reports. It seemed the high water levels were continuing to affect us! We packed up camp and continued south on the Dempster, stopping at any spots that looked fishable. We really wanted a fish fry evening! After one unsuccessful stop, Antoine and I decided to brave the chilly river waters for a much needed “shower.” Brrrrrrr!!!

 

Nat and Paul fishing at a culvert on the Blackstone River

 

Sadly the Blackstone never rewarded us with any fish. Defeated, we headed to the Tombstone Interpretive Centre to sit by the wood fire and enjoy some freshly brewed Labrador tea while we made a plan for the night.

 

We decided to stop in at the gravel pit we’d stayed at on our first night on the Dempster, as this was part of a different waterway than the Blackstone and Ogilvie Rivers. We secured a campsite at the Tombstone Mountain campground, and then returned to try our luck there one last time. We didn’t catch the 8 fish we were needing for dinner, but I managed to catch my first two Arctic Grayling and Paul caught another one. No photos were captured for proof as it started raining just as we cast our first lures. The 3 fish were enough for a delicious appetizer, fried in a skillet with Cajun batter. What a great end to an incredible 11 days on the Dempster highway!

 

Highlights of our time on the Dempster:
  • 3 different mountain ranges (Tombstone, Ogilvie and Richardson), easily explorable from the highway

Drone shot of the Ogilvie Mountains

 

Tombstone mountains

  • Experiencing multiple seasons along the way, and watching the colours change in the mountains and tundra

  • Wildlife and bird sightings including caribou, a grizzly bear, foxes, beavers, and some distant dall sheep; ptarmigans, gyrfalcon and eagles, among others

 

  • Reaching the Arctic Ocean and seeing the Arctic communities of Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk

Lowlights of our time on the Dempster:
  • Eagle Plains (very poor road conditions and least exciting scenery)
  • Mud, mud and more mud. It’s everywhere!
  • Few spots to shower, other than a frigid dip in rivers or creeks

The highlights far outweighed the few lowlights of the trip! Next up: we head south back to Whitehorse and Kluane National Park and Reserve for our final few days in the Yukon.

Thanks again for reading 🙂

Liz & Antoine

1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Monique Handfield

    September 9, 2018 at 11:18 am

    Quite an adventure that you will remember for ever! So happy for you two. Love you! xoxo

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