A visit to (the) North Pole

By Sarah Reynolds | Jun 09, 2016
Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds Mountains loom in the distance in Tok, Alaska.

North Pole, Alaska — No, it's not really that North Pole -- the one where a certain portly giver of presents lives when he's not flying around on a reindeer-powered sleigh. I just couldn't resist a cute headline.

We're in North Pole, Alaska, just outside of Fairbanks, the northernmost point on our journey.

The main purpose of our two-night stopover here is to stock up on supplies for our stay in Denali, where we will be "dry camping," camping, that is, without a water, electric or sewer hookup. Camping with what we can bring in with us. If our water or our battery runs out before our allotted stay is over, we will have to leave early. We have a fresh water tank in the camper, which holds 36 gallons. We're staying three nights in Denali -- that's 6 gallons a day apiece, plus whatever bottled water we bring with us.

We will stay at a campground 30 miles into the park. That's as far as anyone staying there is allowed to drive, and you only get to drive there if you're camping at that campground -- and then you only get to drive in once. You can go further into the park by bus. If there is a cell signal at all, it will probably be spotty and weak, so I may have to report on Denali after we leave there.

Besides buying what we'll need for Denali, we will try to get a new converter -- the thing that converts A/C power to recharge the battery when we're connected to an electric outlet. If we can't, that could affect the length of our stay in Denali.

The drive from Beaver Creek, Yukon, to North Pole was less scenic than most of the other drives we've had since we entered the national parks in the western U.S. There were some mountains, but not very many; mostly, it was a lot of highway lined with skinny pine trees. The border crossing was uneventful, thankfully, and we did enjoy returning to distances given in miles and gas prices in gallons. We also gained another hour when we entered the Alaska Time Zone. We are now four hours earlier than Maine.

We had dinner at a little place called the Country Cafe, which features mostly American food with a couple of Korean dishes, because the owners are Korean. The woman in her 70s who appeared to run the place told us she came to Alaska from Pennsylvania in the 1960s with her ex-military husband. They had two young children at the time. Thinking about what a difficult trip that must have been made me feel a little better about traveling in tight quarters with a dog.

Our first view of Alaska after crossing the border from Canada. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
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Comments (4)
Posted by: Glen S. Bridges | Jun 18, 2016 08:27

Oops, it is an hour earlier going WEST through each time zone.


Posted by: William Spear | Jun 11, 2016 12:13

My girlfriend from 1970 Camden Rockport high school lives in North Pole. Check the phone book for a Narda Smith. Tell her I said hi.

Posted by: Glen S. Bridges | Jun 11, 2016 12:00

We took a similar trip last summer, though not as far, and would do it again in an instant. Thanks for the incredible blog & photos. Oh, BTW, if it is 10 AM in Maine, it is an hour earlier going east through each time zone, so 6 AM in Alaska.

Posted by: Richard Shibles | Jun 09, 2016 12:53

Thoroughly enjoying your blog, esp. the pictures. But, must point out you are 4 hours later, not earlier, than Maine.

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