Tuesday Day 3
Muskeg – a North American swamp or bog consisting of a mixture of water and partly dead vegetation, frequently covered by a layer of sphagnum or other mosses.
After an easy day on Monday, we were all quick to realize why Monday was an easy day. During the morning’s driver’s meeting we were told that we were going to experience a mud like no other. A mud that us lower 48’ers have no experience with, a mud called muskeg.
We would be traveling the Stampede Trail made famously by the mid 1990’s book and later a movie, Into the Wild. The trail began as most off road trails, a mild unapproved road.
We crossed many small water holes along the way with a few small creek crossings before reaching the hard section, the muskeg.
The ARB Jeep Wrangler JK was pretty far forward in the pack so although challenging, the ARB JK only got stuck on the final muskeg hole and required us using our Warn Zeon 12-S winch.
Once all the Jeeps were through the muskeg, the trail improved with no recovery required the remainder of the way to the fast flowing Teklanika River. If you have read the book or watched the movie Into the Wild, the Teklanika River is the river that the main character, Christopher McCandless found impassible while trying to leave the area due to a lack of food. The locals say that the river is passible by vehicles and by foot during the early spring river level. When we reached the river, the water was flowing fast and high forcing us to turn around and retrace our tracks.
After a short lunch break along the river it was back in the Jeeps heading towards the trailhead. Retracing our tracks back to the trailhead also meant that we would have to cross the muskeg section once again, but this time after 14 Jeep pushed through it earlier. As imagined, the conditions were a lot more difficult than the first pass requiring a majority of the Jeeps to be recovered from the almost alive muskeg, including the ARB Jeep JK requiring it’s Warn Zeon 12-S winch several times.
After an eventful day of off-roading, it was back on the pavement on the way to our night’s stay in Fairbanks to clean up the Jeep and stock up for the next day’s adventure.
That night, we found out that the next day’s adventure would be to drive to the most northern part of North America that can be reached by car, Deadhorse – Prudhoe Bay.