2019/10: Cycling from West Fork Campground to Tok

  Stage 2019/10 [A072]

West Fork Campground - Tetlin Junction - Tok (Taylor Highway, Alaska Highway)

60 mi / 96 km
1400 Hm (garmin edge 1000)







Cycling Whitehorse, Yukon to Anchorage, Alaska via Dawson City.

Stage from West Fork Campground to Tok on the Alaska Highway.

One of the most epic cycling routes of the world.

Taylor Highway by bicycle.
At the campsite, our tent was well protected against rain under a wooden roof. While we had some rain in the night, the morning was dry, bur as soon as we set off and get on the wheels, it starts to rain.     
Taylor Highway by bicycle.
The West Fork Campground is located at a height of about 600m / 1970ft directly on the river bed. The Taylor Highway does not follow the river, but takes the shortest route south to the Alaska Highway. For us, this means that we have to climb again to more than 1000m / 3280ft. Hence, today there are altogether 1400m / 4600ft elevation gain on the program. With an outside temperature of 7 ° C, the mountains are a very appreciated warm-up program.     
Taylor Highway by bicycle. Leg West Fork Campground to Tok.
The Taylor Highway winds its way through the mountains, after all the road on the southern part is paved and in good condition.   
Taylor Highway by bicycle. Tetlin Junction.
After 75km / 47mi we cycle our final feet of the Taylor Highway: we roll down the last hill on the Taylor Highway and reach the Alaska Highway at Tetlin Junction. The crossing is named after the town of Tetlin, which is strangely 21 km south of here and can only be reached via a poor natural road. Anyway, Tetlin Junction is quite well known as the starting point of the Taylor Highway, while hardly anyone knows exactly where Tetlin is located.   
Cycling the Alaska Highway: Tanana River Bridge.
We follow the Alaska Highway and cross the Tanana River, a 400 mi / 940 km long river that flows into the Yukon River. Further downstream, behind Fairbanks, a wooden tripod is fixed on the ice of the frozen river every year since 1906 and connected with a watch using a cord. As soon as the ice on the river melts and the tripod starts moving, the clock stops. With the Nenana Ice Classic Lottery, from February 1st to April 5th, you can buy a ticket to predict the exact time when the ice melts and the tripod starts to move. The winner will receive the jackpot, which may include over $ 300,000.       
Cycling Alaska Highway northbound to Tok.
In the afternoon we reach Tok, with 1300 inhabitants one of the larger cities out here. With a city name like Tok, it is not surprising that there is a variety of theories that try to explain the origin of the city's name. The weirdest idea is this: In Tok, the Tok Cutoff coming from the south connects with the Alaska Highway, first thing you see on a map is the T-junction, then you see the city. And according to legend, an OK was noted down next to the intersection in pencil during a control flight after big wildfires happend in the region. The next person who got his hands on the map recognised a T and the letters OK and read it TOK. I have no idea if the story is right, but sometimes things are that simple.    
Cycling Alaska Highway northbound to Tok.
First thing we do in Tok is what all cyclists do in Tok: we go to Fast Eddy's Restaurant and have Dinner. For us, the luxury begins even before the actual meal: in the restaurant there is a toilet with water flush and a sink with running cold and hot water. Amenities that we had to live without for several days. We choose from the menu hamburgers with fries and can't wait to have a cool beer. Somehow we also regret that the adventure of the Top of the World Highway and Taylor Highway lies behind us, but we are looking forward to our dinner.