Day 25: Whitefish State Campground, AK
Sunny and warm.
Well we were worried about the smoke in the campground. But when we woke up, it was sunny and we couldn’t detect any smoke. We got to do the things we imagined doing in Alaska – Tom fishing on the river while I putzed around doing this and that. It was a beautiful sunny morning.
We were kicking around the idea of driving up the Dalton Highway to Milepost 60, where the Dalton Highway crosses over the Yukon River. Tom called the reservation system to find out how bad the smoke was around the Mile Post 60 campground. He was told it should be fine. So we took the 114-mile drive.
Twenty or thirty miles into the drive, we encountered smoke along the roadside, which made me quite nervous. We could see freshly burned trees. Why would they let us drive up this road? Continuing on, the air cleared, and we kept on driving.
About 30 miles before Milepost 60, the smoke got really bad. It was like a thick fog. We kept on going, but nothing improved. We got out of the car at the Milepost 60 campground. The orange-colored smoke felt warm, slightly humid and had a nasty smoldering smell to it. Check out the crossing over the mighty Yukon. Again, the weather was sunny. (See the sun?)
We took our pictures and turned around and went back down the road. I cannot say which fire was causing all the smoke around the Yukon. I studied a map and saw several fires in the area. I was unable to circle the spot, but it is the blue dot in central to east Alaska.
On the way back, again we saw spurts of smoke from areas of the Hess Creek fire, which has been burning since June 21.
Continuing south we found a nice parking area at the Wickersham Dome Trail Head, and the sky was clear and beautiful.
Note: mosquitoes are NOT driven away by forest fire smoke.
Note #2: all the fires I read about, and there are hundreds, were started by lightning and are left to burn out naturally, unless there is human property involved.