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August 21, 2022: Day #4: Deluxe Accommodations: Gravel Pit Camping at its Best

The day began in Congdon Creek campground. Becky and I returned here last night, after our long and arduous hike. We returned at 7 p.m. By then, the campground was already full of cars. Tents were scattered like dice inside the electric fence.

This morning, after eating breakfast, we examined our maps. Becky suggested that we head in the direction of Tombstone Provincial Park, which is located farther north, off the Dempster Highway. I agreed wholeheartedly with her about this; but what went unsaid was that this was because I wasn’t up for doing an

Cogdon Creek electric fence

overnight backpacking trek. It was, I thought, most likely inevitable that we do this, but putting off this inevitability was fine with me.

I just was not prepared. The night before I attempted to light my stove. Unbeknownst to me, Pete had replaced the on-off fuel mechanism. I was not able to figure out how the new one worked and nearly set the picnic table on fire. I yelped when flames shot up from the stove – Becky came over and calmly turned it off. A fellow at the nearby picnic table clapped when she did this. If, I thought, I was a dog, I would have put my tail between my legs and skulked off.

We drove and drove and drove, went through the border crossing back into Alaska. We’d gotten into Alaska on our good looks. Now we got out of Canada on the same. We returned to Tok where stupid Alys picked up more food. There was not much in the way of dehydrated food – I actually purchased some packages of tuna and some high end ramen noodles. As I now understood, if say, we did do an overnight trek, travelling light was going to be key.

I called Pete in Tok. He said that neither Zach, our veterinarian, nor Josh, our farrier, had come for their scheduled appointments because there had been an accident on the Glenn Highway. But all on the home front was just fine. He added that he and Bill had salvaged a lot of books at the recycling center and taken them to Kid’s Kupboard in Wasilla. It’s like this. There are three of us cart horses, and when one can’t pull, the others steps in and give a hand.

We headed out of Tok, on Route Two, in the direction of Delta Junction. Oh oh. I felt like something was amiss, and so glanced at the map. “Uhh Becky, I think we were to take Route 5,” I said. Becky pulled over and agreed with me. We then backtracked.

I had, I realized, failed in my role as navigator.

We set up our tents in a gravel pit off the Taylor Highway. I was okay with this since I’d done this innumerable times while hauling the horses up and down the highway.

Tomorrow, we drive the Top of the World Highway, a ride that will bring back memories since many years ago I bicycled it.

Next: 229. 8/22/22: Day # 5, Challenges Beget Challenges

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