Awestruck by views so broad, so expansive, that the landscape and sky can barely contain them, the Top of the World out of Dawson, YT is one of the few highways we’ve encountered that truly, fully and completely lives up to its name.
Is this even the same road? I know the sign fading into our rearview mirrors says “Welcome to Inuvik”, but the Dempster Highway is transformed. Four days ago the infamously challenging adventure highway tossed us around like Cerberus using three souls as chew toys, today what was once the Mud-Beast is now asleep in the sun.
So you want to motorcycle the Dempster Highway to Inuvik, NWT? If you we’re smart you’d wait for a couple of nice dry days, but we never claimed to be smart. We head out onto the fabled road in the rain to experience its worst as we ride beyond the Arctic Circle…
By the term “highway”, don’t confuse the Dempster with the paved varicosities that strangle our modern world. A product of its environment this is a filament of the south sent out like an infection, and the land does its best to fight it off.
On a good day the road from Dease Lake to Telegraph Creek, BC is an ethereal dirt cavort through scenery composed of precipitous canyons sheered into lava by erosive rivers. Add one night of rain and it goes from being one the world’s greatest driveways to one of the most terrifying.
We’re off course, and we don’t need a map or GPS to tell us so. We’re headed south-west rather than north-west thanks to a wrong turn off of the Blackwater Forest Service Road and onto Batnuni, above the sky is darkening and the sun diminished to a glowing red-orange ember. Below me the BMW F800GS…
With a personal riding history is littered with a disturbing pattern of rough departures, the OWD team heads north for the Arctic Circle, after a very slow start.