Author Topic: Alaska -Dalton Highway  (Read 1749 times)

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Offline henrik.nu

Alaska -Dalton Highway
« on: December 29, 2021, 03:43:50 pm »
Good evening!
I wonder,  of your experience, what is the best time of the year to bicycle the Dalton Highway in Alaska, in respect to the weather conditon and bicycle conditions?
From north to south the Dalton Highway.
When does the turists starting coming?
and....is this a dangerous bike ride, regarding bears and wild animals?

Looking forward to read about your experience of the Dalton Highway and Alaska!!
Thanks!
/
Henrik

Offline henrik.nu

Re: Alaska -Dalton Highway
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2021, 03:23:47 pm »
How is the weather in June compared to August?
Is there many tourist in june, already?

Offline spruceboy

Re: Alaska -Dalton Highway
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2022, 10:07:35 pm »
This might be too late, but I think the Dalton highway is bikable from mid June to mid August.  June will have a bit less traffic I think, bug August might have more colors.  Late June the bugs will pick up, and by early July they would be fairly bad. 
I have only done it north to south, and suppoidly the wind tends to blow that direction, but I don't have any actual data to back that up.  The tourist traffic is pretty low, however there are lots of big trucks hauling stuff.   The road isn't particularly dangerous besides the truck traffic, and bears are not a big deal, however I would find a bear proof way to store your food.  I have a writeup from roughly 10 years ago here:
https://yak.spruceboy.net/2011/07/biking-the-haul-road-deadhorse-to-fairbanks.html
A more recent writeup from soneone else can be found here:
https://bikepacking.com/plog/deadhorse-diving-board/
Though lots of others are available online.  have a great trip!

Offline jamawani

Re: Alaska -Dalton Highway
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2022, 12:39:11 am »
Be prepared for hundreds of biting flies.
They are attracted to CO2 trails - and we exhale CO2 - esp. when riding a bike.
There is no escaping them - they mob you.
You can see videos of caribou driven mad by them.

So then, what to do?
Cover everything. With multiple layers.
They bite through cotton quite easily.

They will bite you anywhere and everywhere.
So you definitely need a bug net hat with wide brim to keep the net well away from your face.
They will even try to bite thru the gaps in your helmet - so you need a cap underneath.

Upper body - double layer with a dense weave poly/wool underneath.
I don't like wearing a rain jacket, even a breathable one, because I sweat too much.
But sometimes you will have to. They love to go after your shoulder blades.
And they like to draft on your slipstream just behind you.

You will also need gloves - not cycling gloves but gloves that cover your entire hands.
Otherwise, you will be slapping one hand on the other constantly.

Because your legs are moving they are less of a problem there.
But you need full cover. Tights underneath with some kind of full-length hikers.
And they do go for you ankles if you have thin socks.
I like pants with velcro closures at the ankles so I can get a tight seal.

They will also bite thru your shoes if they have light, breathable fabric.
You will probably need some serious footwear for the Arctic anyway.

<<<>>>

There is some debate as to color and attraction.
I have heard that darker blues, greens and brown attract / reds, yellows and oranges repel.
I always have a few hot pink, red, and yellow bandanas to use as swatters. Light & bright.

And eat lots of garlic.

<<<>>>

It's a Zen thing.
At first they drive you crazy - even if you are totally covered.
Then you begin to accept that you just share the world with them - -
At least in the Far North.

Car tourists run screaming every time they get out to take a photo.
Cyclists who have been out there for weeks just smile.

PS - Do not count on Deet - it only works so-so.

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Offline spruceboy

Re: Alaska -Dalton Highway
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2022, 12:59:49 pm »
The bugs are not too bad outside the late June/early July to mid July window, when they can be fairly bad.  YMMV of course.

Offline jamawani

Re: Alaska -Dalton Highway
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2022, 02:28:12 pm »
My experience - in six bike trips to northern Alaska, Yukon & the NWT -
is that they can be bad well into September or the first hard freeze.
Those little boogers have something like antifreeze in their bug blood.

Here's what the BLM says about the Dalton Highway & bugs -

Are the bugs really thatbad?
YES! Hordes of mosquitoes emerge in mid-June and last into August.
Biting flies and gnats last into September.
Insects are worst on calmdays and in low, wetland areas.

https://www.blm.gov/sites/blm.gov/files/documents/files/PublicRoom_Alaska_DaltonHwy_VisitorGuide-web.pdf

<<<>>>

It's way better to be over-prepared and have a minimal bug problem -
than be underprepared and get eaten alive. YMMV
A tailwind is not your friend on the Dalton, the Dempster, or the Mackenzie.

Offline henrik.nu

Re: Alaska -Dalton Highway
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2022, 04:31:03 pm »
Hi spruceboy,jamawani, HikeBikeCook!
Thank YOU for your information and links!
I really appriciate it!!
Lots of interesting and very good reading!
And the bugs, flies, mosquitos......woow....that seems to be something really special....so to say!
All this information is very good for me to know!

Greetings,
Henrik.nu

Offline henrik.nu

Re: Alaska -Dalton Highway
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2022, 04:33:23 pm »
And the bears, how worried should I actually be?
How "aggressive" are they?
...if one can put the question, that way =)=)


Offline spruceboy

Re: Alaska -Dalton Highway
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2022, 02:09:57 am »
Issues with bears on the dalton highway are not common, but do happen occasionally.  I would just practice good bear country camping, and if you are worried, don't cook where you are sleeping, and it should be fine.   I wouldn't worry about it.