The Coldfoot Adventure Starts in Fairbanks!
You may have seen the Coldfoot truck stop on Ice Road Truckers. The town made famous in the early 1900s by the gold hunters, now is famous by a tv show! That’s where I’m flying to!
I arrive at the airport meeting spot for my Arctic Circle winter air adventure. Inside, I make small chat with the others who will be joining the tour to Coldfoot. There were couples and another solo traveler.
When it was time to begin the flight, we all made our way to the airplane. It was a little bush plane with a young looking pilot! I was SO excited to be covering so much ground in a short period of time on this quick vacation!
We make our way out of Fairbanks towards Livengood.
As we are flying, the pilot tells us about the area we are flying over. Livengood is the first town we fly over. At one time, it was a booming gold mining area. Now, there is still mining, but on a much smaller level.
As we fly, we see the Trans Alaska Pipeline from the air. We seem to follow along the Dalton Highway. It was opened to the public in 1980 after being a private road owned by the oil companies.
The landscape is a tundra wilderness.
I learn about how few people live in the area. In fact, Coldfoot, that we are heading to, only has 15 people in the winter and only double that in the summer!
As we get close to the Arctic Circle, the pilot tells us to watch the numbers on his dash for 66*, 33′ North latitude. As we cross it, I feel a bump in the air! I giggle to find out the pilot had added that little jolt for special affect! The Arctic Circle is the Southernmost point that the sun’s rays cannot be seen at noon on the shortest day of the year. In fact, I was told the day before arriving was the first day the town of Coldfoot had sunlight!
We continue our journey over the Alaskan landscape towards Coldfoot. The snow covered scenery is beautiful!
We started to make our landing towards the town of Coldfoot. I can barely see the snow covered runway as we land. I am surprised to see the little building to be all of the airport. It is a big difference than the airports I am used to!
The town of Coldfoot primarily consists of a truck stop.
I made my way out of the plane and checked out the beauty that surrounded me. There was snow everywhere!
Our group hops in a van and we make our way over to the truck stop for lunch. I get a sack lunch and am glad that I did, since I didn’t plan time for eating in my itinerary! The lunch was actually really good! I was surprised since it is 300 miles to the nearest town!
The Northernmost truck stop is found in Coldfoot and was built with the help of truckers.
During lunch, I talked with one of the other passengers on the plane. Come to find out, she was a fellow blogger, too! It was fun sharing our experiences. (As a side note, when looking at pictures from this trip on the day prior, I noticed one of hers that looked just like mine! It was like she was standing next to me. I told her that and she replied, “I was!” I was so in awe of the Alaska beauty I had not even noticed!)
After lunch, some of our group headed back to the plane, while others headed back to Fairbanks via the Dalton Highway.
I jumped in the front seat of the van to get the best view of the surroundings!
On the way back, we crossed the Dalton Highway and checked out the Trans Alaska Pipeline.
I jokingly asked the pilot if he needed a copilot for the fly back to Fairbanks. I have always wanted to “fly” a plane! Surprisingly, he said yes! He told me to just jump in the front to the copilot seat!
I climbed to the copilot seat and checked out all the strange buttons and levers. I even had my own yoke! Not that I was going to touch it, because I didn’t want to die today. The pilot even took my picture on the flight back!
The flight back was rather uneventful. I didn’t take over the flight on the way back to Fairbanks. Instead, I enjoyed the sunset from the air.
When we got back to Fairbanks, I took a picture with the pilot. He was amazing at his job! He said he also worked as a bush pilot to get people to the hospital during an emergency.
And, I received my certificate for crossing the Arctic Circle!!!!!