An amazing thing happened when I was on the road with Jack one time.
We woke up at what the truckers call 62 Mile, a good-sized pullout used by truckers and tourist buses and just anyone traveling the road. It was late September and the drive up north had been sunny and crispy cool. I could not have gotten luckier on a time to be on the Haul Road. Orange and yellow autumn colors abounded and even a pink birch tree showed up every so many miles. (Click to enlarge.)
No snow had fallen, but when we woke up that morning at 62 Mile the tundra outside was a winter wonderland. There were tourists milling about, gazing at the frosty grasses that surround the pull out.
And as you can see, there was a long line at the restroom, so I decided to take a walk out onto the tundra, and I’m so glad I did.
I discovered frost-covered fireweed, spider webs glinting in the morning light, and best of all, an absolutely stunning mist rainbow. I hadn’t known they even existed before, but now I have proof they do. As the frost was evaporating off the tundra, the water vapor in the air created a rainbow that shimmered in the sun’s light. As I stood watching, the sunlight slowly burned off the frost on the ground, leaving plants thawed on one side and still frozen on the other, and the glorious rainbow eventually faded away with the warmth of day.
A moment of astounding beauty. Luckily, I took a quick video and lots of photos, some of which may give an inkling of how amazing that morning was. If anyone ever tells you that the arctic tundra is a frozen wasteland with no redeeming qualities, here is proof that it is not true.
(Click on the first one and scroll to the right.)