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Stage 539 – Summit Lake to Tetsa River

After the horrors of stage 538 come the delights of stage 539. Or as the saying goes “What goes up, must come down”. If you were to glue 538 and 539 together, you’d get a normal distribution curve. 538 was the upslope whereas 539 is the downslope. This is a stage to savour heading east out the Rockies in north eastern British Columbia. And it wouldn’t be a stage of Around The World without a river to follow: but this one has two: the North Tetsa River and the Tetsa River, and as you might imagine, they merge part way along the route.

The rollout continues from where the end of stage 538 left off: climbing. That’s actually good news because once the Alaska Highway has climbed to over four thousand three hundred feet by the time is passes Summkit Lake after a mile, a third of the climbing on the stage has been done. The descent begins in earnest at Summit Lake Provincial Campgroup after just two miles.

There are various finger shaped bunches of water left and right of the road as the descent gathers pace, but it’s not until the highway picks up North Tetsa River at four miles that the fun starts. The road is on the left (north) and the river on the right (south) as both head east. The river does what rivers do, and meanders all over the place, while the road does what roads so and attempts to take the shortest route.

That’s pretty much how it remains until nine miles when an extra branch of the North Tetsa River merges with the stretch that Route 97 has been following: it comes in from the south to form a bigger flow heading east. The road crosses over both sections of the river at the point where they merge, and runs along the southern river bank until eleven miles when it crosses back north again.

The highway remains on the left hand side, nestled in below the mountain to the north, all the way to the junction with the Tetsa River at fifteen miles. The Tetsa approaches from the mountains to the south and the North Testa flows into it. The road continues to hug the hillside, with steep slopes directly above it, until the finishing straight with a mile to go: the landscape flattens out there and although the road continues to descend all the way to the line, the gradient is much less pronounced at the finish.

Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres

Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres

Ascent: 171 feet / 52 metres

RGT Magic Road: G60fmm8gxVsf

Total distance: 20.52 mi
Max elevation: 4315 ft
Min elevation: 2625 ft
Total climbing: 160 ft
Total descent: -1807 ft

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