National Geographic : 1943 Feb
155 Alaskan Highway an Engineering Epic blinded. Every avail able dump truck was operated night and day hauling gravel for sur facing wherever it was available. The whole organiza tion was geared to ' keep the lead tractors . moving forward into the forest as fast as possible; hence sup ply trucks must get through to them over uncompleted roads that seemed absolutely im passable. Companies Race to Finish Their Stretches Each company raced to complete its section so that it could pull out and move up the old trail to the head of the column. By the first of July, after only six weeks of actual road work, the 18th Regi ment had pushed its leading company 160 miles northwest of the base camp in White horse. Well might they be proud of their lead over all the other regi ments on the job. I returned to White horse overawed by the Two New speed of construction Though the temperat and the ingenuity of pression indicates. Ma the engineer officers for the first time in th faced with the task of miles away from camp thrusting a road through one of the most sparsely settled re gions in North America, but I had not yet seen really difficult going. The mountain slopes northwest of White horse are relatively dry and there is much gravel. Moreover, June was a dry month in that region. When I landed at Fort St. John, the south ern terminus of the road, some days later, our plane cut deep ruts across the soggy field. We had slipped in under dark rain clouds and taxied up the field in a drenching downpour. A bus which was to carry us the mile and a half to the town stuck fast in the road in front of the Engineers' headquarters camp, Wide World from Press Ass'n Yorkers Solve Canada's Mud Problem ure may rise to 900, water is chilly, as the bather's ex ny city tenderfeet here learned to swing an ax, perhaps leir lives. The sign points to the Bronx crossing 2,300 here at Fort St. John. and its disgruntled passengers slogged their way in on foot through the driving rain. Fort St. John was the most dismal little settlement I had ever seen. The one street, lined by dilapidated and unpainted frame buildings, was a slough of mud which had the consistency of axle grease. There were no sidewalks, and the floors of all public build ings were nearly as deep in mud as the street. The one hotel and the rooming houses were packed to overflowing, and the three small res taurants and one ice-cream parlor were so jammed with sodden soldiers and civilians that we latecomers must literally force our way in. There was little food to be had.