Yukon River – Yukon Terratories

This was our last full day in Whitehorse. Fred and I tried to fish the Yukon River and got skunked again this morning, but we each had a strike, or at least that’s what we told each other. The rest of the day we stocked up with needed staples then did a little sightseeing.

While we played tourist yesterday, we never got to the town’s biggest museum piece, so we made a point to stop at the paddle-wheeler Klondike in the afternoon. It is the riverboat hauled ore and supplies between Dawson City and Whitehorse on the Yukon River. It’s a huge ship with two 450hp steam engines and it took half of a forest to fuel the boiler.

The Klondike Paddle-wheeler.
Anne checks out the Klondike paddle wheel riverboat.

Going down stream it took more than a day with one stop for wood, but coming back to Whitehorse against the current the trip was over four days with as many refueling stops. As you would expect the ship is in mint condition with era specific supply boxes and simulated bags of silver stacked neatly in the cargo hold. Since we were second class passengers we didn’t get to see the first class cabins or the wheelhouse. That would have interested me.

The Klondike Galley
The galley of the Klondike is stocked with plates and cookware from its era.

Back at camp, I had to go look at the WWII era military vehicles lined up beside the entrance. I’m not certain if these were used for the construction of the Alaska/Canada Highway or not, but as with Route 66 kitsch at home, any memorabilia that can tie in with the theme is helpful. There are about five on display and although they’re not restored, they really aren’t in bad shape. I’m sure they could be used in a collection somewhere instead of yard art along the road.

WWII Trucks as Yard Art
Our campgrounds has five different 40s era military vehicles lining the driveway for decoration.

Tomorrow, we’re going to make a side trip off of the Alaska Highway and head north to Dawson City. That’s the other big town in the Yukon and it is highly recommended. It’s also the home of author Jack London, whom I read as a lad. On the same street is the cabin of Robert Service, Yukon’s  famous poet.

We’re going to break the trip up by making a stop midway in a town called Carmacks, a small town on the banks of the Yukon River. Then on to Dawson City for a couple of days. After that we will be in . . . (ta-DA!) Alaska after almost a month of traveling.

jw

Yukon Territories

We’ve arrived in the Yukon and <best pirate voice> least ye be warned mates, pirates in these waters be </pirate voice>. More about that later, but first I want to talk about the trip.

For those of you interested in maps, here’s a fun fact for you. The British Columbia/Yukon border is the 60th parallel. We made the 320 mile trip from Fort Nelson to Watson Lake and we are now in the Yukon Territories. That means we’re less than seven degrees from the Arctic Circle; land of the midnight sun.

The Alaskand Highway
The Alaska – Canada Highway as it passes through the northern Rockies.

Today’s drive was long and complicated by several road construction crews along the way. The worst held us up for over forty-five minutes. I know that the roads have to be repaired, but why couldn’t you have done all of this work last year. Didn’t you know that Queen Anne was touring?

The highway led in a northwest direction and the snow capped peaks of the northern Rockies looming on our distant left, became a maze that the road traversed. It rained, the temperature dropped and that was were the worst construction was. Once we made it through the passes all was well again and the temperature on arrival was in the low 80s.

Stone Sheep On The Road
Stone sheep, a type of Big Horn, find salt and minerals along the roadside.

We saw a lot of game along the road. There were two or three small groups of Stone Sheep (a subset of Big Horns), two black bear, a small brown bear and numerous bison. The bison are so numerous that we don’t even count them anymore. We do slow down when they’re on the road like today.

Wye Lake
Wye Lake is across the street from our campsite.

Because the construction put us behind, we got into Watson Lake late, so we haven’t checked the town out yet. We’re going to spend three days here so I’m sure there will be updates.

Oh! The Pirates? That was the news we got at our campgrounds, which I consider the least attractive of our trip so far. It seems that up here, the Internet is considered a novel frill. All RV parks provide free service as part of your stay. In the Yukon, you also get free WiFi . . . for an hour. After that it’s $10.00 (CDN) for each additional half hour. We also get another hour on each day we stay, but have to go to the office to pick up a new user name and password.

I was upset enough that I fruitlessly protested to the inn keeper and for a brief moment thought of moving on. We’re tired however and need the rest. Besides, I have to catch a fish before Fred does.

jw

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