With this new chapter of the trip, things have changed a bit and it’s a bit harder to put things together into cohesive blog entries, because everything is a bit less focused and more all over the place. This one is a bit longer, but it’s full great stuff.
I might as well start where this began. A few days ago I headed north from Whitehorse on the Klondike Highway. The North Klondike has a different character from the South. The mountains aren’t as grand, but there are some great, expansive views. And the road is quiet! Some of my previous posts may have had the appearance of being super remote but the bustle of Whitehorse was never far away. After the busyness of Whitehorse and Carcross, this was a welcome change of pace. Much of the highway didn’t have shoulders, but once again it’s quiet enough that I can just stop at the side of the road and take pictures. I took my time driving up and split the drive into two days.
The Klondike corridor is full of history as it roughly follows the Yukon River and the old overland, winter route to Dawson. So every now and then you would get great views of the Yukon River or one of it’s tributaries. There were also old roadhouses along the way where travelers used to stop before the days of cars.
On arriving in the Dawson area, I stopped at the Klondike River Campground and went to setup my tent. That morning while taking down the tent, one of my tent poles randomly broke. I had shrugged it off at the time because I had a splint to fix it but, when I tried to use the splint that evening, it didn’t fit! The break had warped the aluminum in such a way that I could not get the splint to slide over it at all. My mind went into panic mode… I knew that Dawson isn’t the kind of town to be fixing things in. I hadn’t yet payed for my campsite, so I packed up and headed into town. I didn’t have much of a plan but I knew there was a chance I couldn’t fix it that night, so I had to get accommodations. I got a room in The Bunkhouse, which is a nice little budget motel.
I asked around and found out The Trading Post is the only place in town that sells camping stuff. So I went there. They had a tent pole repair kit, but it was for small diameter fiberglass poles and mine are thicker aluminum. I got permission from the motel staff to setup and fix my tent in the grass by the parking lot. My initial fix was to simply mix two repair kits together and make a pole long enough to completely replace mine, but it was weak and flimsy in comparison. Then I realized I had a another repair kit that I had bought previously. It had the metal ends for larger diameter fiberglass poles…which are just slightly larger than aluminum poles. So I used that and managed to fix my original pole. It feels just as strong as before and now I have a weaker fiberglass one for if I break one in the wild. Thanks be to God for guiding me in fixing that! The way I managed to fix my pole in a non-standard way is absolutely amazing.
My stay in the bunkhouse was nice. It had a great side porch area that had an old timey feel to it. Dawson really has a last frontier atmosphere to it. The roads are gravel, the sidewalks are wooden, the buildings are old and you can almost imagine the horses and carriages that properly belong here. I spent some time chatting with my neighbors that night. I’ve been meeting so many interesting people in Dawson. This may be a remote area compared with Whitehorse, but I have had so many more meaningful social interactions!
The next day was supposed to be rain. I didn’t want to pay for 2 nights at the motel, and it wasn’t raining yet, so I headed across the river(by ferry) to the Yukon River campground, which is a terrific place with lots of sites right by the river! I got a great site and setup. My repaired tent pole is working perfectly so far!
Not long after I setup camp it started raining, so I went into town and visited the shops. I had a great conversation with the lady at the Trading Post after she noticed my Labrador hat…it seems to start just as many conversations as my Jeep’s gas cans, or my Ontario plates. I was back at the campsite later in the afternoon when the storm ended. Suddenly the skies became sunny!
I decided I couldn’t waste this great sunlight even if it was early evening, so I headed back across the ferry and drove up to the Midnight Dome, which is the viewpoint overlooking Dawson. It truly is a spectacular sight!
I stayed up there for several hours. There were people coming and going. My lumberjacket and unshaven face must make me look like a local because I had several people ask if I was from the area. I had some great conversations with a few people and ended up offering advice on things they should see and do in the area.
That night I enjoyed a warm campfire and then went to bed in the cold. It is getting colder the further north I go. My sleeping bag, pad and tent are working well in the cold though, so all is good.
The following day the weather was better so I went for a hike to the sternwheeler graveyard, which is filled with old, rotting sternwheelers.
Then I headed off to Bonanza Creek, which is where the gold rush really happened. It’s mostly filled with piles of gravel tailings from the commercial mining at the end of the rush. It was interesting to stop by one mining claim and see the mammoth bones that had been uncovered while mining. Oh and did I mention you can buy parts of mammoth tusks in Dawson?! (they aren’t cheap…)
And then I spent a sunny afternoon actually getting pictures of Dawson.
At this point I’m ahead on my rain days, so I have a bit of time. I’ve been learning to take my days as they come…rain, broken tent poles or otherwise. I’ll probably be slowing down a bit and just enjoying life on the road…while seeing great wonders of course.
(oh, and btw, I am currently the furthest north that I have ever been. But of course I’m going Farther)