Whitehorse, Yukon, to Dawson City, Yukon
I arose early, and by the time Dan got up at 7:00 a.m., I was dressed and almost packed. While he got ready for the day, I went for a walk along the Yukon River and then into downtown Whitehorse. I was curious to see if I could find the hotel that Dan and I stayed in, over 25 years ago, when we came to Whitehorse and both ended up terribly sick, with food poisoning (the hotel was not to blame). We had both forgotten its name. I found it, though, right next to the narrow gauge railroad tracks, just as I remembered it. It was the Hotel Edgewater.
We ate breakfast at the Westmark Hotel, and then, after fueling up the car, we headed up the Yukon Highway (also known as the Klondike Highway) toward Dawson City. We were on the road by 10:30 a.m. and arrived in Dawson around 3:30 p.m. We made good time, and stopped only at Stewart Crossing, for fuel and a snack. Along the way we passed through a big stretch of burned-out forest. It looked as if it had burned fairly recently, but long enough ago for the fireweed to have returned. [Fireweed, which grows wild in Alaska and Canada, is usually the first plant to return after a burn, thus the name "fireweed."]After checking into our hotel room at Dawson City's Downtown Hotel, Dan took a half-hour rest while I went out to explore the town. The entire town of Dawson has only gravel streets and boardwalks. Many of the buildings are still standing from the gold rush days, and those that are newer are built in the same style. Some of the old buildings stand empty now, and are leaning dramatically, because the heat of the buildings melted the permafrost on which they were built. Apparently the early settlers had to learn this lesson the hard way. [In the past, the most common way to avoid warming the thermafrost was by placing the building atop wooden pilings. In Dawson, you can see this method in lots of the old buildings. These days there are some high-tech solutions, which I'll try to explain when we get to Inuvik.] I found lots of gift shops I plan to browse through on our return trip, when we will spend a little more time here.
Standing with my back to the River, looking at downtown Dawson
After a change of mind or two, we finally decided to try Klondike Kate's for dinner. It was a nice little cafe. We both had hamburgers for the reasonable cost of $18.94 Canadian. I noticed a gentleman eating there who was dressed as if he were part of some performance, and wondered, to myself, if he was the man who does the Robert Service program, which I've seen advertised and which I hope to see when we come back through. [Robert Service was known as the poet of the Yukon, and I grew up reading his poetry. He lived in Dawson City for part of his life. You can read about him here.]
Although it was summer, and Dawson is a tourist town, you can see from my photos that it's not a place where you have to deal with crowds of people!
The Downtown Hotel is quaint, and we are enjoying our stay here. It was rebuilt in 1982, in the old style, after the original building burned two years earlier. The original structure dated from 1902. It is located just one block off of the Yukon River.Tomorrow we'll begin our trip up the Dempster Highway - the real reason we've come to this part of the world.