Monday, 24 August 2015

Yukon Adventure - week 2

Day 8, Monday, June 8

Leaving Whitehorse
All of a sudden we were packing up the trailer and moving on. It seemed to be a quick decision but Mum and Dad thought they would spend another day in Whitehorse on the way back. We stopped for gas and propane at Integra gas station at the north end of Whitehorse.

It was very busy but everyone was very friendly and helpful. Dad would recommend it and will stop there again. The turnoff for the Klondike loop to Dawson City isn't as well publicized as the Alaskan Highway. Dad says Dawson City should get out and do some advertising.

Lake Lebarge
It was a short journey to Carmacks but we made lots of stops. I got to see Lake Lebarge. Apparently, that was the site of the cremation of Sam McGee. I will have to get Mum to read me the whole poem. The Milepost didn't mention the steam paddle wheeler that went down in 1901: 3 crew were lost; the site was lost until 2008. The ship was still intact except for the wheelhouse and stack. The cargo was still on the deck. They haven't revealed the exact site – Mum thinks it is to prevent grave robbers. We met a very nice couple from Nova Scotia, Annapolis Valley.

The next stop was Braeburn Lodge – Dad made the puppy dog face when Mum read out that they were famous for giant cinnamon buns. 'Course we had to stop to get one. I had to stay in the trailer because there were dogs and Mum and Dad were having lunch. Surprisingly, Mum and Dad had lunch with the NS couple – there was a lot of talk about the horrid winter they had. They were in Whitehorse visiting a daughter but were out for a day trip.

We are staying at Tatchun Creek YG. There is a very nice little creek running behind our site. I don't think we should be drinking the water tho'. Dad found a beaver pond when he was out walking after supper.

Mum and Dad went back to see the Five Finger Rapids lookout. It was quite a photo-op. Dad is going to ask Alex what he uses for panorama shots.
Five Finger Rapids
I spent the evening chasing squirrels and charming some of the other campers. We met a very nice couple from Germany – Mum practiced her few phrases that she knew. And a little bit of French with the couple from Quebec City. There was a nice lady from Anchorage – Karen provides a halfway house for abandoned kittens. She got extra cat love for her care.
All is good.

Day 9, Tuesday, June 9

Today was another driving day. Before we left Dad showed the German couple the beaver dam he had found the night before. It was quite large and it looked like the beavers were still active as they were some freshly chopped trees. The wife was quite excited – she is a biologist. Her kids tease her because she is always taking pictures of poop. I can understand that – outhouses have quite fascinating smells. The husband taught computer courses. He knew about VMWare where Alex used to work.
Yukon Crossing
Dad stopped at Yukon Crossing Viewpoint to take some pictures. The McCabe bridge reminded Mum of her friend Stephanie from work. We stopped at Pelly Crossing for gas. At the lookout for the
Pelly River we bumped into the German couple again. Pelly Crossing was a ferry crossing and construction camp. It is now the home of the Selkirk First Nations.
The road was very bumpy between Pelly Crossing and our final stop – it was hard to get any sleep. I sure made my displeasure known! 

We made one more stop at some undesignated site for lunch. The view of the Tintina Trench was quite neat. It is the largest fault in Nth Am and stretches hundreds of miles from Alaska and the Yukon. Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to stop because it was quite late in the day.
For the next 3 nights we are staying at the Klondike River campground. It seems very nice but there is sure a lot of mosquitoes. Thank goodness Mum and Dad have that tent to protect them. Mum and Dad will do some touring around. It is nap time with Dad. He works really hard driving the truck and setting up camp.
Mum and Dad had salmon and tossed salad for supper – Mum and Dad tossed a bag of salad back and forth. Mum has a weird sense of humour.

Day 10, Wednesday, June 10

Today was a rest day for me. Mum and Dad went touring. They started on Bonanza Road. Dad went gold-panning at Claim 33. There was a museum of sorts with old mining equipment and buildings. Dad got 5 small flakes.
Panning for gold at Claim 33

Panning for gold at the free claim
The ladies there were very nice and chatty. Next Mum and Dad went onto the Dredge #4 site. It was very large and the mining was destructive. Houses and vegetables were destroyed to get at the gold. Huge piles of tailings were left behind – almost like the glacial drumlins. Dad did some gold panning at the free claim site but he didn't find even a single flake. Mum was hungry so they drove into Dawson City for a meal. They ate at the Jack London Grill. It was a good meal. Once they came home I went for a walk with Dad while Mum had a nap. I chased some squirrels while it was still sunny but then it started to rain. Dad got out the tent heater because Mum was looking a little blue. I think we are in for the night.

Day 11, Thursday, June 11

Today was another stay at home for me. I did go for several walks where I got to climb trees and stalk squirrels. Mum and Dad won't let me catch them tho'. I am getting quite good a climbing trees – I can even climb trees with big trunks.
Mum and Dad went to Dawson to send the “We are here e-mail”. Then they went to see the Jack London and Robert Service cabins. The talks were reasonably interesting. It is amazing that people could live in such a small space but then we have been spending time in a 17ft trailer so I guess it is not really all that amazing. Mum and Dad missed the tour of the SS Keno so they just walked around Dawson. Some buildings have been fixed but there are many that are falling apart.

Building on permafrost has it's own problems – like the difficulties of building the Alaskan highway. Dad found out from his flying buddy, Bob, that the highway was built all squiggly to protect the convoys from being attacked by bombers rather than skirting muskeg as we thought.
The playground was fun. Lots of nooks and crannies to explore. I even went down two slides.

Day 12, Friday, June 12

Today we packed up and left Dawson. Dad was glad to get out of the Klondike River Campground because there were so many mosquitoes. You know you are in the Yukon when the mosquitoes are large enough to carry you away. We had to stop at the sani-dump, get water and then get gas. The sun was shining and I couldn't find a comfortable place to sleep in the truck.
We stopped to see the Tintina Trench. Dad got some pics this time around. The next stop was in Pelly Crossing for Dad to have a stretch. Mum and I read the signs about the Selkirk nation. They seem to co-exist with nature than we do today.
We are staying at the Tatchun Creek again. Dad was trying to get a picture of a partridge and her brood when he heard rustling in the bushes. It was 2 bear cubs climbing a tree. Mama bear was watching Dad to make sure he didn't stray to close. Wisely Dad came back to the campsite. After warning Mum he went to warn the other campers. Mum and Dad wisely ate supper at the picnic table rather than in the tent. Personally, I think Dad was a little too close to that bear for my comfort! I didn't get much of a walk tonight because there was a thunderstorm. I am quite happily snoozing in the cupboard over the bed :).
Bear cubs climbing the tree

Mama bear watching Dad watching her cubs

Day 13, Saturday, June 13

I was very restless today in the car. I couldn't seem to settle. Dad was restless too – especially after Mum cracked him on the head with truck door. He was very calm about it tho;.
Dad checked the beaver dam before we left the campground. The bears weren't there but the beavers had been pretty busy. Three big trees were down and the bark was off one of them.
We made lots of little stops on the way to Whitehorse today: Carmacks for gas, missed the Twin Lakes turnout, Braeburn Lodge for cinnamon buns (I had to stay in the trailer because of the dogs). I climbed a big rock at the Conglomerate Mountain turnout.
Mum and Dad saw a black bear cross the road; Mum saw two trumpeter swans in the Nordenskiold River system. Mum still can't understand why everything has common names when the people that lived here before the fur traders came probably had names for everything. The other thing Mum doesn't understand is why Alberta is called Wild Rose Country when Yukon has far more wild roses – they're everywhere. At Braeburn Lodge the ladies told her that the purple flower on the roadside is wile sweat pea or a wild clover.
We are staying at the Caribou RV Park again. It has all the facilities we needed – showers, laundry. Mum and Dad talked to a nice lady from New Mexico. She used to have a Maine Coon and she really misses him. After supper Mum and Dad went for a walk and talked to a couple from Florida that has a teardrop trailer. I can't imagine traveling all that way in a small trailer. They only left Florida last Friday so they are making good time. The man built his trailer from plans he found on the website TTNT. Thank goodness we need a truck and a trailer to accommodate Dad's hobby. It would be quite crowded with the 3 of us in a teardrop!

While Mum and Dad were doing laundry I let Katie carry me around. She carried me upside down and inside out. Dad says I had a great chiropractic treatment. She was a nice young lady. Mum is going to send her a picture of me when we get home.
Mum and Dad are doing a few touristy things tomorrow and some grocery shopping. We will be starting the trek back to Edmonton on Monday.

Day 14, Sunday, June 14

Our very dirty trailer
Two weeks, Dad says, and we are all still alive and in piece – including the truck and trailer. Although the truck and trailer look a little worse for the wear – they are covered in mud. The construction areas use a mixture of water and calcium and water to lay the dust. It makes anyone dirty that touches the truck or trailer.
Dad says I smell like pine trees.
Today I had lots of walks and climbed one tree almost to the 8 foot level. My problem is how to get down. Dad and Mum left me in the trailer while they went to do touristy things.

Dad stopped in at the Yukon RC Modelers field just down the road from the RV campground. One
guy was flying an electric spitfire. It was a little too windy so it was getting bounced around a little. The other guys showed Dad a Pawnee. The general statement was “If you don't fly in the wind, you don't fly” :). It is surprising that the pilots don't get distracted by the view when they are flying.

After stopping at the airfield Mum and Dad went on to see the SS Klondike paddle wheeler. The original SS Klondike was built in 1929 but ran aground in 1936. Parts were used to construct SS Klondike II and it ran until 1955. It was neat to see the layout but some areas were off-limits.
Next they went up to see the fish ladder. There were small salmon (barely a mouthful) and arctic grayling in the resting section. This tributary has the largest salmon and it takes them nearly 3 months to get from the Bering Sea to their spawning grounds.  It really is amazing that those salmon can travel so far. Mum was teacher's pet – the interpreter kept saying that Mum asked the most interesting questions.
Did you know that it is very hard to find a restaurant open in Whitehorse on a Sunday! Mum and Dad finally found a Ricky's Grill to have mid-afternoon lupper. Groceries were next on the agenda. They didn't get to see the museum, the log skyscrapers or the log church. Maybe the next time they come to Whitehorse.
I got a long walk after supper and met a nice couple from Iowa. They were washing their car before going north. That seems like a lost cause.

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