Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Alaska and the Yukon - Whitehorse to Dawson City, Yukon

July 11
Whitehorse to Dawson City, Yukon

I had to get up early this morning to put the luggage out in the hallway to be picked up before 7:00 AM.  Today we would be traveling all day by bus to Dawson City.  

Our ride for the day.

Where is everybody, I'm ready to go?

We were on the road by 8:30 and followed the Alcan Highway out of town for a while and then turned north on the North Klondike Highway.  We drove along enjoying the beautiful scenery following the Yukon River much of the time.  There were several photo stops, and then a mid-morning stop at Braeburn Lodge where we could stretch our legs and buy snacks or drinks if we wanted.  Their claim to famed seemed to be their cinnamon rolls which they said were "as big as your head" and it turned out to be true.

The Braeburn Lodge is also a checkpoint for the Yukon Quest.

As we drove along our driver Jess kept it interesting by talking about the geography and history, particularly the gold rush days as this was one of his favorite subjects.  He was really good and made the time go by quickly.

One of our rest stops to stretch our legs and enjoy the scenery. 
We followed the Yukon River for most of the day.
This area is called Five Finger Rapids.

We stopped for lunch at Minot Resorts and had a barely mediocre lunch, but since we were in the middle of nowhere, I guess we couldn’t really expect more.

The Yukon River
Before lunch we all got together for a group photo.
Then we lined up for lunch, which was served buffet style.

We continued our drive north through the forest and still following the Yukon River.  There were more photo stops and a mid-afternoon break at the Moose Creek Lodge.   

Not a very good picture from the bus window, but we did see our first bear of the trip.

The day went by quickly thanks to Jess, and we arrived in Dawson City around 5:30.  The day had been cloudy and rainy so we were happy to see the clouds breaking up and the sun shining as we arrived.  We got our room assignments and put our things in the room and then headed to dinner as we had an excursion that evening at 7:30.  We ate at the hotel and had a wonderful seafood lasagna which hit the spot.  After dinner we got ready to go and headed to catch our bus.  As we stepped outside we were really happy to find a balmy evening.

Our excursion was called “A Toast to the Dome” the Dome being a mountain called Midnight Dome Lookout, which overlooks Dawson City and the surrounding areas.  We didn’t know what to expect, but it turned out to be really great.  The views were spectacular especially since it was sunny with some scattered clouds.  Dawson City is at the confluence of the Klondike and Yukon Rivers and you could see both rivers as well as the town from the top.  


That's Dawson City with the Yukon River running past it.  The Klondike River joins the Yukon River and you can see the confluence at just about the middle of the picture.

All those ridges down there are tailings left by the gold dredges that mined the Klondike River.  This is only a small sample of the vast area they cover.

I don't know whether this is readable, but this is the history of the Midnight Dome.

There really was a toast to the dome, including glasses of "bubbly", which was also kind of fun.  Here is the toast:
Toast of the Dome
Here we are so far from home
standing on top of Dawson City Dome.
The Klondike Hills are full of gold
The Yukon River runs clear and cold.
Beneath the Midnight Sun we Cheer
Good Health, Peace and Happiness
To all that are here.

Barb Hanulik and Dawne Mitchell

Even though I wasn’t expecting much, this trip to The Dome was really nice so I guess I shouldn’t prejudge things.  Our bus driver, JT, was fun and added to the enjoyment of the evening.  It would have been nice to see the sunset from up there, but since the sun wouldn't "set" until well after midnight, we didn’t wait around.  We were back to the hotel just before 9:00 PM and after buying some water and things for breakfast we returned to the room and called it a night.  Tomorrow morning we have a rafting trip on the Yukon River.

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