The Yukon

Extravagant Trek to Alaska and Thereabouts: Day 7

We awoke at the Watson Lake campground in Yukon, made breakfast, and enjoyed the natural beauty that surrounded us. There were a few very friendly birds joining us for some grub. They were picking up our food droppings quickly and opportunistically. So I wondered just how friendly they really were. I left the last nibble of my english muffin on my hand and stuck it straight out. In just five seconds, one of the birds landed on my hand, pecked the morsel, and took off back to the tree. It was a pretty cool experience for me, though I know better and should not have fed the wildlife. As they say, “a fed bear is a dead bear.” Well, this was a bird, and unless life turns into an Alfred Hitchcock movie, I think we’ll be okay.

Cheese Heads on the Road

Veronika is making sure we represent!

We packed up camp and made our way westbound on the Alaska highway, now highly conscientious of the quality of the roads we would be using. We stopped in Teslin for gas. Right by the gas station/restaurant was the Northern Wildlife Museum, which is small but really cool. They show local wildlife in reconstructed habitats. All the wildlife were found dead, not hunted. The gift shop was very cool and featured handmade items created by the local Tlingit people, and were reasonably-priced. Needless to say, we bought lots of gifts at this shop.

We stopped again several hours down the road at a small truckstop for gas and a quick meal. This lady cooked food like my mother would, but in small quantities at gourmet prices. We had two grilled cheese sandwhiches and a bowl of pea soup. It was all quite tasty, but not nearly filling, especially for the $20 price tag. At least she had Wi-Fi, though limited bandwidth.

There is definitely a market for Internet to northern Canada. At least in Yukon, there is just one ISP. The physical medium is satellite, which is notoriously slow and unreliable due to eather weather patterns, interference, and this really common thing in the north called the Aurora Borealis. Calling all ambitious Canadian Entrepreneurs: Run fiber to Yukon. The tourists would appreciate it, and the safety for local residents would be further ensured. Money could probably be made by selling bandwidth to cell providers pushing data through their cell towers, in addition to standard subscriptions.

In any case, we moved on to Whitehorse, the capital city of Yukon. I really liked it. It’s a small city of about 30-some thousand people. We stopped at a trendy restaurant called Klondike Rib & Salmon, which happens to be in one of the oldest-standing buildings in Whitehorse. I had the salmon burger with the Yukon Gold pale lager, and Vee had a spinach salad with raisons, craisins, cashews, almonds, feta cheese, green onion, and a really unique raspberry-yogurt type of dressing. She paired that with the Yukon Red ale. Both meals were extremely delicious and well worth the price. Apparently, this restaurant is known for its long wait times, but we had a seat straight away, and the food came to the table quickly. The waitress was vibrant and friendly, making jokes and sharing stories all the while. The beers were pretty good, too, which was a pleasant surprise to me, since all the beers I had had in Canada to-date left a lot to be desired.

Start of the Dempster Highway

As we travelled along the Klondike Highway, we reached the beginning of the Dempster Highway, which is famous for its beautiful vistas beyond the Arctic Circle, encompassing frozen tundra, arctic wildlife, fields of flowers, and untouched frontier. The road is composed of shale, which is very sharp and causes a lot of tire flats. People attempting the highway will often bring multiple tires with them. The Dempster Highway extends as far as the Arctic Ocean during winter time. One day, I’ll do this roadtrip. ^-^

From Whitehorse, we took the Klondike Highway north to Dawson City, which took about four to five hours. The condition of the road was fairly good, but there were several long, dirt and gravel portions. It was dusk by the time we reached Dawson City, so we took the free ferry across the river and set up camp at the Yukon River campground. The campground was very nice, though not as “psychadellic” as the one from the night before. There were tent spots literally right on the bank of the swift and frigid current of the great Yukon River as it made its way to the Arctic Ocean.

Free Ferry at Dawson City

We set up camp, finished our leftovers from lunchtime (we couldn’t make dinner because we ran out of water), and went to sleep.