Dawson City

July 7 & 8

Following an extended visit to Yukon’s Capital City, Whitehorse, we as many summer travelers chose to take the Klondike Loop to Dawson City, Chicken and Tok.  Our RV fixed we head northwest to Historic Dawson City the 2nd largest community in the Yukon.  Since we have now driven 4,000 miles and passed the halfway point of our journey, losing over a week in down time, we anticipate a very long drive passing through rather than staying at some small dots on the map, Carmacks, Pelly and Stewart Crossing.  While the actual mileage 330 mi. is do-able, over 100 miles of it are gravel, dusty and bumpy roads requiring very cautious and alert driving.  Some parts are single lanes that have been washed out from recent flooding.

Not far down the Klondike Highway is Braeburn Lodge home of the famous Braeburn Lodge Cinnamon bun.  You’d think we’d get hip to this line by now but no, we stop and purchash this humongous thing for nine bucks.  My weight watchers voice keeps saying “3 bites, 3bites” Finally, the temptation and the ridiculous food folly has diminished, thank goodness.

The scenery while beautiful is getting boring, the extent of our animal sightings this day limited to a porcupine, and a few road kill.  Where are the moose?  We pass through the city of Carmacks. Back in 1893, it was known as the hub of the Yukon, if you sneeze, you’ve passed through it. The next possible stop, Pelly’s crossing with 300 full time residents, it boasts of something historical but, just another underwhelming mining town we whizzed through that one as well.  Moose Creek Lodge looked interesting but there was not a campsite there.

As we entered Dawson City, which appeared to be nothing more than a huge pile of rocks was about as inviting as a tooth ache.  Upon entering the town we pass Bonanza Gold RV Park and Gold Rush RV campground, Walmart’s parking lot was more enticing.  As we continue driving through town it was reminiscent of Placerville, Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm or a movie set of Bonanza with facades and the only the appearance of authenticity.  Our only reason for being here is to cross the river- no bridge to reach the city of Chicken and Tok.  We opted for the Yukon River Government Campground, a beautiful site tucked among poplar, cottonwood and spruce trees, our site was right at rivers edge.  The only problem was that upon reaching the ferry to cross the Yukon river there was a torrential down pour that felled many of the cotton wood trees, blocking some of the road and campsites.  We were cranky, exhausted from the tension of the week and tired from the long days drive.

The following morning, Sunday July 8, 2012, the sun was shining, no clouds in sight the air, crisp and fresh and the river glistened like diamonds.

Yukon river campground.

Maps in hand, we bid Murphy farewell and began our Dawson City journey.  The Klondikes Active Transport and Trails Society developed a 2.5km trail called 9th Ave. trail that led us through the overgrown gold rush neighborhood.  Although remnants of he original dwellings could be found there, we didn’t see any as the entire hill was covered with lush wild flowers and new growth.  The trail as indicated led to 9thAve. or the main town where we shared halibut, salmon & cod chowder at Sourdough* Joe’s.

I have to wait here and watch them eat?

Gun and Ammo Shop

Then, following the self guided walking tour of the original town dwellings, we found Jack London’s (replica) cabin, Straight’s Second Hand or Guns and Ammo Building and the Locomotive Shelter and more.

*sourdough’s=Klondike veteran miners

A reasonable facsimile

  Pleasantly surprised by the sites and glorious weather, our moods were softened.