Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dawson City, Yukon

     This is the last post of our original journey as when we depart here we will be retracing our path through the rest of the ALCAN back to Dawson Creek, B.C.  From there we will head SE into Alberta to visit some spectacular parks along the Rockies. 
     Dawson City, YT is the northernmost point on the Yukon's Klondike Highway.  It is the hub of 88% of the Yukon's gold production.
     The town remains authentic, not just due to tourism, but also to the mining, outfitters, and river trade.  Gone are the familiar fishing wheels that used to adorn the river banks as the King Salmon fishery the area thrived on for years has gone into steep decline.  In fact, Yukon Fish and Game has outlawed all King Salmon fishing on the Yukon this year.  Nearly all the surrounding roads are lined with rocks and boulders as a result of tailings from gold mining here.  All the town streets are compacted dirt and gravel. 

     The buildings stand as they have for many years, some kept restored just for historic value.  There are stores, shops, mercantile, hotels, outfitters, trading posts, a mortuary, a university, and even a boarding house or two.  All the sidewalks are board work construction, probably to combat the seemingly never ending mud here. 

     Although newer homes exist the emphasis here is on survival during brutal winters, not architecture or landscaping. There are only 91 frost free days each year.  In fact several homes are still nearly original equipment.

     At one time the Yukon River was home to 70 paddle wheelers and still home to two that are in service. 

     Two of the main attractions are the Grand Palace Theatre and Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall, a still functioning casino. 
     Dawson City is also the home of Robert Service, a famous British Canadian poet and Jack London, the famed novelist of "Call of the Wild" & "White Fang" fame.  The Jack London Museum is actually quite fascinating with a replica of his original cabin & cache as well as an impressive display of his pictures, memorabilia, and works. 

     We stayed (with permission) at a gravel pit south of town and boondocked off our battery bank and generator for a couple of days.  The rain didn't see fit to subside as celebration to our visit.  We ate in town twice, both times at the Downtown Hotel Jack London Grill which had excellent food (French Dip & Club Sandwiches to die for and great breakfasts) at decent prices. 
This post made possible by the FREE internet at a nearby gas station here (which translates to a single hour free or $5 CDN per day in Canada).  Unless something unusual or spectacular happens, our next post will be from the Canadian Rockies south of Dawson Creek in about 7 days. 

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