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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dawson City, Yukon ~The Klondike Gold!!


Active Gold Mine
Active Sourdought Miner in Action!!
It drizzled during the night and getting up this morning meant that the road to Dawson would be muddy. We filled the water and dumped the gray tank. Out of the valley… and we started up to a winding climb into the mountains. The mud was messy, but not greasy, which made the trip actually better. We slowed down to 30 miles per hour and enjoyed the scenery. The gravel part of the road is only 30 miles long from the town of Chicken to the border. At about the 15 mile mark the road dried up, but we were now accustomed to the slower speed and continued to enjoy the great distance views. No traffic at all to this point. In a distance, we viewed our first car which was stopped. They were watching a herd of Caribou crossing the road. I had time to go back into the camper, get my long lens and capture a few pics of them. The sun is now breaking between the clouds. So far so good, the “Top of the World Highway” is being kind to us. The ravines are now more predominant with 2000 to 3000 foot drop offs usually, with a creek snaking around the mountains. At mile marker 80, we descended down to the valley floor to a creek with a sign BLM land. (Bureau of Land Management). Soon after, we started to see claim markers and people panning for gold, some places have excavators, screening machines, some places had sluice boxes with small pumps. At mile marker 89, it was time for me to pan for gold with my good luck Frisbee. I did find gold. I can’t tell you how much the gold was worth, but I can tell you, I bought Helen some gold earrings today, so help me God!

Life on the Yukon River... It's Great!!
The border crossing was a simple task. The border crossing has changed considerably since I passed here some 25 years ago. Back then, there was only one small building and now several buildings. The road is now paved. This might seem like an improvement, but it was not. The pavement has pot holes that had no bottoms. One could be drunk… and it would seem normal to see us dogging the holes.

On one high mountain pass, we spotted a lone biker taking a picture of the majestic views. He waived I waived and drove past him down a hill. I noticed that he was coming down the hill also and stopped to talk to him. I said, “How can you do such a long trip here in the middle of nowhere?” He said, “It’s what I do.” He also said that he started in Anchorage and wanted to go to Dawson, but his final destination is San Francisco. He said he was from the Netherlands, and he might stay at the Territorial Yukon River campground. We drove on and wished him luck.

Dawson was view as we descended down a long mountain to the Yukon River. The George Black Ferry was across the river and heading our way. Now this ferry is not your typical ferry with a nice concrete loading dock. The ferry comes across the mighty Yukon pointing upstream and chugging along as the swift current pushes the ferry down river. The captain does one of those orbital swings to the other side, it sort of like playing pool and put English on the ball. The landing area is a bulldozed gravel area. He keeps the engine running… they lower the steel ramp and you drive on or off.

Dawson is a romantic historical town. Many of the old building are still standing from the 1890s’ gold rush days. The town back then was heavily populated… at one time, it was the largest city north of San Francisco on the west coast. Every kind of business was established back then, including brothels, bars, anything that the prospectors could spend their money was located in the area. Today, the atmosphere seems to be the same, but tourists are the mark.
Migrating Caribou Herd!

We had Alaskan Halibut for lunch at Sourdough Joe’s Restaurant and talked to a motorcycle couple who had been up to Inuvik yesterday. They said that one section of the road was really bad. He had to let a pickup truck go ahead to make a rut for his bike to climb seven mile hill. We are planning to head up that way tomorrow. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring all of the downtown in Dawson. There was plenty to visit. We both looked at getting a haircut, but they were kind of pricy… so we will wait.

We self-registered at the Territorial Yukon River campground and got a site right on the river’s edge. Neat…

That is what we did and saw

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