Drove into Dawson City on the Yukon River today. It felt just like driving onto a movie set. The town has preserved the essence of the goldrush era…the buildings, banks, bakery and taverns have a traditional boom town style – complete with plank board sidewalks and dirt streets. The Milepost tells of the Tr’ondek Hwech’in people who lived here for millennia in this vast area of the Yukon and the surrounding mountains. In the late 1990’s, Tr’ondek Hwech’in negotiated a return to self-governance and their fish camp (Moosehide Village is located just down the river from Dawson City) has been designated as a Heritage Site.
For the first time in many days, we found internet connections and decided to spend some time in the Dawson City Library to publish this blog and check on my summer online Astronomy students. This effort was thwarted with spotty connection and WordPress frustration! Note to self: If your iPhone pictures are in ‘live’ mode, or you have inadvertently taken a blast of 20 photos in a row, you are going to experience extreme exasperation as you wait for the site to download the ‘undownloadable’ images to your blog. Now that we have figured this out, the process is getting much smoother.
We walked around town, visited the general store, bought some bread and our Yukon stickers, found the community radio station (thought of you, Dale…) and visited the Midnight Dome – a local paragliding site. Unfortunately, the weather was not our friend and flying was not an option…but that just means we will have to come back again someday!
Leaving Dawson City, we crossed the Yukon via ferry and headed out to navigate the Top of the World Highway, another stretch of mostly gravel road leading to the most northerly land border port in the United States. Just after leaving Canada, we arrived in Chicken, Alaska! Chicken, you ask? Yes, Chicken. Why? Well…the story says the guys who named the town wanted to call it Ptarmigan. Ptarmigan is difficult word. Chicken is much easier to spell and in this part of Alaska, the ptarmigan tastes just like chicken.
The gravel roads in Canada were very well kept, but those in the US were much bumpier. The border crossing was smooth, though and the border agent was friendly. She warned us about the road construction/repair just outside Chicken (by the way, Chicken’s population is 23 in summer, 7 in winter).
From Chicken, we continued on the Taylor Highway to an area just outside Tok, Alaska where we camped at Moon Lake Recreational Area – our first Alaskan campsite. We had delicious green beans with chili paste and pine nuts just the way I make them at home, gourmet ramen noodles with poached eggs, and watched the northern Sun set over the lake at 10:30 PM.
Note to my reader – I know this post is unusually long, and I promised not to bore you…but, sometimes there are too many stories to tell. Shorter posts to follow. 😊
Day 8 – 275 mi…crossed the mighty Yukon on a tiny ferry today!