Nearly 550 km of loneliness
(Zum deutschen Beitrag.)One week of our highlights tour through Alaska and Yukon is already over. Today will be a “driving” day. It´s a long way from Dawson to Whitehorse.
It´s a lovely day, clear blue sky and just a bit below zero. We leave Dawson early by the Klondike Highway. It is a Sunday and there seems to be no one else on the streets everything is closed, we are happy that we drank a cup of coffee in our room before we left.
No one? Yes, there is somebody! Shortly after we have passed the city sign a moose cow is standing right next to the road. But she is a bit camera shy and vanishes into the scrub.
For miles and miles we pass gravel moulds that were raised there by prospectors. It looks a bit depressing, but nature captures the moulds back. Some are already overgrown. Did the gold seekers get rich?
Many kilometers we more or less drive next to the Klondike River. It is an impressing landscape. Quite often there are signs not to stop and leave the vehicle due to landslides. Now and again we see some, partially with huge trees or rocks. I better take my pictures from inside the moving car…
After around 2 hours driving we arrive at a scenic point, high above the Tintina Trench, an unbelievable wide plain with high snowy mountains in the far background. What a huge range and no human settlement to be seen.
Again we drive through an area that was devastated by an immense blast a couple of years ago. The pioneer fauna is already there, so it must be quite a while since the extermination of all life. Above the mountains at the horizon some huge clouds are forming, one looks like a fume cloud that rises from a volcano.
It gets lonelier and lonelier around us; it´s rare that we see another car passing by. Shortly after 11 am we arrive at Moose Creek Lodge. The coffee is good, the freshly baked tartlets still warm and even better and the whole location is rustic and an eye catcher. There should always be time for a coffee break!
Meanwhile we see the Yukon river again and we stop a scenic point above the famous Five Finger Rapids. We could walk down over many steps, but the weather has changed, an ice-cold wind is blowing and it looks like rain. I think the view from here is much better from here anyway. A bald eagle is calling high above our heads.
In Carmacks we fill our gas tank, we should get to Whitehorse without refueling, but who has read my blog “ There is no gas in the desert” knows that we are a lot more cautious when we know that there will be a great “nothingness” ahead of us.
The second time today we have to pass a blasted area, this time it happened in 1998, but nature already tries to reforest the environment.
Again we stop at a scenic point, this time at the wonderfully blue Fox Lake that must be a gorgeous sight when the sun is out. Today with all these grey clouds we can just imagine how nice it will look. Just at the moment when I want to get out of the car a porcupine comes out of the underbrush. A porcupine! Normally nocturnal, but this one seems to be hungry and absolutely unperturbed by us.
The road gets worse by the minute, it´s only gravel and lots of potholes. Our car has gotten a real patina.
Shortly before Whitehorse we arrive at the junction to Takhini Hot Springs. When not driving myself I got accustomed to have my camera ready for snap shots and that pays off right now. A coyote crosses the road right before our car, sniffles into the air and vanishes between the trees. I got it, amazing!
We turn right as we won´t miss the little open air swimming pool that get´s it´s water from some hot springs. The pools are nicely heated between 38° and 42° Celsius. We are not the only ones, it is really full. Everything is quite simple, a changing room, showers and some lockers. And then up into the pool! It´s splendid!
Well soaked and pleasantly relaxed we head on to Whitehorse that is only a short distance away. Whitehorse is the capital of the Yukon Territories and has more or less 27.000 inhabitants. Our hotel, the Westmark is situated in the city centre. It drizzles but we would like to explore the city anyway.
After our experiences with restaurants in Dawson we know that we have to queue for a good dinner. So our first visit is to the “Klondike Rib & Salmon Restaurant”, where we get on the waiting list. Then we walk up and down the streets in the city centre. Here as well we find lots of old colorful wooden houses. Find more about it in my next blog!
Waiting for a seat was not in vain. Dinner was really good and plenty. The Yukon Gold beer does its best, we a thoroughly tired.
Read more about our trip next week, getting back to Alaska or may be not? Snow is said to come…