Dawson Creek, Dawson City, Yukon, Whitehorse

August 2, 2009,    We left off in Dawson Creek, an area seeped with the history of the 11,000 men who built the 1400 mile Alcan (Alaskan) highway back in 1942 in only 9 months-- a Herculean effort under extreme conditions.  It is hard to fathom the accomplishment.  We headed out of Dawson Creek to Muncho Lake and landed a campsite overlooking the azure waters of the lake with some float planes and mountains in the background, a lovely, serene spot.  We headed out early the next morning and were rewarded with our first bison sighting.  --saw a total of 35 to 40 including 9 calves.  I decided to make a concerted effort to find some Stone sheep, since we were going to be leaving their territory soon.  Within minutes, I spotted one on a mountainous ledge.  She posed several minutes for pictures.  Next stop was Laird River Hotsprings.  As we approached the springs on the boardwalk, the vegetation changed to tropical in nature, many ferns.  Sign warned you not to leave the boardwalk due to bears in the area.  We were happy the bears understood not to attack if you were on the boardwalk, but we made it to the springs without incident.  The contrast between the cool air (50 degrees) and the warm water (108-126 degrees) was delightful and it was hard to leave.

Most of the restaurants along this highway have bakeries.  I had started an informal search for the best rhubarb pie, which I found at Dawson Peak Resort in Teslin,  and Alan discovered bumbleberry pie (apples, rhubarb and blackberries). Both were equally delicious--treasures found.

Next we made it into Whitehorse, a fairly large city (pop. 25,000) for these parts.  We stumbled onto the Copper Moon Gallery--a coop of 35 local artist with phenomenal diversity and talent.  Probably one of the best galleries of this type either of us have ever seen.  The curator told us about Artic Char--sort of a cross between salmon and trout.  Luckily we found some in a local market, moist and flavorful --another great discovery.  The highlights of the area were the SS Klondike and the salmon step ladders.  The Klondike was the biggest stern wheeler ever built to bring people and freight up the Yukon River.  A ranger led tour provided us with great insights to the past.  The ladders (the world's longest)  help the salmon go back upstream to spawn and bypass the hydro electric dam which now blocks the river.  In Whitehorse, the temperature soared to 100 degrees with the evening temps around 50.  After a couple of days we decided to head north to seek out colder weather.

Twenty miles north of town we saw a sign for 'Mom's Bakery'.  This is half way between no place and neverland.  We hadn't seen anything for miles.  Intrigued we turned off the highway and drove down a dirt road for another two miles before we saw the bakery.  Trying to figure out how she had stayed in business for 26 years in this desolate spot we learned that she owns 3 active gold mines which have been in the family for 3 generation--so maybe it doesn't matter how many cinnamon buns she sells.  We loaded up on goodies and hit the trail.  We stopped for the evening at Fox Lake.  This time of the year the days are very long which explains why Alan was fishing at midnight and I was up until 1:30 AM (way past my bedtime).  The lake was magical with the golden sky silhouetting the trees and mountains.   It was such a compelling view, I couldn't go to sleep until exhaustion won out--to top it off Alan caught his first grayling there.

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