Day 9: Fort Nelson, BC to Whitehorse, YT (951km, 6974km total)
Finally, this was the North we were looking for! Back on the Alaska Highway, the scenery opened up into the far northern end of the Canadian Rockies, towering stone peaks I would have loved to climb if I ever had the chance again.
We were isolated enough though that even car-window wildlife watching was possible. Mountain goats would wander straight into traffic, giving the perfect opportunity to see them up close and personal.
One of the more notable roadside attractions on the way to Alaska is the Signpost Forest. Started by a bored soldier in World War II, it has grown to tens of thousands of signs, license plates and plaques from around the world. I should have brought one…
More of the Yukon… I REALLY want to come back here when I can leave the road and experience this spectacular nature!
Unfortunately there is little I can recommend about the capital city, Whitehorse. Despite being a tourist outpost and the largest city in the Canadian Arctic, the downtown is quiet and boring, and the largest hotel is a filthy wreck. I would rather have stayed in an abandoned hotel than this one… it would be cleaner, and less full of unsavoury characters. I didn’t take any pictures of the shithole so this will have to do:
At first we thought we’d stay in Whitehorse two nights, take the scenic train out to Skagway for the day today or something. But this place is just too disgusting — it’s so bad we have to change around the whole trip! So we booked a place in Dawson City last minute, knowing it can’t be any worse… maybe it won’t be quite so rotten there.
Day 10: Whitehorse to Dawson City, Yukon (532km, 7506km total)
We left the infested hotel as quickly as we possibly could this morning. As one last parting gesture of inhospitality, even the breakfast they put out cold in the lobby was growing its own boreal forest of blue-green mold. I’m not sure if they serve beer in Hell, but I don’t doubt these greenberry muffins are on the menu.
Just out of town toward the Klondike road, we stopped for breakfast at a roadhouse. Their speciality, 1-kilogram cinnamon buns, were amazing and FAR better than the hotel’s rotten tableau.
Why did the wolf puppy cross the road?
Because there’s rainbows on the other side! Of course there would be — Dawson City was the centre of the Klondike gold rush of 1898-99.
I’m not sure how much of this is tourist façade and how much is the actual city, but Dawson really looks like the old West, with wooden clapboard downtown and dusty mud streets of saloons and gambling houses.
I tried my fortunes tonight at Diamond-Tooth Gertie’s blackjack tables… just like 115 years of drunken gamblers before me, I lost all the cash I brought. Which doesn’t make me any less happy to be here on a warm, sunny Arctic night!