Day 12 – Steamboat graveyard and south on the Klondike Highway toward Whitehorse.

It was agreed that we should again reroute due to incoming harsh weather and the ferry strike going on The Marine Highway. The original route was to go across the ferry at Dawson City and follow the Top of the World Highway and the Taylor Highway to Tok, Alaska. Go south along the Alaska Highway along the Haines Highway to Haines, Alaska and take the ferry to Skagway. With the ferry strike it was decided to go south to Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada and directly to Skagway, Alaska via the South Klondike Highway.

Waking up early we drove into town and ate breakfast at Belinda’s Restaurant for some good ole pancakes and eggs.

After breakfast we parked along Front Street and walked to the ferry crossing of the Yukon River and crossed to walk to the Sternwheeler Graveyard located past the campground on the west side of the river. Tucked into the trees you will find the wooden remains of seven paddlewheelers. Once the primary mode of transportation in the region, these were abandoned when other transportation options became more popular.

 

Scuttled off the side of the river this graveyard hulking remains of wooden paddlewheel ships are broken and damage hulks that looks as though they were crashed onto shore. Most of the wrecks have collapsed but a few of the ships are still intact enough to explore, and many of the paddlewheels remain thanks to their metal skeletons.

After this interesting exploration of the ships it was time to walk back and head south toward Whitehorse. An interesting trip we are now doing in reverse from a few days ago on the way to The Dempster Highway.

 

Arriving back in Carmaks it was time to stop for gas and pickup a few things at the adjacent store. After shopping it was time for a quick lunch in the parking lot before continuing on to the destination for the night, Lake Leberge.

 

Lake Laberge is a widening of the Yukon River north of Whitrehorse. At 31 miles (50 k) long and from 1.25 to 3 miles (2 to 5 k) wide its water is always very cold, and its weather often harsh and variable. Its English name comes from 1870 commemorating the first French-Canadian to explore the Yukon in 1866, Michel LaBerge. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries winter sternwheelers carrying goods early in the shipping season on Lake Laberge regarded the lake as trouble, as it was one of the last areas of the river to thaw of ice.

 

Entering the campground it was signed as full but we continued around to see if there might be an empty campsite and to see the lake. Luckily a husband and wife were packing up to leave and asked if we wanted the campsite. We said thank you yes and waited 20 minutes as they packed up. What a wonderful camping spot, very close to the lake with a beautiful view from the site. Now for a nice dinner and to sit by the lakeshore and enjoy the scenery with peace and quiet.

 

Sa far this trip has just been outstanding and I suspected it would continue on this way.

 

Day 6 – Campbell Highway, Klondike Highway and onto the Dempster.

After an easy breakfast we left camp about 8:30 to continue along Canada Highway 4, The Campbell Highway following old fur trade routes. This 362-mile (5983 km) paved but mostly gravel road will lead to Highway 2, the Klondike Highway,  for the adventure to the far reaches of the Northwest Territories and the Arctic Ocean along the Dempster Highway.

The highway is named after the first white man to explore the Yukon area, John Campbell, this all season road leads from Watson Lake to just north of Carmacks on Klondike Highway (2). This rougher road is shorter in distance than continuing along to the junction of the Alaskan Highway and the Klondike Highway but it is much slower. Services are few and far between along this highway.

Stopping at several overlooks of the Yukon River we noticed several small dots moving along the river. Canoeists were floating and paddling with the current, their boats loaded down with camping gear. Now that looks like a great adventure to make (another bucket list item).

We are now in a landmass named Beringia stretching from eastern Siberia, through Alaska, and to the Yukon. This area was not covered in glaciers at the time of the Ice Age but was an area of dry, dusty, treeless Steppe where you could see Bison, wild ponies, Wooly Mammoths among other animals. During the ice age the water level dropped 425 feet (130 m) creating Beringia, the land bridge between Russia and North America.

Making it to the the Klondike Highway I stopped at a scenic overlook and made lunch. What a delightful place to eat.

It was decided early that this day would be another drive day to make it to the Dempster Highway quickly as a storm was moving into the area. Wanting good weather in Tuktoyaktuk we pressed on making it to the start of the Dempster at about 4:30 in the afternoon. Filling with gas at the intersection we continued about 70 miles to stop and camp at the end of a emergency airstrip. Pulling far off the end of the runway and completely off the marked airstrip we set up camp at 7:00.

PLANNING PART 3 – Leaving Dawson for Skagway, AK and home

Lets go on an Adventure

ADVENTURE – An exciting, daring, bold, risky or very unusual experience or undertaking fraught with physical, financial or psychological risks.

Any ideas of what to visit in the areas I am traveling would be appreciated, not all sites are noted somewhere, secret spots abound. And if you share these secret spots with me to enjoy I will not post where they are but will relish in the beauty around me and be grateful you trust me with this shared this information.

 

Leaving Dawson I will ferry across the Yukon River, A major waterway in this area that is the 3rd longest river in the U.S. Heading west along Canadian Highway 9 to the border crossing into Alaska Crossing at a small border station I shall continue along Highway 5, The Taylor Highway, to pass Chicken, AK and finally end at the junction with Highway 2, The Alaskan Highway, to head southeast.

Dawson 2 Skagway 2017-11-17 at 1.52.06 PM

Crossing back into Canada I will continue then south along Canadian Highway 1 to visit Destruction Bay and Kluane National Park and Reserve.

kluane-PIC00016-edited

Kluane Lake from Google

Not much further I will turn at Haines Junction on Highway 3 toward the city of Haines, AK. I understand Haines Highway is a very scenic drive and is a perfect road to take on my way to the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry to Skagway, AK.

 

I have always enjoyed my time in Skagway with the cruises but have never stayed longer than 6-8 hours. I cannot wait to relax and explore the town after the cruise ships have departed. For 2 nights I will stay in this town to explore the many sites I have been rushed through or not been able to see.

Skagway-8

From this point of the adventure south I have not been lucky in finding many sites to visit. If anyone has driven these roads please let me know about interesting or scenic places along the route.

Skagway 2 Barkerville 2017-11-17 at 1.53.32 PM

After this short respite I will head north up the Klondike Highway back into Canada and again turn east around Carcroos onto Highway 8 to Highway 1 then south on Highway 97. Visiting Salmon Glacier – Granduc Mine then turning off onto Highway 26, I will visit the living history museum of Barkerville.

Barkerville

Barkerville from Google

“Today, the extraordinary town of Barkerville (named in Billy’s honour) still stands as testament to BC’s golden beginnings. With a unique streetscape of 125+ heritage buildings, authentic displays, satellite museums, restaurants, shops and accommodations there is still so much to explore. Declared a National Historic Site of Canada in 1924 and a Provincial Heritage Property in 1958, Barkerville is now the largest living-history museum in western North America, where exciting seasonal events and fun-filled daily activities await.” from Barkerville Historic Town website.

Returning back to Highway 97 I will visit some of the Provincial Park’s scattered along this Highway and then turn toward Kamloops, British Columbia to explore Highway 5A, I hear it is one of the areas scenic motorcycle roads.

I will enter back into the United States at Abbotsford and head down Interstate 5 to Vancouver, WA for another stop to visit my son and family before heading back south to Southern California along the Washington, Oregon and California coast, Highway 101.

2 Home 2017-11-17 at 1.53.58 PM

There you have it a 45 day long adventure that I am looking forward to.

2017-10-31 OverallMap