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2008 Yukon (TTS) <))) *

yukon
- This is the original show. Too many pictures (385) for Android browsers. The following are 3 smaller segments.

Yukon - part 1 - Whitehorse, Dawson
Yukon - part 2 - Canoeing the Yukon R.
Yukon - part 3 - Kluane, Atlin, home

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2008 Jul 12-30, Yukon trip.
* Air: Pearson-Vancouver-Whitehorse
* Sidetrips: Carcross, Skagway
* Dawson with Miriam and Adoni
* Teslin-Yukon River canoe trip
* Miriam and Adonis, Chilkoot Pass
* Side trips: Kluane Park, Atlin, B.C.

2008-07-12 - Departure for Yukon.

websrch:whitehorse map


2008-07-12 - Walkabout, Whitehorse,

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08-07-12 - July 12, Saturday. We arrive in Whitehorse mid-afternoon, pick up our rental car and register at the Best Western hotel. Plenty of time left for a walk around the town. Heading towards the Yukon River we end up at the Klondike, a restored stern-wheeler.

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08-07-12 - The pails are to hold water for fire-control. Since the roof of the cabin is waterproofed with painted canvas, sparks from the ships boilers could have been a problem.

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08-07-12 -

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08-07-12 - Whitehorse is a large town and has every kind of shopping and commercial facility, even its own transit system. It caters to tourists but clearly has a life of its own after the tourists go home.

2008-07-13 - Drive to Skagway.

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08-07-13 - July 13, Sunday. We drive to Skagway, Alaska.

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08-07-13 -

The Carcross desert.

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08-07-13 - En route the most interesting thing is the Carcross Desert, a large area of sand dunes on the Whitehorse side of the town. This was formed out of wind-blown sand in pre-historic times and today is still mobile enough to inhibit tree growth.

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08-07-13 -

Carcross town. This town is the present day northern terminus of the Yukon and White Pass Railroad. The tracks continue on to Whitehorse but haven't been maintained recently.

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08-07-13 - The surrounding peaks are higher towards the Canada-US border but the view is still spread wide across lakes, rocky uplands and foothills.

On the road to Skagway.

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08-07-13 - Bove Island. Near the border and the White Pass, clouds and mists roll in and the view gets squeezed between steep valley walls.

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08-07-13 - Over the White Pass. Lower visibility here. we're now on the rainy side of the coastal range.

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08-07-13 - The descent to Skagway is a long downhill roller-coaster ride.

Skagway town.

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08-07-13 - Skagway harbour, "The Carnival Spirit" This is one of the northern stopping points of cruise ships coming up from the US west coast and Vancouver.

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08-07-13 - Skagway itself is a sort of Niagara-on-the-Lake of the north Pacific coast. A kind of period theme park made up of souvenir and jewellery stores catering to the tour boats tied up in the harbour.

Excursion, Yukon and White Pass RR.

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08-07-13 - Tickets are still available on the White Pass excursion train. So we climb aboard, along with a few thousand tour boat passengers.

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08-07-13 -

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08-07-13 - We head back up the pass we've just come down in the car. Up hair-raising embankments.

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08-07-13 -

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08-07-13 - Through tunnels.

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08-07-13 - Past ruined trestles, over high, spindly bridges, we grind up the narrow gauge line toward the US-Canada border near the head of the pass.

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08-07-13 - US-Canadian border, unfortified

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08-07-13 - NWMP post.

Skagway-bound excursion train.

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08-07-13 - Near the border we wait for an earlier train to pass us going back down.

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08-07-13 - Ah, the charisma of steam locomotives. I wanted to be an engine driver when I was a kid.

Return trip to Skagway.

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08-07-13 - Lynn Canal visible on the right. Skagway is situated on Lynn Canal, which is an arm of the Pacific Ocean.

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08-07-13 -

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08-07-13 - Passengers are allowed to linger between the coaches to breathe the diesel-scented mountain air, and to take pictures.

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08-07-13 - Picking up a group of hikers. These hikers have completed their climb up to a nearby glacier and are now wating for the train to take them back to Skagway.

Back in Skagway.

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08-07-13 - In Skagway again, we continue our walk, checking out shop windows and interesting buildings, before beginning the drive back to Whitehorse.

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08-07-13 - After the tourists return to their ships, the town takes on a sparse, abandoned look. The locals probably have their own favourite shopping emporiums, away from the main streets.

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08-07-13 - Portal.

Driving back toward Whitehorse.

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08-07-13 - Looking Canada-wards.

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08-07-13 - The weather improves east of the mts.

Whitehorse.

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08-07-13 - By the time we get back to our hotel, Miriam and Adonis have arrived.

2008-07-14 - Walkabout, Whitehorse.

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08-07-14 - July 14, Monday. We meet Miriam and Adonis for breakfast. We all go on a walk downtown and visit Starbuck's.

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08-07-14 - At Starbuck's. The town has a definite west coast feel, particularly when the sun is shining and the outdoor cafes fill up.

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08-07-14 - Backstreet bike shop.

Whitehorse walk with Miriam and Adoni.

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08-07-14 - North, downriver toward Dawson. In the afternoon we take a long walk along the airport perimeter fence. The airport is built on an ancient river bank high above the town.

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08-07-14 - Our hotel (Best Western, grey).

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08-07-14 - Klondike stern-wheeler visible.

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08-07-14 - South, toward the power station. The walk along the edge of this bank gives fine views of Whitehorse and the Yukon River. We make plans to head north to Dawson tomorrow.

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08-07-14 -

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08-07-14 - The Robert W. Service Parkway.

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08-07-14 - Showers chasing (not catching) us.

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08-07-14 - Heading for the Bering Strait.

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08-07-14 - Wild roses, Yukon's emblem.

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08-07-14 - Now, where was that coffee shop? We're in caffeine crisis mode after our walk.

2008-07-15 - On the road to Dawson.

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08-07-15 - July 15, Tuesday. On the road to Dawson.

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08-07-15 - Braeburn Lodge, home of giant danish. our first stop is at Braeburn lodge, a roadside watering place where the danish buns are the size of dinner plates.

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08-07-15 - Five Fingers Rapids, Yukon R. Steamers winched themselves upstream at Five Fingers Rapids, using steel cables. We make an extended stop here to venture down a trail to the water overlooking this famous navigation hazard. Today a few canoes dart through the rapids going downstream, but keeping to the more tranquil middle of the white-water channels.

Dawson.

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08-07-15 - Yukon R. and ferry upstream

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08-07-15 - Yukon River embankment. At Dawson we visit the travel bureau and ask them to find us the cheapest hotel, with the most character.

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08-07-15 - Accomodation, the Midnight Sun Hotel They oblige and we're soon lodged in fairly basic digs within a mere bottle's throw of one of Dawson's rowdier saloons.

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08-07-15 - Notwithstanding, we set off on our usual walkabout, threading unpaved streets with wooden sidewalks.

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08-07-15 -

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08-07-15 - School of Visual Arts.

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08-07-15 - Masonic Temple. Some of the buildings are startlingly colourful, some in course of restoration, some decrepit, some active businesses.

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08-07-15 - Not a PhotoShop trick.

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08-07-15 - Robert W. Service once worked here.

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08-07-15 - Another museum steamboat, the Keno

Theatre performance, Dawson.

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08-07-15 - We end up at the Palace Grand theatre where a musical pageant is playing.

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08-07-15 - She plays a mean piano.

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08-07-15 - Children have come in from all over the region to perform in a fiddle opera about children from pioneer days who have magically come back from the dead to tell present day kids what life way back then was all about.

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08-07-15 - Friends and family of the performers.

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More walkabout, Dawson.

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08-07-15 - All this walking about is making me feel restless. Something is missing from our lives. Do you feel it too Adoni?

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V10-11-10 - Phantom staircase Aha, or maybe, Eureka! We've found it. Not here, down the street: a friendly hostelry with beer on tap.

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08-07-15 - Half full or half empty? How should I know? Am I a philosopher? ... Well, YES, actually.

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08-07-15 - Dinner after the theatre. Quite a nice dinner that evening in a back street gourmet resto. This is Dawson theatre district, Yukon Territory, remember? Not Toronto downtown.

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08-07-15 - Show me the way to go home. I'm tired and I want to go to bed. I had a little drink about an hour ago, and it's gone right to my head. That's what the kitty was singing, I swear it.

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08-07-15 -

2008-07-16 - Drive up Midnight Dome.

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08-07-16 - July 16, Wednesday. In the morning we drive to the top of Midnight Dome, a viewpoint above the town. The view, for me, is quintessentially Yukon Territory. This viewpoint was also utilized back in pioneer days.

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08-07-16 - A huge river, the Yukon, stretches from horizon to horizon, hurrying to the Bering Strait. Mountains surround us on all sides, but these are the rounded mountains of a geologically old landscape. We also see history, in distant glimpses of the tailings left from goldrush days, up Bonanza Creek.

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08-07-16 -

Bonanza Creek dredge.

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08-07-16 - That afternoon we drive to Bonanza Creek to see the old gold workings. Parks Canada has restored a huge dredge, but this is not open today.

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08-07-16 -

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A walk up Bonanza Creek.

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08-07-16 - Claim jumper. We content ourselves with a walk upstream on this historic creek.

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08-07-16 - Dredge tailings. These were produced by the gravel ejected from the back of the dredge as it moved forward. They could cover a large area in a back and forth pattern.

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08-07-16 -

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08-07-16 - Small-scale mining still acive. From the sound of machinery, off to the side of the road, small-scale mining operations are still going on.

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08-07-16 -

Back in Dawson.

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08-07-16 -

Robert Service cabin.

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08-07-16 - In the evening, Merle and I visit the Robert Service cabin on a back street where a young man gives readings and tells the author's story.

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08-07-16 - Animator gives Service readings. This Parks Canada animateur confesses that he had come up here temporarily a few years back, to check things out, but hasn't gotten around to going back south yet.

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08-07-16 - Service liked his comforts.

Diamond Tooth Gertie's gambling saloon.

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08-07-16 - In the evening all four of us drop-in to Diamond Tooth Gertie's Gambling Saloon for the show. Half the audience are gamblers who take no notice of the performance. The rest of us concentrate on the dancers and our drinks.

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08-07-16 - What a sense of priorities.

Backstreet walkabout #3, Dawson.

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08-07-16 - Not horticulturally challenged. Dawson is only about 250km south of the arctic circle. A mere St. Catharines to Toronto drive and back again.

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08-07-16 -

Day 0, Teslin R. canoe trip.
* Back from Dawson.
* Briefing by outfitter.
* Sea-to-Sky Expeditions.
* We get paddles, PFDs and wet bags.

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08-07-17 - Back of our hotel, Whitehorse. July 17, Thursday, day 0. We drive back to Whitehorse from Dawson and unload the rental car. Merle and I have a conference with Sea-to-Sky outfitters this evening, to meet the other trippers and to pick up canoe gear. Miriam and Adonis prepare for their own jaunt on the Chilkoot Pass hike. We'll see them again later to compare notes after we've all finished both trips.

Day 1, Start of canoe trip.
* Wet weather, used Olympus D40 camera.
* Put-in, Johnson's Crossing, Teslin R.
* On the Trans Canada highway.
* Trucked to launch site by outfitter.
* Eight campers, two guides.
* A modest day's paddle, about 30km?

Day 1, Start of canoe trip.

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08-07-18 - Johnson's crossing, Teslin R. July 18, Friday, day 1. We're picked up at our hotel by the outfitter and taken with the other canoe trippers to our put-in point on the Teslin River. This is where the Alaska Highway crosses via the high bridge.

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08-07-18 -

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08-07-18 - Merle and Derek play catch-up. Here the river is wide and opens out into a series of narrow lakes. The current at the start is fairly sedate. With the weather threatening rain, we have a good day's paddle of about 30km ahead of us. After only a few kilometers I begin to remember why I prefer the kayak to the canoe for extended trips. No back rest in the canoe, and with the knees pushed up in front, only my abdominal muscles keep me upright. Nevertheless, these canoes are fast and carry an incredible amount of gear in the two middle compartments.

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08-07-18 - Rafting together for instructions. The group links canoes together for instructions in general safety procedure and paddling techniques. Our equipment has been tied down in a kind of daisy chain, instead of being fastened tightly to the thwarts. This is to keep everything attached to the canoe in the event of a capsize, but to allow a swamped boat to be more easily righted and emptied without the extra weight of the equipment to contend with.

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08-07-18 - Damp lunch stop.

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08-07-18 - This fishing camp is still in use.

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08-07-18 - I think that mountain is following us.

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08-07-18 - Evening camp, whittling. All the comforts of camp. But later, I really began to long for a comfortable chair to sit in. The plastic chair on the right belongs to the campsite. Our fellow tripper in the blue jacket had the foresight to bring his own chair.

Day 2 - Slightly better weather
* Cloudy, but we live in hope.
* Septemberish weather, cold.
* No rain. Canon A640 camera again.

Day 2, Slightly better weather.

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08-07-19 - A ray of hope? July 19, Saturday, day 2. Rains and rains and never stops. Forty days and spoils the crops. Credit that pessimistic line to Flanders and Swan. Well, perhaps it was only drizzle after all.

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08-07-19 - The clouds begin to lift. But only a little bit. We press on through a few brighter patches.

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08-07-19 - Snow on the highest peaks.

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08-07-19 - Group shoulder massage.

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08-07-19 - Those pesky clouds are back.

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08-07-19 -

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08-07-19 - Hoodoos. The hoodoos, here, are eroded riverbanks of compacted silt and gravel.

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08-07-19 - Cliff swallow nests.

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08-07-19 - Recent snow on the peak.

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08-07-19 - Cutbank. "Cutbank" is the local name for these steep, cut away river banks. They remind us that the ground here in the river valley is mostly alluvial. Very few, if any, rocky outcroppings.

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08-07-19 - According to the old Yukon hands, this weather is distinctly Septemberish. About 50km distance covered today, we're picking up speed despite the weather.

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08-07-19 - Camp.

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08-07-19 - Comfort. I really, really, long for something comfortable to sit on. Something with back support.

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08-07-19 - Evening cloud FX.

Day 3 - Real sunshine.
* Dawns cold but promising. Then sunny.
* Great views, cutbanks, mountains.
* Rafting. Story reading, guide Kelly.
* Good campsite in a spruce park.
* Incredible growth of spagnum moss.

Day 3, Real sunshine.

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08-07-20 - July 20, Sunday, day 3. A cold dawn but promising. Sunny later on.

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08-07-20 - Loading the canoes. We have a calm eddy to load in this morning.

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08-07-20 - A potential "strainer". Keep a watch for trees dipping down into the water. To brush against them with the current moving this fast might be dangerous. The canoe could become trapped, turn sideways, have the downstream side pushed up on the branches and then roll the upstream side under the water.

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08-07-20 - That mountain is STILL followng us. Great views today: cutbanks, hoodoos, mountains on the horizon.

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08-07-20 - Rafting again. Our morning break after a few hours of paddling. We link the canoes together for rest and recreation. Guides Len Webster and Kelly Kurtz read us stories about the north by Robert W. Service and others. We've brought along an entire waterproof duffel bag filled with the camp library.

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08-07-20 - Len Webster, guide. Kelly Kurz, 2nd from right.

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08-07-20 - Merle on the right.

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08-07-20 - Derek, you're way out of the picture.

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08-07-20 - Kelly reads Robert Service.

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08-07-20 - That's an eagle, believe me.

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- See.

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08-07-20 - More cut-banks.

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08-07-20 - Very difficult to land on this kind of riverbank. Danger of landslides. Only a very narrow shelf to step onto. The current is rapid right up against the shore.

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08-07-20 -

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08-07-20 - Lunch stop.

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08-07-20 - The afternoon of the cutbank.

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08-07-20 - Hoodoos

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08-07-20 - Traffic jam on the Teslin.

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08-07-20 - Merle, camping. This evening we find a good campsite in a park of spruce trees with incredible growths of spongy sphagnum moss in the woods. She has on her mosquito-net veil.

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08-07-20 - Kelly studies maps while Judy tends the fire.

Day 4, Maximum distance.
* Rain and drizzle last night.
* Pattering on tent fly. Dry inside.
* Up at 6:30, away by 8:30.
* Drizzle 20km, then cloud FX.
* Lunch on gravel bar. Fast current.
* Camp at Hootalinqua, 75km today.

Day 4, maximum distance.

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08-07-21 - A drizzly start. July 21, Monday, day 4. Rains and drizzles all night. Up at 6:30am for breakfast and away by 8:30. Gloomy and wet for 20km, then the overcast breaks up into statuesque cumuli. More good views of cutbanks and the surrounding mountains.

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08-07-21 - More hoodoos.

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08-07-21 - Hoodoos, Teslin R. At the top of the bank, about 2 or 3 feet below the surface is a lighter layer. This is believed to be volcanic ash from a volcanic eruption in pre-historic times. The effect is noticeable for many kilometers along the river.

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08-07-21 - A day of cloud FX.

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08-07-21 -

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08-07-21 -

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08-07-21 - Lunch stop on a gravel bar. Lunch on a gravel bar that practically invites "Life is a beach" pictures.

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08-07-21 -

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08-07-21 - Our guides, Kelly and Len. This beach was probably under water last week.

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08-07-21 - Life is a ... you know. Or maybe, Lunch is a beach, or, Life is a lunch, or ...

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08-07-21 - Moose tracks on the beach.

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08-07-21 - Get ready for a group shot.

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08-07-21 - Back in the saddle again.

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08-07-21 - Out where a friend is a friend.

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08-07-21 - And the longhorn cattle feed ...

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08-07-21 - On the lowly Jimson weed ... ... Sorry, I'm in the wrong movie. This is a sub-artic saga, not a wild-west adventure.

Day 4, cloud FX.

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08-07-21 - You're such a fine group.

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08-07-21 - You deserve another rafting break. In the afternoon more rafting to help us relax. We miss a few possible campsites by overshooting. Terrific current. Difficult to land without risk of capsizing. We receive instructions from Len and Kelly on a new canoe stroke. I call it the "cut". You paddle along close to the shore, whizzing past at 10 to 15km an hour. At a command from the stern, the bow person thrusts the paddle in, but diagonally forward, holding it against the gunwale. The opposite hand holds the head of the paddle on the outside of the chin to avoid a broken jaw if it strikes something in the water at that speed. Meanwhile the stern-person has angled their paddle diagonally backward. The combined effect of the manoeuvre is to quickly pivot the canoe almost 180 degrees so that you are now facing upstream and headed diagonally shoreward. Vigorous forward paddling against the current ferries the canoe more gently sideways to a landing on shore.

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08-07-21 - Cloudbanks and cutbanks.

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08-07-21 - With likely campsites already taken, we press on downriver to Hootalinqua. This is located at the junction of the Yukon and Teslin Rivers and surrounded by hills and mountains.

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08-07-21 -

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08-07-21 - Teslin, left, enters Yukon, right. Looking back upstream. The river is almost a lake at this point. The water becomes a bluer, almost emerald colour. Hootalinqua townsite, now abandoned except for river runners, is on the bank, behind us.

Hootalinqua campsite.

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08-07-21 - Portal. Hootalinqua is an old townsite with the ruins of several cabins and a telegraph station. We make camp and have dinner at a picnic table overlooking the river.

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08-07-21 -

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08-07-21 -

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08-07-21 - The old telegraph station.

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08-07-21 - 75km today. Looks like we may have a rest day in camp tomorrow.

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08-07-21 - Emerald green. Looking back to where the Yukon and Teslin Rivers merge.

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08-07-21 - They caught 3 grayling. These fish were prepared for our supper. A fisheries patrol came by at this point, but our fishers had their licence in order.

Day 5 - Rest day at Hootalinqua.
* Hike to the top of the bank.
* Wonderful views, the Yukon River.
* Explore ruins of village.
* Affluent tour group arrives by boat.
* Evacuated, float plane to Whitehorse.
* Proletarian paddlers: Good riddance.

Day 5, Hootalinqua rest day.

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08-07-22 - July 22, Tuesday, day 5. We sleep in till 7:30. A day in camp. What to do. High thin clouds with blue patches. Eggs with ham McMuffin for brekkie. Ablutions. Plans are afoot to explore the paths leading inland from the river bank. Some of us decide to climb the bank behind the campsite. Clambering up a steep bank behind the telegraph station, we finally get clear of the woods.

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08-07-22 - Upriver. Very steep red earth banks. Then we bushwhack up moss-covered slopes to a summit on the edge of an old cutbank. Good views of the Yukon and Teslin Rivers merging. I take a panorama picture for assembly back home.

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08-07-22 - Downriver.

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08-07-22 -

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08-07-22 -

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08-07-22 - Collecting firewood. On the way back to camp we decide to let gravity assist us gathering firewood.

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08-07-22 - Old man of the woods. This boreal patriarch carries his insignia of office. Hoot is repopulated in summer time with many groups of paddlers, but there's room for a fair number of tents.

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08-07-22 - Unexpected guests. Derek is wakened from his afternoon beauty sleep by the arrival of a natty, glass-covered tour boat from Whitehorse with ten passengers aboard.

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08-07-22 - Picked up by float plane. The tour boat's ten passengers are picked up by two float-planes. Elegant little birds, but with all those passengers they seem to take forever to get airborne again.

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08-07-22 - The planes have to head up the Teslin River almost at tree level before they disappear, circle, then reappear, coming in the opposite direction at slightly higher altitude.

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08-07-22 - Our people give these "tourists" the slightly stand-offish reception that they richly deserve. Why? for affording a safari that costs more per day than the rest of us have spent on a week's paddling.

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08-07-22 - Bye-bye. And good riddance, a few of our people said. But we ate up the Tim Horton Timbits they left behind on a picnic table.

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08-07-22 - 9:20pm. Our camp is in shadow from the hills in back. But we still have at least another hour of daylight remaining. That evening, stories round the campfire about travel horror shows, bus breakdowns, lost luggage. London, England instead of London, Ontario, that sort of thing. Enough material for a book.

Day 6, Hootalinqua Island.
* Hootalinqua I, steamer graveyard.
* Steamboats pulled out for winter.
* The Norcom, now a ruin.
* Getting better at canoe handling.
* Camp at Big Salmon. Campfire.
* Movie nostalgia. Travel horrors.

Day 6, Hootalinqua Island.

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08-07-23 - July 23, Wednesday, day 6. We leave Hooterlingua for Big Salmon, cloudy-dull. A few minutes paddling downstream and we stop at Hootalinqua Island to view the wreck of the Norcom.

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08-07-23 - The Norcom. This steamer is still up on blocks, but rapidly falling into ruin as the weather disintegrates its woodwork.

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08-07-23 - Stern. Len Webster says he remembers when it was still safe to clamber aboard and explore. Today the whole structure is near collapse. You could fall through the hull with the ship's iron boiler coming down on top of you.

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08-07-23 - Capstan. Used to winch the boats out of the water before freeze-up.

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08-07-23 - The Norcom's boiler.

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08-07-23 - Paddle wheel crankshaft.

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08-07-23 -

Day 6, To a camp near Big Salmon.

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08-07-23 - Off paddling again. More paddling and rafting, rafting and paddling.

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08-07-23 - By dinner time, the sun is sort of peeking through holes in the cloud cover.

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08-07-23 - Hoodoos.

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08-07-23 - Old camp. We make camp above a steep ten foot gravel bank. Merle and I execute the "cut" manoeuvre to perfection this time. Like clockwork. A precision landing on a narrow gravel shelf. Everyone pitches in pitching heavy packs up the bank to where more camper hands are waiting to haul the gear to safety. The canoes are pulled out and tied down. Our tents go up in record time. Golly, we're getting efficient at this.

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08-07-23 -

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08-07-23 - We spend hours nostalgizing about old movies round the campfire this evening.

Day 7, To Twin Creeks.
* Many other canoes on the river.
* Visit Big salmon trading post.
* Cyr's dredge, a ruin.
* Camp at Twin Creeks. 50km today.
* Old dredge site, tailings visible.

Day 7, To Twin Creeks.

Visit Big Salmon trading post.

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08-07-24 - Brief stop to view the remains. July 24, Thursday, day 7. We depart Big Salmon. Cloudy-bright, sunny for ten minutes.

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08-07-24 - The liquor store. This pharmacy is always open.

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08-07-24 - Well-stocked.

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08-07-24 - Trading post and newell post.

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08-07-24 - One of the permanent inhabitants.

Day 7, To Twin Creeks.

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08-07-24 - In the afternoon I try "drafting" behind Kelly, the leader in our formation. Following very closely, no more than ten feet behind another canoe does seem to make progress slightly easier. The downside is that you use up a lot of nervous energy attempting to track the sometimes erratic movements of the leader. I remember trying this during a ten mile footrace in Welland. I accidently stepped on the heel of my windbreak's running shoe, and had to sprint from there on to avoid his wrath.

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08-07-24 - Animal trails? Can you see the tracks on the hillside?

Cyr's dredge.

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08-07-24 - Cyr's dredge. An abandoned placer mine.

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08-07-24 -

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08-07-24 - Caterpillar in the dust. Wasn't that line in a Peter Sellars sketch?

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08-07-24 - La raftsman. Recalls the old Quebecois folksong. We camp at Twin Creeks after the usual "cut" manoeuvre to land the canoes. The current is sluicing by the campsite at about 10km an hour. I drop a paddle over the side and have to leap into the water for it. Luckily only up to the knees. Dry again two hours later. I'm so glad I'm not wearing bluejeans.

Day 7, Camp at Twin Rivers.

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08-07-24 - This is an old dredging site, "windrows" of tailings are still visible under the moss. Another rest day tomorrow. We have only about 20km to go before the final pull out. Some of the others will go on to camp at Carcross where they will continue on down river to Dawson. A retrospective mood around the campfire this evening. We will be parting from the group to head back to Whitehorse. These points in a journey always bring wistful thoughts. About 50km today.

Day 8, Layover.
* Twin Creeks campsite.
* See a moose swim across the river.
* One camper encounters a lynx.
* Too much napping, getting restless.
* Wine for supper.
* Experimenting with videos.

Day 8, Layover.

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08-07-25 - What to do today? July 25, Friday, day 8. Twin Creeks, rest day. It drizzles all night, some sun in the morning. Today, Judy, one of our trippers sees a lynx on the riverbank.

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08-07-25 - Count dewdrops?

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08-07-25 - Check out abandoned cabins? I wander up and down looking at ruined cabins. One is still fixable. This area has quite a few good campsites with firepits and logs arranged for sitting. This reminds me what a hunger I have for somewhere comfortable to sit. Something with a back to lean against. Our Kansas campers have comfy-looking director's chairs, awkward shapes but easy to tie onto the top of a canoe load.

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08-07-25 - Inspect for spiffy biffys? Also note: iffy biffy = grotty potty.

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08-07-25 - Read?

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08-07-25 - Groove on ambiance. There are strange things done in the Land of the Midnight Sun. So, when does the strangeness begin? Too much napping today, restless for action. Wine for supper. Mood subdued, or simply tired? It is the end of this leg of the trip for Merle and I. Four of our number are not going on to Dawson. I sit on the butt of a poplar tree on the riverbank and meditate on the human condition. The river sluices past. Who can step into the same river twice? (Heracleitos) Since we've been camping at this spot, yesterday's water has moved 200 or more kilometers closer to the sea. But the river is still not empty and the sea is not filled. What gives?

Day 9 - last day.
* 7:15am start. 1hr 45min paddle.
* Pull out Little Salmon, pack up.
* Native fishing camp.
* Dawson-bound campers to Carmacks.
* We to Whitehorse.
* Evening reunion, Klondike hikers.

Day 9, Last day.

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08-07-26 - The last few kilometers. July 26, Saturday. Up at 6am for a 7:15 start. One hour, 45 minutes to Little Salmon.

Pull-out at Little Salmon.

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08-07-26 - Cemetery, Little Salmon. Little Salmon is a semi-permanent seasonal fishing camp. We load up the waiting van, inspect the fishing camp and head to Carmacks to drop off those continuing on to Dawson.

2008-07-26 - Drive into Whitehorse.

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08-07-26 - The Yukon River visible on the left as the rest of us continue on from Carmacks to Whitehorse.

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08-07-26 - Harris at the wheel.

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08-07-26 - Pit stop. We pull over at Braeburn Lodge for lunch. We pass up the monster danish buns in favour of nutritious soup and sandwiches.

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08-07-26 -

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08-07-26 - Road construction. On the road back to Whitehorse. Harris, the driver, actually seems to know the flagmen and women along the route.

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08-07-26 - Whitehorse from Best Western. This seen from our hotel room window, looking across the R.C.M.P. parking lot. The usual confusion at the Best Western desk when we arrive, but eventually we're established in our room to sort gear. Miriam and Adonis are at the Yukon Inn.

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08-07-26 - Reunion, Chilkoot and Teslin groups. We've arranged to meet with the returnees from both the Teslin and Chilkoot groups at the Fin and Fur resto for a dinner reunion. This is a mere five hours after saying goodbye to some of them. A good meal: caribou stew. Consolation? We're not voyageurs or coureurs de bois anymore, merely well-fed adventure tourists.

2008-07-27 - Hot springs, Whitehorse.

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08-07-27 - July 27, Sunday. Merle and I walk up the hill to the car rental depot near the airport and drive back down for lunch. We then head out of town for Takhini Hot Springs to soak out the accumulated stiffness of our canoe trip. In line for tickets with scads of Cherman Sprachers.

websrch:whitehorse hot spring



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08-07-27 -

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08-07-27 - My angel. The air in the pool area is cool but the water pleasantly warm, even hot in the inlet area. Distant snow clad peaks on the horizon, many kids playing. It seems that the locals come here as well as the tourists. You can purchase a season pass. Apparently the place is open in the winter. What fun, relaxing after a heavy day of dog-team mushing, snow-machine repairs, or stoking the boilers of abandoned steamboats on the marge of Lake Laberge. Miriam and Adonis are catching a flight home this evening. But we still have two more days for tourist reconaissance, options Kluane and Atlin.

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17-02-26 - We were there. But not in frosty weather.

Lake Laberge and environs.

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08-07-27 - On the way back to Whitehorse we detour to the shores of Lake Laberge. Spectacular spot to camp. Plenty of open water and rocky shorelines to explore. Might even be a good spot to have a sailboat. No steamboat wrecks in sight.

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08-07-27 -

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08-07-27 - Looking north, Lake Laberge. In fine weather, the lake has none of the grim associations of "that night on the marge of Lake Laberge, that I cremated Sam McGee." This is cottage country for Whitehorse people. Located off the Alaska Highway, these views are taken from a pleasant campsite near the shore.

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08-07-27 - South.

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08-07-27 -

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08-07-27 - Distant rainshower.

Miles canyon, upriver, Whitehorse.

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08-07-27 - Suspension bridge, Miles Canyon. Later that afternoon we explore Miles Canyon, upstream from the power generating station. Water levels have been raised by the dam, so the canyon is not as deep as it used to be.

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08-07-27 - Powerboats come through the canyon full throttle. Nothing like the hazard to navigation of the olden days, although of course, you can't get past the power dam without a portage. So this is, in effect, the upper limit to navigation on the Yukon River. Below this point, you could, I believe, drift, paddle or motor all the way to the Bering Strait.

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08-07-27 - Walking paths on opposite side

2008-07-28 - To Kluane Park.

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08-07-28 - July 28, Monday. Well breakfasted, we head off to Kluane country, specifically, Kathleen Lake.

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08-07-28 -

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08-07-28 -

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08-07-28 - Look at that snow-clad peak on the left. These are serious mountains.

Kathleen Lake.{#1}

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08-07-28 - Arriving about 11am we set out to hike up the King's Throne, an impressive cirque on the other side of the lake. Park rangers engaged in a parking lot project look at us sceptically and quote times of two to four hours for the hike. They don't say if this is one way or return.

Hike up to King's Throne cirque.{#1}

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08-07-28 -

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08-07-28 - Campground visible centre.

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08-07-28 - Profusion of wildflowers.

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08-07-28 -

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08-07-28 - Campground and beach, Kathleen L. The water is emerald green in patches.

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08-07-28 - Nearly there By this time we're seriously tired, with barely enough energy left to notice the pink flowers at the right of the path. There are other hikers on the heights, but they'd been following the top of the ridge to the left of the cirque. And are move much faster than we are.

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08-07-28 - Turnback time Not seeing any practical or safe route ahead of us we prepare to turn back. But not before taking a good look at the flowers.

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08-07-28 -

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08-07-28 - Flourishing in adversity

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08-07-28 - Our highest point. We take two hours fifteen minutes going up. After many photo panoramas and wildflower pictures we arrive at the cirque with snowbanks still present from last winter. The trail is fairly good although quite steep on the upper reaches.

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08-07-28 -

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08-07-28 -

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08-07-28 - They call it the king's throne. Now we can see why.

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08-07-28 - Derek sits on a melting snowdrift.

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08-07-28 - More hikers coming up. We get temporarily lost on the way back down to the lake and are pointed in the right direction by francophone hikers from Quebec. Plan "B" would have been to continue downhill to the shore of the lake where the campground across the lake would be visible down the shore. This is our first serious climb of the year.

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08-07-28 -

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08-07-28 - Alaska is behind those mtns. I think.

Back on the road.{#1}

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08-07-28 - Camera trouble: external shutter sticking. Some pictures have to be deleted. We continue north on the Alaska Highway to a point just past Haines Junction. From this vicinity, enormous mountains are visible in the west. One peak, standing above the others, is entirely covered in snow and ice. At a Parks Canada World Heritage Site, we can't see the wonderful view because of the shrubbery in our way. Do they have a fixation about not cutting trees? I've noticed this in many "scenic" locations in other parts of the country. How about a little "landscaping" to make the landscape more visible.

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08-07-28 - Heading back to Whitehorse We head "home" to our hotel Whitehorse. I wonder if these isolated houses are summer cottages or year-round residences.

2008-07-29 - To Atlin, B.C.

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08-07-29 - Atlin Lake July 29, Tuesday. "Fred felt Nora's hot breath on his shoulder and knew that they were about to exchange the bow and stern paddling positions for the less familiar midships position. ... oops!" Sorry, wrong story. We opt for a trip to Atlin, B.C. on our last full day in the Yukon. This is off the Trans Canada highway and south down 60km of fair quality gravel road. The route skirts Atlin Lake along the way, has some nice picnic sites, but only a few good views. The road is mostly winding through treed alleyways of the kind I thought we'd left behind in Ontario.

Atlin, B.C.

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08-07-29 - But Atlin itself is a gem, a decrepit, undervisited, but picturesque lakeside town with boats, floatplanes, a campground, a museum, and very fine Alpine vistas across the water.

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08-07-29 - No restos are open and we have to buy lunch stuff at a grocery store. You can make this a base of operations for boat or float plane trips round the lake, or to the glaciers and high country on the opposite side.

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08-07-29 - Atlin had its own goldrush after the Klondike, and afterwards supported a large tourist industry via a steamer crossing the lake, with connections to Whitehorse.

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08-07-29 -

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08-07-29 -

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08-07-29 - Rooftop patio

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08-07-29 - Pyramid house

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08-07-29 -

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08-07-29 - Real steam shovel, Atlin Museum.

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08-07-29 - Nice garden. Nice backyard.

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08-07-29 - Nice laundry I think I'm starting to groove on the ambiance of this pace, real estate-wise. But it's difficult to imaging coping with the winter and the isolation up here. Atlin is only accessible from the Yukon, to the north, not from interior BC, to the south.

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08-07-29 - Inverted tree stumps forming a gate. This town has a fair share of eccentrics.

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08-07-29 - A last view of Atlin Looks like the locals have plenty to amuse themselves. I was struck, however, by how few people we saw on the streets.

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08-07-29 - The road back to Whitehorse. Back to Whitehorse via Carcross.

Back in Whitehorse.

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08-07-29 -

2008-07-30 - Departure day, Whitehorse.

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08-07-30 - False front. July 30, Wednesday. On our last day, we visit the old Anglican log church, then later, hear a retelling, by an interpreter, of local biography in the town cemetery. Afterwards we stroll around town, listless.

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08-07-30 - Not in desperate need of a haircut. Not quite hungry enough for lunch. Not quite keen enough to find anything fascinating to do. Such is the final day for airline passengers waiting for an evening flight. Too tired for a serious walk, we check out of the hotel. The rental car is now our only base of operations.

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08-07-30 - Delphiniums.

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08-07-30 - Sidewalk planter, Whitehorse.

Beringia and Transportation museums.

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08-07-30 - We drive to the Beringia Museum in the afternoon. We learn that large areas of the Yukon and central Alaska were not glaciated in the ice age. They formed what is called a "mammoth steppe". This was a boreal grassland where mammoths and other herd animals and their predators could survive. An area cold but relatively dry in the rain-shadow of the coastal mountains. The fertility required to support a grassland was supplied by drifting soil called "loess" carried by the wind from glacial deposits to the west. All this changed with the retreat of the glaciers. Fertility dropped, the soil became more acid, forests took over, and the area could no longer support the lifestyles of the large herd animals who required a steppe habitat.

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08-07-30 - Alatl-throwing demonstration. Looks like a group of army cadets.

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08-07-30 - Mine engine. We relinquish the rental car in the airport parking lot. After a brief attempt to visit the Transportation Museum at closing time, we settle for the outdoor exhibits instead.

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08-07-30 - Bulldozer engine. That propeller reminds me: Our flight is due in a couple of hours. Better hurry up and wait. Back to the terminal to eat up the remains of our food, chunks of cheese, and to check-in through airport security.

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08-07-30 - Resistance is futile. The bags that were checked free of charge on the outbound journey now cost us $30 extra to return. We submit to the dictates of Air Canada.

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08-07-19 - En route, a few days ago My attention wanders away from such irritating trivia. I drift back to those long stretches of the Teslin River, with the current speeding us across Beringia and toward the Bering Strait.

The End

black
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Original diary, transcribed for TTS computer voice. July 12, Saturday. We arrive in Whitehorse mid-afternoon, pick up our rental car and register at the Best Western hotel. Plenty of time left for a walk around the town. Heading towards the Yukon River we end up at the Klondike, a restored stern-wheeler. The town is large, has every kind of shopping and commercial facility, even its own transit system. Whitehorse caters to tourists but clearly has a life of its own after the tourists go home. July 13, Sunday. We drive to Skagway, Alaska, via Carcross. This town is the present day northern terminus of the Yukon and White Pass Railroad. The tracks continue on to Whitehorse but haven't been maintained recently. For us the most interesting thing is the Carcross Desert, a large area of sand dunes on the Whitehorse side of the town. This was formed out of wind-blown sand in pre-historic times and today is still mobile enough to inhibit tree growth. The surrounding peaks are higher towards the Canada-US border but still the view is spread wide across lakes, rocky uplands and foothills. Near the border and the White Pass, clouds and mists roll in and the view becomes squeezed between steep valley walls. The descent to Skagway is a long downhill roller-coaster ride. Skagway itself is a sort of Niagara-on-the-Lake of the north Pacific coast. A kind of theme park made up of souvenir and jewellery stores catering to the tour boats tied up in the harbour. We get tickets on the White Pass excursion train along with a few thousand tour boat passengers. We head back up the pass we've just come down in the car. Up hair-raising embankments, past ruined trestles, over high, spindly bridges, we grind up the narrow gauge line to the border near the head of the pass. There we wait for an earlier train to pass us going down. In Skagway again we continue our walk, checking out shop windows and interesting buildings, then begin the drive back to Whitehorse. By the time we get back to the hotel, Miriam and Adonis have arrived. July 14, Monday. We meet Miriam and Adonis for breakfast. We all go on another walk downtown, visit Starbuck's, then, in the afternoon, take a longer walk along the airport perimeter fence. The airport is built on an ancient river bank high above the town. The walk along the edge of this bank gives fine views of Whitehorse and the Yukon River. We make plans to head north to Dawson tomorrow. July 15, Tuesday. On the road to Dawson, we first stop at Braeburn lodge, a roadside watering place where the danish buns are the size of dinner plates. We make an extended stop at Five Fingers Rapids to venture down a trail to the water overlooking this famous navigation hazard. Steamboats had to winch themselves past this obstacle a yard at a time. Today a few canoes dart through the rapids going downstream, but keeping to the more tranquil middle of the white-water channels. At Dawson we visit the travel bureau and ask them to find us the cheapest hotel with the most character. They oblige and we are soon lodged in fairly basic accommodation within a mere bottle's throw of one of Dawson's rowdier saloons. Notwithstanding, we set off on our usual walkabout, threading unpaved streets with wooden sidewalks. The buildings are startlingly colourful, some in course of restoration, some decrepit, some active businesses. We end up at the Palace Grand theatre where a musical pageant is playing. Children have come in from all over the region to perform in a fiddle opera about children from pioneer days who have magically come back from the dead to tell present day kids what life back then was all about. Quite a nice dinner that evening in a back street gourmet resto. July 16, Wednesday. In the morning we drive to the top of Midnight Dome, a viewpoint above the town. The view, for me, is quintessentially Yukon Territory. A huge river, the Yukon, stretches from horizon to horizon, hurrying to the Bering Strait. Mountains are on all sides, but these are the rounded mountains of a geologically old landscape. We also see history, in glimpses of the tailings left from goldrush days up Bonanza Creek. That afternoon we drive up Bonanza Creek to the old gold workings. Parks Canada has restored a huge dredge, but this is not open today. We content ourselves with a walk upstream. From the sound of machinery, off to the side of the road, small-scale mining operations are still carried on. In the evening, Merle and I visit the Robert Service cabin on a back street where a young man gives readings and tells the author's story. This Parks Canada animateur confesses that he had come up here temporarily a few years back, to check things out, but hasn't gotten around to going back south yet. In the evening all four of us drop-in to Diamond Tooth Gertie's Gambling Saloon for the show. Half the audience are gamblers who take no notice of the performance, the rest of us concentrate on the dancers and our drinks. July 17, Thursday, day 0. We drive back to Whitehorse from Dawson and unload the rental car. Merle and I have a conference with Sea-to-Sky outfitters this evening, to meet the other trippers and to pick up canoe gear. Miriam and Adonis prepare for their own jaunt on the Chilkoot Pass hike. We'll see them again later to compare notes after we've all finished both trips. July 18, Friday, day 1. We're picked up at our hotel by the outfitter and taken with the other canoe trippers to our put in point on the Teslin River. This is where the Alaska Highway crosses. Here the river is wide and opens out into a series of narrow lakes. The current at the start is fairly sedate. With the weather threatening rain, we have a good day's paddle of about 30km. I now remember why I prefer the kayak to the canoe for extended trips. No back rest in the canoe, and with the knees pushed up in front, only my abdominal muscles keep me upright. Nevertheless, the canoes are fast and carry an incredible amount of gear in the two middle compartments. Here, the equipment has been tied down in a kind of daisy chain instead of being fastened tightly to the thwarts. This is to keep everything attached to the canoe in the event of a capsize, but to allow a swamped boat to be more easily righted and emptied without the extra weight of the equipment to contend with. Under way, we raft together to get more instruction on safety procedure and canoe handling. July 19, Saturday, day 2. Rains and rains and never stops. Forty days and spoils the crops. Credit that pessimistic line to Flanders and Swan. Well, perhaps it was only drizzle after all. I put away my Canon A640 camera and use the expendable Olympus D40. This was my first digital camera, but I no longer use it for anything but emergencies. See N41 notes for more? July 20, Sunday, day 3. A cold dawn but promising. Sunny later on. Great views today: cutbanks, hoodoos, mountains on the horizon. We raft the canoes together for rest and recreation. Guides Len Webster and Kelly Kurtz read us stories about the north by Robert Service and others. We've brought along an entire waterproof duffel bag filled with the camp library. This evening we find a good campsite in a park of spruce trees with incredible growths of spongy sphagnum moss in the woods. July 21, Monday, day 4. Rains and drizzles all night. Up at 6:30am for breakfast and away by 8:30. Gloomy and wet for 20km, then the overcast breaks up into statuesque cumuli. More good views of cutbanks and the surrounding mountains. Lunch on a gravel bar that practically invites "Life is a beach" pictures. More rafting to relax. Miss a few possible campsites by overshooting. Terrific current. Difficult to land without risk of capsizing. We're instructed in a new canoe stroke. I call it the "cut". You paddle along close to the shore, whizzing along at 10 to 15km an hour. At a command from the stern, the bowperson thrusts the paddle in, but diagonally forward, holding it against the gunwale. The opposite hand holds the head of the paddle on the outside of the chin to avoid a broken jaw if it strikes something in the water at that speed. Meanwhile the sternperson has angled their paddle diagonally backward. The combined effect of the manoeuvre is to quickly pivot the canoe almost 180 degrees so that you are now facing upstream and headed diagonally shoreward. Vigorous forward paddling against the current ferries the canoe more gently sideways to a landing on shore. With likely campsites already taken we press on downriver to Hootalinqua. This is on a modest lake at the junction of the Yukon and Teslin Rivers and surrounded by hills and mountains. Here the Yukon adds an almost emerald green colour to the Teslin's browner hue. Hootalinqua is an old townsite with the ruins of several cabins and a telegraph station. We make camp and have dinner at a picnic table overlooking the river. 75km today. Looks like we may have a rest day in camp tomorrow. July 22, Tuesday, day 5. Slept in till 7:30. A day in camp. What to do. High thin clouds with blue patches. Eggs with ham McMuffin for brekkie. Ablutions. Plans are afoot to explore the paths leading inland from the river bank. A small group heads up the bank behind the telegraph station. Very steep red earth. Then we bushwhack up moss-covered slopes to a summit on the edge of an old cutbank. Good views of the Yukon and Teslin Rivers merging. I take a panorama picture for assembly back home. We gather firewood on the way back down the bank to camp. Hoot is repopulated in summer time with many groups of paddlers, but there's room for a fair number of tents. In the afternoon another tour group lands from a natty glass-covered powerboat out of Whitehorse. Ten people are picked up by two float-planes. Elegant little birds, but with all those passengers they seem to take forever to get airborne. The planes have to head up the Teslin River almost at tree level before they disappear, circle, then reappear coming in the opposite direction at higher altitude. Our people have given then the slightly stand-offish reception that they richly deserve for affording a safari that costs more per day than we have spent on a week. That evening, stories round the campfire about travel horror shows, bus breakdowns, lost luggage. London, England instead of London, Ontario, that sort of thing. Enough material for a book. July 23, Wednesday, day 6. We leave Hooterlingua for Big Salmon, cloudy-dull. A few minutes paddling downstream and we stop at Hootalinqua Island to view the wreck of the Norcom. This steamer is still up on blocks, but rapidly falling into ruin as the weather disintegrates its woodwork. Len Webster says he remembers when it was still safe to clamber aboard and explore. Today the whole structure is near collapse. You could fall through the hull with the ship's iron boiler coming down on top of you. More paddling and rafting, rafting and paddling... We make camp above a steep ten foot gravel bank. Merle and I execute the "cut" manoeuvre to perfection this time. Like clockwork. A precision landing on a narrow gravel shelf. Everyone pitches in pitching heavy packs up the bank where more hands are waiting to haul the gear to safety. The canoes are pulled out and tied down. Our tents go up in record time. Golly, we're getting efficient at this. The sun is peeking through holes in the cloud cover by dinner time. We spend hours nostalgizing about old movies round the campfire this evening. July 24, Thursday, day 7. We depart Big Salmon. Cloudy-bright, briefly sunny. In the afternoon I try "drafting" behind Kelly, the leader in our formation. Following very closely, no more than ten feet behind another canoe does seem to make progress slightly easier. The downside is that you use up a lot of nervous energy attempting to track the sometimes erratic movements of the leader. I remember trying this during a ten mile footrace in Welland. I accidently stepped on the heel of my windbreak's running shoe and had to sprint from there on to avoid his wrath. We camp at Twin Creeks after the usual "cut" manoeuvre to land the canoes. The current is sluicing by the campsite at about 10km an hour. I drop a paddle over the side and have to leap into the water for it. Luckily only up to the knees. Dry two hours later. This is an old dredging site, "windrows" of tailings are still visible under the moss. Another rest day tomorrow. We have only about 20km to go before the final pull out. Some of the others will go on to camp at Carcross where they will continue on down river to Dawson. About 50km today. July 25, Friday, day 8. Twin Creeks, rest day. It drizzles all night, some sun in the morning. Today, Judy, one of our trippers sees a lynx on the riverbank. I wander up and down looking at ruined cabins. One is still fixable. This area has quite a few good campsites with firepits and logs arranged for sitting. This reminds me what a hunger I have for somewhere comfortable to sit. Something with a back to lean against. Our Kansas campers have comfy-looking director's chairs, awkward shapes but easy to tie onto the top of a canoe load. Too much napping today, restless for action. Wine for supper. Mood subdued, or simply tired? It is the end of this leg of the trip for Merle and I. Four of our number are not going on to Dawson. I sit on the butt of a poplar tree on the riverbank and meditate on the human condition. The river sluices past. Who can step into the same river twice? (Heracleitos) Since we've been camping at this sport, yesterday's water has moved 200 or more kilometers closer to the sea. But the river is still not empty and the sea is not filled. What gives? July 26, Saturday. Up at 6am for a 7:15 start. One hour, 45 minutes to Little Salmon. Check N41-019 below. July 27, Sunday. Merle and I walk up the hill to the car rental depot near the airport and drive back down for lunch. We then head for Zuchini(?) Hot Springs to soak out the accumulated stiffness of our canoe trip. In line for tickets with scads of Cherman Sprachers. The air in the pool area is cool but the water pleasantly warm, even hot in the inlet area. Distant snow clad peaks on the horizon, many kids playing. It seems that the locals come here as well as the tourists. You can purchase a season pass. Apparently the place is open in the winter. What fun, after a heavy day of dog-team mushing, snow-machine repairs, or stoking the boilers of abandoned steamboats on the marge of Lake Laberge. Miriam and Adonis are catching a flight home this evening. But we still have two more days for tourist reconaissance, options Kluane and Atlin. On the way back to Whitehorse we detour to the shores of Lake Laberge. Spectacular spot to camp of have a cottage. Plenty of open water and rocky shorelines to explore. Might even be a good spot to have a sailboat. Later that afternoon we explore Miles Canyon, upstream from the power generating station. Water levels have been raised by the dam, so the canyon is not as deep as it used to be. Powerboats come through it full throttle. Nothing like the hazard to navigation of the olden days, although of course, you can't get past the power dam without a portage. So this is, in effect, the upper limit to navigation on the Yukon River. Below this point, you could, I believe, drift, paddle or motor all the way to the Bering Strait. July 28, Monday. Well breakfasted, we head off to Kluane country, specifically, Kathleen Lake. Arriving about 11am we set out to hike up the King's Throne, an impressive cirque round the side of the lake. Park rangers engaged in a parking lot project look at us sceptically and quote times of two to four hours for the hike. They don't say if this is one way or return. We take two hours fifteen minutes going up. Many photo panoramas and wildflower pictures later we arrive at the cirque with snowbanks still present from last winter. The trail is fairly good although quite steep on the upper reaches. We get temporarily lost on the way back down to the lake and are pointed in the right direction by francophone hikers from Quebec. Plan "B" would have been to continue downhill to the shore of the lake where the campground would be visible down the shore. This is our first serious climb of the year. We continue north on the Alaska Highway to a point just past Haines Junction. From this vicinity, enormous mountains are visible in the west. One peak, standing above the others, is entirely covered in snow and ice. At a Parks Canada World Heritage Site, we can't see the view for the shrubbery in the way. Do they have a fixation about not cutting trees? I've noticed this in many "scenic" locations in other parts of the country. How about a little "landscaping" to make the scenery visible. We head "home" to Whitehorse. July 29, Tuesday. "Fred felt Nora's hot breath on his shoulder and knew that they were about to exchange the bow and stern paddling positions for the less familiar midships position." Sorry, wrong story. We opt for a trip to Atlin, B.C. on our last full day in the Yukon. This is off the Trans Canada and south down 60km of fair quality gravel road. The route skirts lakes along the way, has some nice picnic sites, but only a few good views. The road is mostly winding through treed alleyways of the kind I thought we'd left behind in Ontario. But Atlin itself is a gem, a decrepit, undervisited, but picturesque lakeside town with boats, floatplanes, a campground, a museum, and very fine Alpine vistas across the water. No restos are open and we have to buy lunch stuff at a grocery store. You can make this a base of operations for trips round the lake, or to the glaciers and high country on the opposite side. Atlin had its own goldrush after the Klondike, and afterwards supported a large tourist industry via a steamer crossing the lake with connections to Whitehorse. Back to Whitehorse via Carcross. July 30, Wednesday. On our last day, we visit the old Anglican log church, then later, hear a retelling of local biography in the town cemetery. Afterwards we stroll around town, listless. Not quite hungry enough for lunch, not quite keen enough to find anything fascinating to do. Such is the final day of airline passengers waiting for an evening flight. Too tired for a serious walk, we check out of the hotel. A rental car is now our only base of operations. We drive to the Beringia Museum in the afternoon. We learn that large areas of the Yukon and central Alaska were not glaciated in the ice age. They formed what is called a "mammoth steppe". This was a boreal grassland where herd animals and their predators could survive. An area cold but relatively dry in the rain-shadow of the coastal mountains. The fertility required to support a grassland was supplied by drifting soil called "loess" carried by the wind from glacial deposits to the west. All this changed with the retreat of the glaciers. Fertility dropped, the soil became more acid, forests took over, and the area could no longer support the lifestyles of the large herd animals who required a steppe habitat. We relinquish the rental car in the airport parking lot. After a brief attempt to visit the Transportation Museum at closing time, we sit in the airport lounge eating chunks of cheese and waiting for our fate with Air Canada. The bags that were checked free of charge on the outbound journey now cost us $30 extra to return. My attention wanders away from such irritating trivia. I drift back to those long stretches of the Teslin River, with the current speeding us across Beringia and toward the Bering Strait.

End of diary

N41 diary pages follow

n41-011
08-07-17 - Summary

n41-013
08-07-21 - Max distance

n41-015
08-07-23 - Lv Hootalinqua

n41-017
08-07-25 - Twin Creeks, rest day

n41-019
08-07-26 - Little Salmon, Carmacks

n41-021
08-07-29 - Atlin

n41-023
08-08-02 - Return notes: 11-05-24: Finished distributing diary entries, recording TTS clips Corrupt file noticed this morning. Lost some work done at queenston. Mods to PTF.SCR command to improve identification of saved versions. Created ALT-Q.SCR which can be used within edit session to save version and return. Suspect the problem was caused by the "alt-I" cmd (insert clipboard). This was used many times in succession in the same edit session. Works by deleting all lines to end of file, these go to clipboard, then appending clipboard. Might be some bug in this procedure trigged by repeated use. Use ALT-Q frequently to save during any massive edit session. 15-02-25: DON'T use ALT-Q before testing. Didn't seem to work today. Yesterday restored SOAM.PTF from TEMP backup. Could have been caused by problem like above. See C:(slash)TEMP for versions of any edit session processed by PTF.SCR 14-03-12: edited text, pics to "hot springs". Needs review of placing on screen also. 14-03-13: edit pics complete. Next, screen placement. 14-03-17: done screen placement. Also seems to work on narrower aspect screen. 15-02-25: edits for HTML version. 16-12-15: touch-up.

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