The Sockeyed Blog

Ben Johnson's Blog

Conclusion in Whitehorse

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We began yesterday with a short but lovely walk up the North Yukon River from the campground as the sun crested over the mountains. It was cold and crisp – toque and glove weather – but the sky was cloudless and pure blue, and the landscape brown and golden. The crystal clear water of the river sparkled in the morning sun. Still water was covered in ice and we’re quickly moving towards winter.

We were sad to be leaving the Dempster. We really loved its diversity of environments, colour and wildlife. It was amazing to be driving for literally hours without seeing another car in either direction. It was fascinating to see the sun follow a low arc, leaving long shadows even at mid-day. And of course we’ll miss the people we met at the far end of our journey.

The last 70km were relatively easy. The road was in good condition and the sun shone. When we reached Klondike Junction, we had planned to powerwash the mud off our van, but the pump had frozen, so we had to live with a muck-encrusted vehicle for a while longer (so many shades of brown!)

The 500km drive down to Whitehorse was pretty uneventful. The weather was lovely, and we were treated to some great views of the Yukon River, but otherwise it was pretty much a long haul into town. It certainly wasn’t mundane – it would be a great drive anywhere else – but after the Dempster it just seemed like ordinary Yukon scenery.

We spent the night at Takhini Hot Springs again, just outside of Whitehorse. We had much-needed showers, then soaked for a long, long time in the hot spring pools as the sun went down.

Even though we were further south, it was another cold night, particularly for me as I sleep against the draughty back doors, but I turned on the heater and put on the kettle as soon as I was awake.

It was another cloudless day, and down here there are still quite a fall leaves on the cottonwoods. A short distance down the road from the hot springs is the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, a large expanse of land with a diversity of different habitats. We took a 5km stroll around the preserve and looked at elk, caribou, bison, a moose, deer, thinhorn sheep, mountain goats (hanging out high on rocky ledges), and muskox. The lynx and arctic fox eluded us. While not quite the same as spotting them in the wild, it was still an enjoyable way to spend a morning.

We finally drove into town. The first order of business was trying to get the mud off the van before returning it. By now it had hardened into a solid cake, notably on the back where it was a visible thickness. It took about $15 in loonies at the car was to spray and scrub enough of it off so that we could return it in a reasonable condition.

We strolled around downtown for the rest of the afternoon, stopping in bookshops, a cafe and gift shops. We spent a bit of time watching the fast-moving Yukon river, then drove to a campground just outside of town. Kristi whipped up a meal of most of the scraps we had left in the fridge and cupboard, and now we’re just relaxing, sad to see our vacation come to an end. We fly out tomorrow at lunchtime, and by dinner we’ll be back in warm, grey, rainy Vancouver.

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Written by sockeyed

September 20, 2010 at 19:31

Posted in Travel

Tagged with ,

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