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July 21, 2011

We finally made it to Whitehorse where we decided to spend 2 nights. After checking out the local campsites (read car parks) we decided to camp in another car park – Walmart, for free. A popular choice clearly as I counted 36 other campers on our first night. This was only a 5 minute cycle from town so very convenient.

We had a full day in Whitehorse and started by cycling the memorial pathway along the Yukon River. We discovered a Bald Eagle Nest with an adult guarding 2 babies along the way and at the end of the path is the biggest fish ladder in the world after construction of a dam prevented the Salmon from returning up their birth river to spawn.

We came back along the path and visited the S.S. Klondike, definitely worth a tour if you are in the area. This was the biggest of the stern wheelers that moved goods and people from Whitehorse up to Dawson City during the gold rush. They took 1.5 days to go downstream from Whitehorse but on the way back it was up to 5 days against the current.

In the afternoon we went to the Beringia Interpretive Centre,  which is a natural history museum dedicated tp depicting the wildlife of the upper Yukon during the last ice age. This was one of the few places in the North of the Americas which wasn’t covered by ice and instead was a vast grass plain with Woolly Mammoths, Muskox and a giant short nosed bear (about twice the size of a grizzly)  roaming around. I was taken with the giant beaver (I wouldn’t want to come across one of these) which can be up to 8ft long.

In the evening at Sarah’s request we visited the Frantic Follies. This was an old style music hall production which aims to give a flavour of what entertainment was like during the gold rush. This wasn’t quite a west end production but was enjoyable all the same. However we were the only people in the audience under 60.

Also while in Whitehorse we tried the beer from the local brewery. They have a selection from a weak lager through to a dark bitter. We weren’t such great fans. The lager was a bit gassy for me but that’s what we’ve found with most Canadian beer.

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