Dempster Highway Tour Leg One; Whitehorse to Dawson City Yukon, Canada!

Greetings! I haven’t blogged my last couple trips, but by mildly popular demand (aka a few inquiries), I’m back! This time I have embarked on a journey to the the land of the midnight sun….The Yukon! I’m currently on a seven day tour with Nature Tours. I flew from Calgary Alberta to Whitehorse Yukon, and will be taking a van ride up to Tuktoyaktuk Northwest Territories.

This trip was originally planned almost a year ago by my dad. He always wanted to travel the famous Dempster Highway and was excited to finally find a tour. Me and my dad shared a love and interest in the Canadian north, so I jumped at the chance to join him and my mom on this adventure. This past May, he unexpectedly died from Cancer. His death has been very hard on all of us, but we knew he’d want us to still go on this trip. It beyond sucks that he’s not here, he was the absolute best. So far, he would have loved this tour. But unfortunately that’s life. Anyway, I just wanted to acknowledge him and how I ended up on this adventure.

My sister Lindsay was able to take his place on the tour, so here we are!

The first leg is Whitehorse YT to Dawson City YT. We have our tour guide Kurt, me, Lindsay, mom, and one older gentleman Frank. We were picked up in this sweet van, and away we go!

We took lots of stops along the way, so it took us about 8 hours to get up to Dawson. The highway is paved all the way with some potholes. I’ve been on worse roads in Northern Manitoba.

First stop, Lake Laberge.

We took a stop at Braeburn Lodge for their giant cinnamon bun that’s the size of my head. We then drove to Twin Lakes, sliced that bad boy up, and had a little coffee break.

Me

Kurt our guide, Lindsay and Mom

Next stop Carmacks! Here we stopped to stretch our legs, eat some lunch and get terrorized by spruce beetles. For those who don’t know what a spruce beetle is, it’s a beetle, who’s a special kind of asshole with wings and long antennas. They can bite through spruce bark, so imagine that biting your skin.

And the asshole on the other side of the window….you know, when they land on me, I react like someone is trying to set me on fire.

Alright, back in the van. Next stop, Five Finger Rapids. Very beautiful lookout. There is a hike that I hear is beautiful, but we still have a good drive left. So we just stopped briefly.

Stuart Crossing

Not only is the scenery beautiful, but I really enjoy the different buildings, decor and eclectic art of the Yukon. We took a quick stop in the bustling metropolis that is Moose Creek.

We stopped at Gravel Lake, it’s a shallow lake covered with lily pads. I’ve never seen a lake like that, really pretty. It’s also a swan habitat, we could see white swans on the opposite end of the lake…not a good enough zoom lens with an iphone.

Lindsay really taking in the scenic Yukon sights of her book.

The Tintina Trench, it was Smokey out, so hard to see the mountains. But I do love seeing all the fireweed in bloom!(the purple flowers).

We Made it!

There’s so much I could write about Dawson City. It’s really just a must see, and totally worth the trip. It was a booming place during the Klondike Gold Rush, and still has popularity today. There has been so much preservation and restoration, that the town is living heritage site. There is such a rich and interesting history with the local First Nations and the new comers from the gold rush boom. We got here Saturday evening and leaving Monday morning. We managed to get a lot in, but I’ll just touch on a few of my favourites.

Dawson City is a town of about 1500, but the population can triple in the summer due to tourism. Very alive, the energy is palpable. Most of the stores are old-timey. The roads are dirt (easier to maintain than asphalt due to the permafrost) and the sidewalks are boardwalks.

I highly recommend the walking tour from the Parks Canada visitor site. There are heritage buildings throughout town that we went into. A woman in character would randomly show up and talk about that place in her time, while the Parks Canada woman talked about the town today. It was very well done. Only about 1.5 hours.

Another must, is going to The Downtown Hotel. There’s a fun, quirky tradition of the Sour Toe Cocktail. Back in the 1920’s, a miner lost his toe to frostbite. He then dared those who were brave enough to have a drink with it in it. I drank the “classic toe”. This is a real old human toe! (But I don’t know who’s toe it is as people have swallowed them). Lindsay and mom didn’t want to try it, you can check out my video below!

Another fun spot is Diamond Tooth Gerties. In a nutshell, she was a popular lady of the night back in 1899, that had a popular dance hall with liquor, gambling and dancing can-can girls. Today it’s all very old timey. They do three shows a night, about thirty mins each, and each show is different. We saw three shows in our short time here. Excellent singing and dancing. The music scene and talent here is incredible. A very musical and artsy place, especially for being so small.

And of course I can’t come to the Klondike and not try to pan for some gold! We got a crash course in panning, and could keep what we found!

Gold weighs 19 times more than water, and 16 more times than gravel. So as you add water, shake it, pour out the water and gravel and then keep rinsing. The gold will settle to the bottom of your pan, eventually you’ll shake out all the gravel and have gold left. We then put our earnings in the tube and it’s yours! Some stores in town have scales, so if you wanted to pay with gold, you can!

If you enjoy scenery and want a cool view of the town and Yukon River, get yourself up to the top of The Dome. We grabbed lunch at the Bonanza Market, and had a little picnic up there. Very windy, but beautiful!

Another little stop we did was at The Pit. Favourite watering hole amongst the locals. Very interesting decor, and often has live music. Like I said, I enjoy this eclectic art and decor of the Yukon.

A few things worth mentioning. The museums are well done, and Dredge #4 (mining site) is also worth while. It really explains the mining process when machinery came into play. The cultural centre was closed on Sunday, so we didn’t get to go. But we are told it’s highly recommended. We also missed the farmers market, apparently they can grow some good gardens here! There is also lots of good restaurants and bars, one of my favourites was the Drunken Goat. Like I said, so much to do and see, very interesting place!

Also, bring your eye masks to sleep if light bothers you. It’s mostly sunlight during the summer. This pic was takin at 2 am from my hotel room.

This morning we are leaving Dawson City and heading up north on the Dempster Highway. We will be stopping overnight at Eagle Plains. I’m hoping we’ll see some animals….from a safe distance that is!

Hope you all are well, until next time!

11 thoughts on “Dempster Highway Tour Leg One; Whitehorse to Dawson City Yukon, Canada!

  1. I am feeling pretty jealous of you taking this trip. The drive up the Dempster highway is so interesting and beautiful! Have fun taking it all in. Artic Circle picture is a must!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the pictures of your trip, always wanted to go to dawson and get gold – lol
    hope your all doing well – got a tear when reading your dad wanted this trip too.

    love and thinking about you all Danny Luney

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great to hear about your travels!! Great pictures and commentary.
    Lindsay I was having flashbacks of our trip to Broken Hill ( which was not nearly as cool as Yukon but great memories!)
    Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip!

    Liked by 1 person

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