Dawson City

Stuck in Dawson Tuesday July 25-28, 2010

We arrived in Dawson City cold and a little waterlogged. We planned on spending 2 days here but it turned into 4 as the road to Fairbanks in Alaska, on the Top of the World Highway, was washed out and we were stuck. We had to go back to Whitehorse then follow the Alaskan Highway to Fairbanks. We were still camped on the Yukon River so did not mind too much. Dawson was the destination for the Klondike gold-rush stampeder’s and the town is a living museum to the history of the gold-rush days. But in addition to the gold-rush heritage the town has a vibrant First Nations community with a visually stunning cultural centre on the waterfront. It looks like the only building that has been constructed in Dawson since the goldrush although a lot of buildings have been moved around. Not far from our camp was another sad sight – the majestic wooden stern wheel paddleboats which plied the Yukon River for decades, lay abandoned in a jumble of decaying timber and rusting metal. The camp-ground we stayed in still had bear alerts so we still practised good “bear hygiene” and hung up all out food and did not cook close to the tent. On the last night we woke up to a rustling sound at 3am; a fox – it stole the sunscreen we forgot to hang up and disappeared into the woods. And we were never too far from home – we spoke to an Aussie working in the visitors centre and were served dinner by a waitress originally from Brisbane. The town has 1,900 all year around resident and over 2,500 dogs – my kind of town. But the weather would most definitely no suit me. Even in summer, the mornings have been bitterly cold and if the sun came out later in the day it would be blindingly bright and hot but as soon as the sun disappeared it was back into Gore-tex. Fingers crossed we make it to Fairbanks – the long way around.