We arrived in Dawson around noon on Tuesday. While we had awoken to crystal blue skies they had deteriorated to a constant downpour by the time we arrived in Dawson. We took some time to explore the visitor museum after lunch in hopes the rain would stop. This picture is of two moose antlers on display in the Visitor Center that got locked together in combat and couldn’t break free of each other. A local outfitter/guide found these exactly as pictured while out in the back country. Clearly they both ended up losing this battle!
As we finished exploring the visitor center the rain tapered off and we decided to start walking around downtown Dawson. Many of the buildings have informational signs on them relating what the role of the building was during the gold rush years and beyond. We ended up on the river dike for the hike back. The dike system is designed to protect the downtown area from floods, thereby creating a great elevated hiking path to view the city and the Yukon River from while strolling along. A few of the more interesting tidbits we found on the information signs are below:
We finished our walk through downtown as the rain started coming down again. We decided to go ahead and head out of town and start our journey on the Top of the World Hwy. To get to the Hwy one has to ride a free ferry across the Yukon River due to the fact that the Klondike Hwy dead ends in Dawson. Hilary was very nervous about riding the ferry while I was a bit nervous myself. The ferry boat does not look very big, which did not inspire confidence. In fact, they were able to fit us as well as four additional cars on board when we crossed the river. These pictures were all taken through the windshield as we crossed the river. Like many before us, we crossed the mighty Yukon without incident.
As we climbed up and out of the river bottom on the Top of the World Hwy we also came out of the rain into brilliant sunshine. Check out the slippery look to the road and how dirty the Jeep was in only a few miles of dirt road driving!
Just a few miles down the road we found this perfect spot to pull over for the night. After dinner the last of the rain showers were passing overhead when we saw this beautiful double rainbow off to our west.
While the kids settled in for the night I headed out for a run along the Hwy. Since the skies had cleared I was able to enjoy the beautiful blue against the varied greens of the mountain sides with snowcapped peaks off to the distance creating beautiful contrasting colors. Keep in mind this was around 9:00 PM!
Wednesday morning we decided it would be nice to go back to Dawson so the kids could attend a guided tour of the Jack London museum while Hilary and I poked around the downtown area some more. We found this great little café to have a cup of coffee and gluten free/vegan peanut butter chocolate cake. The café is called Alchemy Café. We enjoyed our little bit of date time together while the kids got a lot out of the guided tour of Jack London’s replica log house and museum.
Following this we drove up to the “Dome”, a hill that over-looks downtown Dawson, and had our lunch. The view of Dawson is spectacular, while the view of the unending mountain peaks is awe inspiring. This was a nice little side excursion from town and is highly recommended.
To end the afternoon we drove out to the historic Dredge #4. While we didn’t take the tour, there was lots of good information about the dredge available at various points along the overlook. This was a seriously productive dredge!
Instead of turning around and driving back down the road we came up to see the dredge we continued on up the back road to a high point called “King Solomon’s Dome”. This mountain got its name due to the belief by many miners that it contained the “mother lode” of gold. The miners thought this because all the streams and valley bottoms around the mountain had lots of gold in them. As one got away from King Solomon’s Dome the gold level dropped off significantly. The “mother lode” was never found. As we were heading up to the dome we encountered a black bear and her two cubs. We tried to get a picture, but the brush was too dense.
We expected Dawson to be a frontier town. It was THE frontier towns of all frontier towns in the gold rush era. Learning Dawson is the 2nd largest city in all of the Yukon Territory did not change our expectations of the town. The grocery stores all (all two of them) had great selections of gluten free/organic foods even. Make no mistake, this is a frontier town, but it is a frontier town with character. We enjoyed our time here and would like to come back in the future and spend more time at the museums.
Thursday we plan to continue down the Top of the World Hwy arriving in Alaska later in the day. Both Breann and Hannah really want to stop in Chicken to get their picture taken under the large chicken statue. Following the stop in Chicken the plan is to head south to Tok and fuel up so we can continue our journey south to Valdez, AK.
- Tuesday, 6/7: 132 (Top of the World Highway 10 miles west of Dawson)
- Wednesday, 6/7: 100