Whitehorse, the wilderness city
Whitehorse is the capital of the Yukon Territory, the Land of the Midnight Sun. Whitehorse is tagged as the city ten minutes drive from nowhere for it is just minutes away from a vast and pristine backcountry.
We had a long drive today from Watson Lake to Whitehorse which took us 6 hours and covered 269 miles. We travelled thru lush river valleys and crossed low mountain passes in the Yukon Territory. We drove slowly not because of wildlife (which were not present on this drive) but because we were warned of several areas where there are frost heaves and gravel breaks. We experienced three things on this stretch, Frost heaves ; dry camping and the midnight sun.
Its hard to wrap our minds around the fact that we are driving over permanently frozen ground. The Yukon portion of the highway is built on top of the layers and the freezing and thawing of the frost underneath creates the frost heaves. That is just our little description of it, nevertheless we heed the cautionary signs and slowed down. We also passed the washed out highway, which caused the Alaska highway to be closed for three days and caused us to stay longer at Dawson Creek. The drive is still scenic and the Yukon has its own character.
We arrived at our chosen RV park at the Hi Country RV park without a reservation. Oh well, the only spot available is unserviced, meaning no power, no water and no sewer. We took it and experience our first dry camping (boondocking) in an RV park. As Betsy is self contained , we can generate our own power (generator) had enough water in the tank to last us a few days and we just recently dumped at the last stop. The site is only available for a day, so instead of going through the trouble of moving to another site the next day, we packed up and moved on. We saw several sights around Whitehorse and feel we’re ready to move on to the next milestone – Alaska is only a couple of days away!
The midnight night sun is truly fascinating. Since we arrived in Canada we have had long days, but today happens to be the Summer Solstice. There were a lot of events in Whitehorse to celebrate it. For us we stayed outside and read to experience the sun at midnight. Then the next day after only four hours the sun shone again at 430AM. Wow!
Since we only have a day here we took a stroll at the downtown area and a quick hike at Miles Canyon. We checked out the SS Klondike, a national historic site but was not able to climb aboard as it was past closing time. SS Klondike is the largest sternwheeler to ply the Yukon river bringing in freight and supplies to remote areas before construction of the highways.
We took a quick short hike at Miles Canyon originally called “Grand Canyon.” The canyon was an imposing challenged for the gold stampeders or miners on their way up the Yukon to the gold fields due to its narrow channel followed by the whitehorse grand rapids. The image on the canyon was taken around 7PM a very bright sun was still up there.