Day Thirty Two: Whitehorse, Yukon’s Capital

Our first full day in Whitehorse started with a tour bus trip around the city.  The campground is south of the city; on the way there, a turnoff to Miles Canyon is marked.  We stopped at a viewpoint overlooking the canyon prior to heading downtown.  When the first stampeders came up from their long journey towards the gold fields, they had to cross the Yukon river.  Miles Canyon was a real challenge, with cliffs that narrow significantly and speed the flow of the river, lots of boiling rapids, etc.  It has been tamed to some degree, with a dam that generates , most of the electricity for the province.  It’s still an impressive sight, though.  I wouldn’t want to fall in, that’s for sure.

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Miles Canyon viewpoint. There is a suspension bridge visible in the far distance.
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Sometimes I feel like I’m in an ocean of trees out here.

After driving through downtown and getting a rundown on some of the buildings and history of Whitehorse, we went to the S.S. Klondike.  It was one of the steamships that traversed the long distance from Whitehorse to Dawson City during the summer months.  We watched a very interesting movie on the steamships, then toured the ship.  Our guide, MC, even changed into a period costume (1930s) and had a lot of stories to tel as we wandered about.

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MC. She’s from Quebec, but spends her summers in the Yukon working for Parks Canada.
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The S.S. Klondike
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Front of the ship. MC was ringing a bell of some sort as we gathered.
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These ships required a tremendous amount of wood to run. They had giant stockpiles of wood along the route and would stop periodically to replenish.
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This was the boiler. Wood went in there and heated the water. The fireman position sounded brutal.
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The Klondike was both a passenger and freight carrier.
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These old fire extinguishers were so bright and shiny.
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Crew quarters. They didn’t have much room, but better than the second class passengers who got to sleep on the deck.
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The paddle and some of the rudders were painted orange to better see cracks in the wood.

We happened to be in Whitehorse on the day of Riverquest 2019.  This is a 715 kilometer (445 mile) race open to canoes, kayaks and stand up paddle boards.  You can compete as an individual, duo, or larger group.  They get two breaks during the race.  The finish line is in Dawson City, and this year they had 117 entries.  The race began at noon; the boats are all lined up along a sandbar with handlers there to help launch them.  The racers are gathered up on the road, and at the signal they run from the road to their boat, jump in and take off.  We got to see the start; there was quite a crowd watching and cheering.  I can’t imagine standing on a paddle board for a race of this length.

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Boats lined up on the river; spectators on the banks. Ready for the race!
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There were 117 total boats in the race this year. This was a new record for them.
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Race underway as participants run to their boats and get help from volunteers for the launch.
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One of the paddle boarders visible here. Crazy.
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This was on a pavilion visible as we walked back to the bus after the race. It’s titled “Crow steals the Sun” after a First Nations story.

After the race was launched, we were back to the RV park.  I spent most of the afternoon and evening trying to update my blog.  WiFi wasn’t great, and the 0.5 GB limit by Verizon didn’t help.  Little did I know it would get way worse…

I worked until my clock said 11pm!  My windows were open and it still looked like it was 7pm by the amount of daylight.  I took a few pics to show you what 11pm in the Yukon looks like.

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This…is 11pm.

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If blackout shades hadn’t been standard on my trailer, I’d be hurting,

 

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