We took the Top of the World Highway from Alaska to Dawson City, Yukon. The name says it all, except that there is about 100 miles of gravel and really rough going on the US side. At the border, the Canadian officer warned us of caribou – a herd of over 70,000 were in the area. We saw a couple of dozen standing on various ridge lines. The last Alaska town was named Chicken. Apparently they wanted to call the town Ptarmigan which is the official state bird of Alaska. However they could not agree on how to spell it, so they defaulted to Chicken. Go figure. When we stopped at Chicken to see the gold mining dredge, we met an Ontario couple towing the exact same ‘Diamond in the Rough’ teardrop trailer as us. I guess the Sturgis Rally started with 2 Harleys meeting in the middle of nowhere.
Dawson is defined by the Klondike Gold Rush. The roads are dirt with wooden sidewalks. Colourful houses everywhere, and heritage buildings that were dance halls, saloons and brothels are now tourist hotels and some very good restaurants. And lots of eccentric characters around, probably more so since this is Pride weekend.
A local gold buyer / jeweler let us hold a $6000 nugget, and so we decided to get rich doing some prospecting on Bonanza Creek right by the original Klondike discovery claim. Not quite on the scale of Dredge #4. I don’t think we made back the cost of the pan.
Up next is our drive up the Dempster Highway to Inuvik and Tuk. It is one of only three roads in the world that cross the Arctic Circle, and is on most adventurers’ must-do list. Stay tuned.