Sunday, June 16, 2019

Tale of Two Dawsons

Dawson Creek is near the northeast corner of British Columbia. It's famous as the Mile 0 point of the Alaska Highway. It's the center of an area of an agricultural economy. As you travel west on the Alaska Highway, you'll experience an area with a petroleum economy before getting into the Rocky Mountains, known for their beauty and potential for animal sightings.

If you travel far enough west, you'll eventually run across this sign the second time you enter the Yukon territory. The sign at the first crossing from B.C. to Yukon has seen better days, but the second crossing is clearly marked, perhaps because it's on the outskirts of Watson Lake.

Whitehorse is the capital of Yukon and home to about 75% of the territory's population of 38,000 people. Whitehorse is a juxtaposition of government, supply center, and history. There are lots of interesting things to see around the area, but this trip we were headed north.

We overnighted at Five Fingers Rapid, a point of concern for river travelers headed to the Yukon gold rush. The recreation area parking lot had no limitation signs although their website says it's day use only. Just beyond Five Fingers is the Tatchun Creek Campground, a typical Yukon Government Campground with free firewood, outhouses, and gravel sites for $12 a night.

Dawson City was high on my list for this trip. We missed it last time because the river hadn't thawed yet. As a fan of history and rust, I was in my element.

Dawson City is the second largest city in Yukon, with a population of about 1,800 people. Mining is still active in the area.

The town is an interesting mix of old buildings settling into the permafrost, old buildings restored and used, and new homes and businesses, some made to look old.

Saint Andrews was built in 1901 and last used in the 1930s. The building is now internally braced but continues to settle.

There was an earth cache concerning permafrost that led us to look carefully for buildings that were settling. This was my favorite, but I couldn't ever get a picture without something parked in front of it.

Across the river, past a very nice (and large) Yukon Government Campground, was the paddle wheeler graveyard. There were six wooden hulled paddle wheeler sitting along the river, mouldering into the sand as the forest grew through them.

One one of the six still had recognizable paddle wheel frames. Of course, it also hosted a geocache!

Fans of Discovery's Gold Rush know that dredges are still in use in the area. The largest dredge is not in use but is in the continued process of restoration. It was so large I couldn't get a decent camera angle to get it all.

The dredge buckets for Dredge #4 were large enough to make a lounger.
As we wandered, we would find old equipment. In this case, a Caterpillar R-4 with a cable operated blade. Originally used to build the Alaska Highway, it then found a life on a gold claim.

Abandoned trackhoe hiding in the trees.

My favorite was this very creative trommel, supported by old truck wheels & tires, and powered by an old truck rear axle. Since it was parked with a bunch of other old, tired equipment, it's hard to say if it was ever successful.

We didn't seen Tony or Rick or Parker as we wandered around town, but I did spot the Jasmine B and Kid Commando (which looked scary skinny) parked next to the ferry landing.

1 comment:

  1. WE didn't make it that far RAIN! and flooding, WOW, maybe next time. Thanks for showing us what we missed