Chicken, Alaska, to Dawson City, Yukon Territory

Trip Start Jul 02, 2008
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Trip End Sep 12, 2008


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Flag of Canada  , Yukon,
Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Monday (Labor Day) dawned cold and a little frosty in Chicken. There's a gold dredge on the property so I went down early to get some pictures. While I was there I could hear something moving through the creek and brush below me.  Finally spotted a pair of moose calves having breakfast.
 
After breakfast and shifting the camper from night mode to day mode, we were on our way again. First stop was downtown Chicken for a couple of pics. Chicken is an interesting community. According to things I've read, it has no flush toilets, no electricity service (the stores all use generators), the water has to be hauled in, only satellite phone service, mail flown in and out twice a week, and a permanent population of 21 in the summer and 6 in the winter. Once the snow flies and the Taylor Highway closes the only ways into Chicken are by snow machine or airplane - definitely a qualifier for "middle of nowhere," but beautiful.
 
If we thought the road into Chicken was rough, the road after Chicken was REALLY rough, narrow, and winding. The Milepost warns to watch for pilot vehicles leading tour busses from Eagle (even more remote than Chicken). The road climbs above the South Fork Fortymile River and affords some spectacular views.
 
At Jack Wade Junction the Taylor Highway turns off and goes to Eagle (on the Yukon River) and the road to the Canadian border becomes the Boundary Spur Road. There's an airstrip next to the road at Boundary (a roadhouse closed in 2007), which prompted another picture of a sign you don't see in Colorado.
 
The road, still rough, climbs above timberline and travels for miles. It's known as the Top of the World Highway and it is. We're pretty proud of Trail Ridge Road in Colorado, and it is impressive, but it's nothing like this road. The color in the tundra was absolutely amazing and the views went on forever.
 
At the border we gave the lady our passports and answered her questions and we were in Canada. Just past the border station is a pullout which also happens to be the highest point of the Top of the World Highway (4,515 ft). On the hillsides of the parking area are small cairns of rock people have built. Vicki said they're "inukshuk," rock cairns built to show the way back.
 
According to the Milepost it's 65.8 miles from the border to Dawson City and the road is a bit improved on the Canadian side - more chip seal - but still mostly gravel, rough, and narrow. As the road descends you move out of tundra and into forested areas. Our first views of the Yukon River are amazing. Eight miles outside of Dawson (57 miles and 2 hours later), we stopped at an overlook with a "Welcome to Dawson City" sign.
 
Getting into Dawson City requires crossing the Yukon on a ferry, the only one remaining of four that used to cross the Yukon at various points. The ferry is free and operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Dawson ferry landing is upstream from the one across the river and, given the flow of the river here, means the pilot has to really understand the current.
 
Finding a place to park the camper for the night was our first priority and, once that was accomplished, dinner was our second. We ate at Klondike Kate's, food was yummy. Then we went to Diamond Tooth Gertie's Gambling Hall for the show and a little gambling.
 
Gertie's does 3 shows a night and a $6 ticket gets you admission for two nights. We saw the 10:30 show and headed back to the RV park.
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