This is the 12th in a continuing series about our trip through Canada to Alaska
Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon Territory, is the big city, providing residents and visitors with all the food, hardware and souvenir shopping opportunities available in the more traditional areas of North America. It doesn’t offer the selection of items that we’re used to down below — and maybe seeing the limp parsley made us realize how spoiled we are, but what is there was enough to satisfy our needs.
Friday was for us caravan members a “free day,” meaning we could rest, tend to our RV needs, shop, play tourist or socialize as we wished.
Monique and I hiked a bit, chatted with the Yukon locals in museums and stores, learned about the danger of the Yukon River from local Tlingit [pronounced “Klingit”] First People, and bought food at reasonable prices. Here, as all through Canada, we have met only friendly, helpful people.
I again hesitate to show scenes from the area, since even the best photography can’t get across the splendor of the region. Mainly, I don’t want to make you think you’ve seen the Yukon Territory or any other scenic land just because you saw photos online or in a book. Many of the views range from incredibly beautiful to breathtaking. Since Miles Canyon carved out by the Yukon River is off the beaten path, I decided I would allow myself to drop in a few pictures of the scenery there.
Most interesting, you wouldn’t know if the photos were taken at noon, 3:30 a.m. or 11:00 p.m. That’s the phenomenon of being in “The Land of the Midnight Sun.” Last night as we hiked around and above the RV park at 10:45 p.m. we watched the sun setting behind layers of clouds.
I hope the readers of these articles are learning from those who have experienced the trip in the past and added their own observations in the Comments Section. I urge others to contribute comments to help those considering whether to embark on the trip alone, with one or two friends or with a group. And if you have questions for the “experts,” as you have seen, you can get them answered by experienced travelers.
A few more random thoughts. First, it was suggested that putting the miles-per-hour/kilometers-per hour numbers on my steering column wasn’t needed. While my eyes are good enough to read those little metric numbers on my speedometer, I have to take off my sunglasses to see them. It’s a case of whatever works.
Did I call the ride boring? It isn’t … only, hundreds of miles on a fairly straight road with manicured open spaces on each side does get monotonous. We are able to stay alert looking for wildlife, admiring the beauty, watching out for gravel areas and bumps on the road, and every now and then having infrequent conversations with fellow caravan members via CB radio. We enjoy the profusion of wildflowers – including fireweed, which is the Yukon provincial flower
I mentioned in an earlier article that XM radio was fading. We do get it loud and clear most of the time even now, but when I turn to Laugh USA, the clean comedy channel, it always seems to go out during the joke but comes back when the audience is roaring with laughter and applauding. Our OnStar telephone service is sporadic in the hinterlands.
Take the advice of the experts: Don’t go to the Yukon without a copy of Robert Service’s poems or at least seeing the animated films at The Exploration Place in Prince George, B.C.
Not a day has gone by when we weren’t glad that we made our decision to take this trip.
From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.
23 Responses to “Our Alaska Trip Part XII Whitehorse, YT”
▪. Bob West on June 26th, 2010 10:08 am Enjoy your reflections. Did you stay at Hi Country in Whitehorse or I should say on the edge? Always interested in observations about the places to stay and dine as well as scenery. As you point out the scenery can be found in books to some degree but nothing like a personal reflection from someone standing there and taking a picture and then returning to the comfort of their RV in preparation for the next adventure. From here you will find some real frost heaves and I am sure your guides will tell you slow and easy. I even got out of the vehicle a few times to plot my course through on the bigger ones. Save your Appetite for Fast Eddy’s in Tok. Good food and huge portions. Safe travels.
▪. Robert Russell on June 26th, 2010 11:02 am Brings back memories. My dad was stationed in Whitehorse during WW2, we lived at “Station E” (Military) in ‘45-’47 timeframe. Thanks for pix.
▪. John on June 26th, 2010 2:43 pm Absolutely amazing scenery. I have wanted to go camping in Alaska for a while now and this just make me want it more. I think your photos do show the splendor of the area. Thanks for sharing.
▪. Don Thompson on June 26th, 2010 4:27 pm Have been reading your Blog as you go along. We are a little behind you. In Montana now and plan to go in to Calgary on 29 June and head up your way. We did travel this route in 2008 with another RVer, however this trip we are by ourselves. Looking forward to getting up there. Really enjoy your Blog. Thanks for sharing. Don..
▪. Bill on June 26th, 2010 4:49 pm You don’t mention the insects much. I’ve heard that in the winter it is really cold and snowy and in the summer the mosquitoes eat you alive. How much of a problem has that been for you when you are outside? [We haven’t had any problem with mosquitos … yet!]
▪. Bea Kay on June 26th, 2010 5:05 pm Our first trip to Alaska was in a 24′ Winnebago in 1974. We had 3 daughters with us-20, 17 & 14. At that time all the roads in Yukon Terr. were gravel but we didn’t hit that until later. We took the shakedown cruise of the Alaska Ferry Columbia up & at that time we got off at Haines as there was no road from Skagway to Whitehorse. The road from Haines to Alaska was gravel & sort of elevated. I thought the cabinets were going to fall off the walls the road was so bad.
▪. John on June 26th, 2010 6:08 pm Yes, there are mosquitos in the Wal-Mart area there since it is right beside the Yukon River. Whitehorse has a wonderful transportation museum, old interesting vehicles, story of the lady who graduated from college in NY and answered an ad in a newspaper for a pilot in California who wanted someone to share expenses for him to fly a plane to Alaska. It crashed not too far away and it is quite a story. An old movie was made of it after she returned and wrote a book. They did not die in the crash but of course suffered some broken bones. Their survival until rescued is quite a story. We camped at the Wal-Mart parking lot right near the Honda dealer while they examined our tow. We had a ball visiting with the huge amount of campers on the Wal-Mart parking lot. I did not count the rigs but the parking lot was loaded with all types of RVs, motorhomes, travel trailer, 5th wheels, etc. We enjoyed the canyon area, too, but the most interesting was the museum. Also the Pizza there was superb. I believe it was a Boston Pizza outlet.
▪. John on June 26th, 2010 6:18 pm On our trip in 2006 to Alaska, I only remember mosquitos at Munchin Lake area where we camped overnight (it was moist, misty area, and inside Artic Circle). In the Circle, they will try to eat you alive, but I bought my wife a pullover mosquito net while at the Cabellas in Mitchell, SD, that worked beautifully. Although, they were thick inside the Circle, I did not get one bite as a result of the trip. Nor did we get a bite in Whitehorse, although we saw a number of mosquitos, especially on the side of the parking lot closest to the Yukon River. We were in Fairbanks, Denali, Anchorage, Seward, Eagle River, Homer, and Valdez and did not have a problem with the mosquitos where we parked.
▪. Tisha on June 26th, 2010 6:22 pm We have been enjoying your postings for some time as my husband will be starting a tour of Alaska with Tracks to Adventure on June 30th. When I spoke with him today, I reminded him to check out your latest posting as this will be one of the stops on his tour. Thanks for sharing … I feel as though I am there when I read your posts!
▪. Bill Mann on June 26th, 2010 7:15 pm Do you use a shield to keep gravel from destroying your toad headlights and paint? What about gravel problems on your rig itself from either following vehicles or those passing or approaching you?
▪. Lee Ensminger on June 26th, 2010 8:27 pm If you haven’t left the area yet, tour the paddlewheel riverboat and take a drive out to the airport. They have the world’s most interesting weathervane: A DC-3, mounted on a swivel and balanced so well it swings around and always points into the wind. Very cool. I can’t wait to go back there.
▪. Garry Scott on June 27th, 2010 12:13 am Thanks very much for the blog so far, just fantastic, feels like I am almost there with you, keep on trucking, regards Garry Scott England UK
▪. Ralph Delgado on June 27th, 2010 8:47 am Great blog; we’re planning on going next year. I saw that the caravan charge is over $7,000 per couple, even including campground fees and the occasional outing. It seems pricey. Do you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth? [Yes, we do. We’re given info about what’s ahead, which cuts down on the stress of where to get diesel and what to see; we go on excursions, etc., that we wouldn’t have wanted to pay for but have enjoyed; we travel with others but are by ourselves 90% of the awake time; we are fortunate to be with people whose company we enjoy. It ain’t cheap, but, yes, we feel we are getting our money’s worth.]
▪. Gary Altig on June 27th, 2010 10:45 am I’m curious as to activities; events; and venue aspects for limited walking people? Would Electric or Gas carts be necessary or even practical?/ga [There is one member of our group who uses an electric cart. He misses out on a few of the sights but not many. Not always easy, but he seems to make the best of it.]
▪. Merrily on June 27th, 2010 11:54 am My dad was working on the AlCan during the ‘war” as a civilian in ‘43. He, too, was stationed at military camp ‘E’ in Whitehorse just near your campsite. I have been up your way twice and will be returning. We went without a caravan! Great memories!!! I want to get to Inuvik before there is a Walmart there!!
▪. Merrily on June 27th, 2010 11:56 am I forgot to mention….I am REALLY enjoying your blog! THANKS!
▪. Stan Zawrotny on June 27th, 2010 3:35 pm Someone earlier mentioned staying at the Hi-Country. I whole-heartedly recommend it. Just down the road is the Pioneer. They are both rated “7″. The Pioneer is a parking lot. The Hi-Country is wooded and friendly. There are 7’s and then there are 7’s.
▪. Old Gray on June 27th, 2010 5:58 pm I’d love to see more photos but I understand your concern about spoiling things for those folks who will follow you. However, many of us who are reading your blog will never get where you are going so don’t worry too much about it. If you have a great photo, publish it! I’m making do with Google Earth’s photos in Panoramio – and in Whitehorse, I’ve been walking the streets with Street View. Many thanks for your dedication to publishing daily. I’ve tried that and it’s an enormous task.
▪. Jeff Glazer on June 27th, 2010 9:37 pm Right on! We found Whitehorse to be an absolute jewel. But you didn’t mention our favorite feature – restaurants. Whitehorse has some really good restaurants. Our favorite is the Klondike Restaurant right in town.
▪. rswelborn on June 28th, 2010 9:13 am Our family RV’d Alaska in 2003. Your blog really evokes refreshing memories of our trip. Great job! Please go SLOW from here on; those frost heaves can be ENORMOUS in places. You are truly on an amazing adventure. The most beautiful scenery our family ever saw!
▪. oregon coast cabin rentals on June 30th, 2010 7:58 am I am really enjoying your post and the stuff regarding to your trip. It would be great if you post some pictures too. Looking forward to see more such stuff.
▪. Nancy Giammusso on July 1st, 2010 1:50 pm Loving your blog. Look forward to the same kind of trip when I retire in 29 months. Thank you for such great information, you are just making me more determined to take the trip to Alaska.