Carcross Cutoff

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2 travelers at this place:

  • Day6

    Well, today was incredible!

    After waking up and searching for showers, we were on our way.

    This is a full camping road trip: no hotels, restaurants or luxury. Just the great outdoors, campgrounds, tents and camp fires. We are even using river water to cook with! How's that for taking life to the great outdoors.

    We keep seeing the phrase "Larger than life" on every Yukon sign, today it really became apperent as to why. This place is magical! Some of the most amazing views in the world.

    Yukon is similar to BC in many ways, without the tourists and the crowds.

    Today we headed south from Whitehorse to a town called CarCross (originally Caribou Crossing). We prefer the original name much better. CarCross was an amazing stop, rich in aboriginal culture and heritage.

    We were greeted by an elder in that town who explained the towns main totem pole, a story rich in their history and tales of the past. She then began to sing to us in her native tongue while explaining the in depth layers of her heritage and pride. We stopped at an incredible lake named "Emerald Lake". Emerald Lake had some amazing colours and bright green and blue swirls- created by the shallow water and sandy bottoms.

    This part of Yukon is very sandy and is also home of the worlds smallest desert by official designation. Though we would personally dispute this after being in a desert in southeastern Saskatchewan last year.

    The elder who spoke to us in CarCross told us a story of their four seasons, which included a wonderful tale of the northern lights dancing in the winter for them. As we know Canadian winters are long and harsh. To the natives, the northern lights are their ancestors dancing in the sky to keep them company in the winters and to make their short cold days bearable.
    She told us in summer the days are long, this is their chance to get out and play while the northern lights rest. They rest in Emerald Lake, which the native locals call "Rainbow Lake" and have for hundreds of years. We too will refer to this lake as "Rainbow" instead of "Emerald".

    The town was full of incredible history including a man carving a totem pole, which would go for around $100,000! This man has carved faces for people around the world and those carvings go for $10,000 or more. He gifted one to Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and since then has been world famous. His work and skills are incredible and his passion admirable.

    CarCross was also home to the oldest retail business in the Yukon, still in operation today.

    We added some other incredible historic stops to the journey today. First, we stopped by the Venus Mine, which still had a waterhouse standing (large wood structure in the pictures). This is where, in 1910, the ore was brought down from the mines. We could still see the mine entrance at the top of the adjacent mountain. We told the elder earlier about the wolf crossing our path, her eyes widened as she told us this was a symbol of great luck for all of us. On the way to Venus Minesite we had to walk on the shoulder of a low use highway for about 1KM. Safe walk and no comcern, within this walk charles slipped out of his harness and ran right for the highway as a single car was coming. The car was driving slow, and stopped as I ran out for charles. It wasnt a life or death moment but could have been a bad situation. We figure the highway guard rail scared charles forcing him to panick as the car came! It was our lucky day. The situation lasted seconds, all parties calm. Thank you lone wolf for the luck- it came just in time.

    We then drove a few kilometers down the road to the old site of Conrad City. In the early 1900's, over 3,000 people lived in the city, working for the ore industry. Unfortnately, as the rush went into Alaska, the city died down. A nice path led us to a fallen bridge and a few houses still "standing". It is incredible how those structures are still intact and not vandalized. Doubftul would be in Alberta.

    Our last stop was he Robinson Roadhouse. The Roadhouse was used as a train stop for freight and passengers between Whitehorse and Skagway, AK. Many old buildings are also left standing along with old stoves, old canisters, etc. Again, we were amazed to see this site untouched.

    Before heading back to the site we headed into Whitehorse to grab another blanket, we have been getting anywhere from 1°-6° overnight on this trip- why didn't we expect this?. While in WH we stopped at the SS Klondike 2, for a photo op and to walk the dogs. We are back at the campground getting ready for a long day of driving tomorrow to Alaska. At the time of typing, I am being harassed by TONS of small black flies. Probably the only thing we could do without around here!

    If your interested in more photos, Jest has been sharing on his twitter;
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  • Day5

    Bigger Than Life: Yukon

    July 26, 2016 in Canada

    The day started again on the Stewart/ Cassiar highway. Again we did not see much on that road. We attempted at finding some ghost towns documented online, wihtout much success. The only trace of those we seen was a large pile of asbestos where the old Town of Cassiar lays. We had planned to stop at the border of the Yukon for the night, but decided to venture all the way to the Whitehorse area instead.

    Imagine the best scene from a childhood mountain trip. I remember when I visited Banff for the first time and it was an incredible scene, a memory that sticks forever. Well, the Yukon was like that over and over, possibly not as grand as some Rocky Mountains, but a continuously natural beauty, km after km.

    The Yukon roads are okay, somewhere between Saskatchewan & Alberta.

    Our first stop in the Yukon was the Rancherio Falls. Nice short boardwalk hike that led us to two waterfalls. The dogs got quite excited to get out of the car, but that was unfortunately not our final destination for the day.

    We then have hit a campground just east of Whitehorse where we will stay a couple days. We are going to check out many local sites for the next days before crossing the border to Alaska.

    Wildlife today; moose, ravens, rabbit. No where near the excitement of the bear cubs and wolf, but still pretty cool.

    Travelling with Stevie Nicks and Charles has been a lot of fun! It hasbeen hard to gauge their excitement, but we think they like it. Charles loves the car ride and hates the camp fire experience, SN the opposite. We quickly realize how much she is scared of metal bridge. Pretty funny to watch. So far both have been great road trip dogs and we are finding some cool dog spots along the way.

    Camping in the Yukon is pretty cool. Nights are $10-12 and come with unlimited free firewood. Local Yukon residents even stay for free. In contrast, BC was about $22/Night with $8 "bundles" of wood. The Yukon is a steal of a camping deal. Lots of little flies, but I guess we will have yo put up with them.

    We have seen way more American plated vehicles up here, and not many other provinces, would seem that we are not the only ones #DestinationAlaska.
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