Hello, my friends! Whew, since I’ve gotten back from the Yukon, I’ve had one photo session after another, which is AWESOME! It’s also really taken up a lot of my time, so I’m just having time to get to the blog now.
This week, I wanted to share with you our Yukon travels. I already shared our Canadian cheese board. We stayed with some longtime friends, and it was wonderful. You know, there are some people who live their lives with such purpose, thoughtfulness, and joy; they give me pause, and inspire me to draw from their example. Our friends are those kinds of people. They don’t like social media, so I won’t name or show them much. W the wife manages both her demanding career and elaborate, daily home-cooked family meals with such skill and elegance (from wild duck, to lamb’s quarters [the plant], to moose roast!). Her husband H imbues their youngster’s days, the household, and his complex personal projects with so much creativity. They forage local edible plants as they can (in the Yukon, there are MANY). They are generous and compassionate, and are always ready for new experiences (hence, moving to the Yukon!).
In any case, what a vast, stunning, awe-inspiring place this is. Because it is summertime, the sun would set late (around 11:30pm), but it never got completely dark out. How disorienting! On the flip side, in the wintertime, there are only a few hours of daylight. I’ve already resolved to go back during the winter because those dogsleds are calling my name, and I’d LOVE to see the aurora borealis! Here are some of the things we did see during these summer months, though:
SLED DOGS! The ones we were saw were at the Carcross Trading Post. There were about 100 of them, divided into teams, anxiously waiting to pull nervously excited tourists around on wheeled wagons. OK, it was really touristy, but it did give us an idea of how these dogs function. They’re not like my beloved bichon frisé Indy, who spends his days finding the perfect ray of sunshine in which to nap. These dogs pack on the lean muscle, and they live to PULL. We could see their excitement build as they were attached to a wagon. We could see them struggling to just start working already. I guess I never gave sled dogs too much thought before, but seeing these dogs at work made me realize there is truly something special here. Snowtime dogsledding is now on my bucket list.
The capital of the Yukon Territory, has a population of around 24,000, compared with the entire territory’s population of about 34,000. All in a territory that’s a bit larger than California. That said, I found Whitehorse to be a pretty bustling city, with trendy coffee shops, cute shops and restaurants, and lots of events. We tried the “best restaurant in town,” Sanchez Cantina (yes, a Mexican-owned Mexican restaurant in this subarctic region!), as well as more hearty fare at Klondike Rib & Salmon. We also delighted in checking out the town’s cheese shop, Cultured Fine Cheese. Our Yukon River canoe rental came from Up North Adventures.
Baked Cafe & Bakery: 100 Main St #108, Whitehorse, YT Y1A 1A3
Sanchez Cantina: 211 Hanson St, Whitehorse, YT Y1A1B2
Klondike Rib & Salmon: 2116 2nd Ave, Whitehorse, YT Y1A 2A8
Cultured Fine Cheese: 125-1116 Front Street (Horwood’s Mall), Whitehorse, YT Y1A 1A3
MacBride Museum of Yukon History: 1124 Front St, Whitehorse, YT Y1A 1A4
This little outpost is rich with history. It has served as a fishing and hunting camp for First Nations peoples. It was a crossing area for caribou migrations until herds were destroyed during the Klondike Gold Rush. If you go to the Yukon, you will get beat over the head with stories of the Klondike Gold Rush of 1896-1899. This little outpost became an important stop for gold-seeking miners, and was had a train station. Nowadays, there are lots of artisans and artists selling their works there, several older buildings you can visit, and of course, breathtaking views. We loved our meal at the Bistro, where salmon burgers and poutine kept the summer chill at bay.
The Bistro: Commons, Carcross, 1B0, Carcross, YT Y0B
This is by no means an exhaustive list of outdoor options in the Yukon! This is all we managed to see in our short week there!
During the Klondike Gold Rush, miners would cobble together their own rafts to take down the raging Yukon River. One spot they passed was Miles Canyon. This is where we first encountered the stunning emerald green/blue waters of the Yukon and typical local flora (not much fauna, though!). We just took some shorter hikes around here, including on a day with an art walk along the path, but you can take it further, for sure!
Fish Lake, Lake Laberge
There are many, many lakes in the region, many of them beautiful, almost all cold. We didn’t get much time to explore the waters of these two particular lakes, but we were able to take in the scenery around.
Cheesemonger and I had ONE sunny day during our visit, so we took the opportunity to canoe down a part of the Yukon River from Whitehorse. We saw more bald eagles in those few hours than in my whole life combined, and took in the sights from a whole new perspective. The emerald waters, gorgeous forests, and majestic skies were stunning. I’d definitely recommend getting out on the water as much as you can!
Kluane National Park
Well, we went to Haines Junction, the little town at the edge of Kluane National Park. It was rainy, so we couldn’t see as well as I would have liked, and we didn’t do our planned hike, but this is on our list of places to return to! I did manage to snap a couple photos of those majestic mountains, and I hope we’ll be able to take a plane tour of the mountains when we do return.
Yukon Wildlife Preserve
We had a little human cub with us a chunk of the time, and so this made for a perfect outing. The Yukon Wildlife Preserve is a non-profit organization that rescues and rehabilitates local mammals like moose, lynx, mountain goats, and others. On their 700+ acre property, you can see so many different animals and get a sense of the ecological diversity of the Yukon.
Down the road is the marvelous Bean North Coffee Roasting Co. where you can find scrumptious salads, sandwiches, and of course, coffee.
Bean North Coffee Roasting Co.: Km 9.3 Takhini Hotsprings Rd, Whitehorse, YT Y1A 7A2
Takhini Hot Springs
This might have been my first time bathing in hot springs! There are several natural hot springs in the Yukon, and they are loved by humans and wildlife alike. Nestled in with a crêperie, the Takhini Hot Springs offer some pause from the freezing cold and rough outdoors conditions. In the winter, they hold a competition for the best frozen hair. I mean, if the outside temperatures can get to something like -30°F while water temperatures are about 115°F, you might as well have fun with it. Visit their website to get more information and see some impressive frozen hair.
Takhini Hot Springs: KM 10/Mile 6 Takhini Hotsprings Road, Whitehorse, YT Y1A 7A2
I hope you enjoyed this little taste of the Yukon! I seriously cannot wait to go back.
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