Leg 6

Whitehorse  ->  Dawson City

North to the Gold Country of the Klondike


Comfortable camp site at the Whitehorse airportThere we were, at Whitehorse (CYXY). Initially our group of nine aircraft had planned an overnight stop on the way north to Alaska. It had been a long flight the day before from Dawson Creek. But as we looked out of the hotel window, gusty winds swept rain across the streets and clouds sat low over the surrounding hills. Some of us had decided to be more adventurous and had made use of the nice camp site at the airport next to the tie-down area. The storm had forced them to seek shelter in the patio during the night. Stuck another day. 


Old DC3 serving as weather-vane at Whitehorse airport Whitehorse, the administrative center of the Yukon Territory did not offer too many attractions. So, some of us got a car and drove south to Skagway, several hours each way. Most of the time driving was in limited visibility weather. Was it worth the trip? Those of us that stayed behind enjoyed a day of rest and walking the few streets of the city and occasionally checking the next day's weather. Promises of improvement, would they hold?  

Klondike Valley with Yukon on the way to Dawson CityThe next morning optimism spread. No blue sky but at least the wind was more moderate and the clouds had lifted. Driving out to the airport we noticed that the old DC3, mounted on a post and used as weather vane, had swung around, a sign that the system should have passed during the night. The few weather observations indicated that the flight to Dawson City should be doable. However there were no pilot reports yet of the situation in between. With a few landing strips along the way for the worst case we set off direction northwest. The faster Centurions spread out in front to investigate and report the situation on our "company frequency". 

Occasional view of the place to goThe flight was very impressive, following the spread out rivers and lakes along the valleys. The cloud base fortunately held, however, only too often some cloud banks and rain showers forced us to make detours. If that was not possible, it meant flying low (200 ft AGL) and keeping the eye on the road under the wing, the Klondike Highway. Communication was the support that we could give each other, especially when it was necessary to warn of opposite traffic also at treetop level! Then, approaching the gold mining town of Dawson City (CYDA) we could start to relax and reach for the sun glasses. The test was over and all nine aircraft had passed!

Our accomodation in traditional style  Old residences tilted by the permafrost


Our residence on the left ....

          ...alternatives on the right suffering from the passage of time and the unsure foundation in the Permafrost.

 Shopping opportunity for all occasions   

 Old post office boxes 

A small post office at one time had to serve several 10'000 residents. Mail was brought by paddle steamer on the Yukon river from Whitehorse .  



If you need something you visit Jimmy's Place.

Joan and Ueli enjoying the rare moments in the sun Old steamer still going strong       

Observe our warm clothing as we enjoy one of the rare moments in the sun.         

The Yukon river is still a busy place.

A valley left with the mark of the Gold-RushOld dredging barge has served it's time Dawson City is a very interesting town, founded in 1896 when gold was discovered. That summer it had more than 30'000 inhabitants. It is in the Yukon Territory and is the area of the Klondike. This is where most of the gold in the world has been mined (they say until today, 13'061'660 ounces). A three and a half hour tour of the Dredges took us through part of the area where monster barges used to work through the gravel sediments.

GOLD at the botom of the panToday, even we got the chance to pan for gold. Guess what? We both found some. It might be worth enough for two large pizza's and maybe some soda, but that's about it! It was great fun just the same and we learned so much. 

The town itself has no paved streets because it gets down to minus 65 degrees F for a good part of the winter and much of the ground is frozen year round. This permafrost not only was a problem for building and transportation, it also was a stumbling block when digging for the precious metal. There are boardwalks for sidewalks and many of the original buildings still stand, some a little askew.


Ueli, waiting for the sun for the next leg ...Today, the town of "Dawson City" is a community of a few thousand residents, where the people are proud of their town and take great care to preserve it. Winters are long and sunlight only shows itself a few hours a day. Summer time is variable and short in duration with only a few hours of darkness. It is hard to go to sleep in the light and wake up in the light. To us, the nights have been shorter than we like. It is tiring and one must really have discipline to get enough rest.

<<<  Ueli's waiting for the sun, for our next leg, turned out successful !!



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