Chapter 14.  Yukon Territory

Day 93 - August 16 – Top-of-the-world Highway and Dawson City

(Bert) I never tire of the undulating mountain scenery viewed from Top-of-the-world Highway. Ridge after ridge of shades of brown, blue or green, depending on the sunlight intensity and direction and cloud diffusion, creates the effect of ocean’s rolling waves. Seas of white clouds flow into the valleys, creeping up the mountain sides and making islands out of some and peninsulas from others, all far below our lofty viewpoint. I wish I could camp someday along these ridges and spend hours surveying the 360º panorama, listening to the wind or a crackling fire or an investigative jay. Instead, we take our time traveling the road through the western edge of the Yukon Territory until we make the rapid descent to the Yukon River below. Most in our caravan arrive within minutes of each other and form a waiting line to cross the river by ferry. With priority given to locals with seasonal passes, the cars and trucks make a quick transfer, leaving our oversized and over length rigs to take turns, usually only one rig at a time. Shari and I arrive at our Dawson City campsite first and over the next 2+ hours in roll the others.

We have multiple activities to choose from this evening. Shari and I attend the Robert Service reading at 7. A new recitalist is performing, the third actor we have listened to here in front of the original house Robert Service rented when he lived in Dawson City, working at a bank and writing poems that sold by millions of copies. After tracing the life history of Service and reciting several poems, the performer finishes with a hilarious poem written late in Service’s life and one I had not heard before, The Three Bares.

Shari attends the second activity at Diamond Tooth Gertie’s and I take another group to the third activity, driving to the top of Dome Mountain at sunset which these days is between 9:30 and 10 PM. Clouds dim the view, but add a bit of crimson to the setting. My photos of the Yukon River below and the receding mountains to the north are a study in shades of blue and purple, a photo that appears more like a watercolor painting than a digitized image.

Day 94 - August 17 – Dawson City

(Bert) Tomorrow we travel the Dempster Highway. Although we have known about this from the beginning, talked about it many times, explored the possibilities, some in the group do not make a decision until yesterday or today. Some will stay in Dawson City, some will explore only the first part of the highway and the rest of us will attempt to reach Inuvik mostly by car, although Bill and Ginny hope to make the round trip in their truck and 5th-wheel. We move campsites to the start of the Dempster Highway, poised for an early morning start tomorrow.

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