Thursday, 25 July 2013

Whitehorse, YT Canada

Whitehorse is the largest city of the Yukon where three quarters of the population of the province (state) of the Yukon live, but it’s still just a small country town, with a population of 25,000.

One of the first things we did when we arrived was find a car wash to clean the truck and trailer. The height of the opening was 13’11” and we nearly didn’t fit in. Just in case, we reversed out as I didn’t think the second air conditioner would fit under the swinging arm of the sprayer and I wouldn’t be able to let Lindsay know to stop in time. So now we know that we really can’t fit under any bridge less than 14’. It took forever to clean both the car and the truck, the guy estimated that it would cost about $50 to clean but we cheated a little and I helped with the car sponge while Lindsay used the broom. We bought some tar and bug cleaner to clean both those suckers off from the previous drive, which helped a bit. Just as well it was a nice sunny warm day as we got very dirty and wet. It’s a pain that they only use cold water in car washes, so Lindsay wants to get a high pressure cleaner so we can use our own warm water. We should have got a stone guard before we left the States, but we really didn’t think about it and so we got one today to try and protect the trailer from getting muck and stones thrown up from the rear tyres; better late than never.

Signpost Forest, Watson Lake
It seems they still use CDMA here which is why no 3G or 4G networks will work out here.

It’s cold and raining again. We seem to have two days of sunshine then about three of rain. When it’s sunny, it’s warm and when it’s raining it’s cold. At night it’s getting quite cold in the mornings around 3am. I’m in jeans and jumper today while the locals are still in shorts and t-shirts. 16C probably is very warm to the locals when it gets down to more than minus 40C in winter.

SS Klondike

They have the old SS Klondike here, a paddle steamer that used to run up the Yukon river to transport goods up to Dawson City and back before the roads were built. It hit a rock and partially sank, so they salvaged the top section and put it on a new hull. So it’s really the Klondike II or as some people say, the 1½. It’s a lovely old boat and they have it all decked out with cargo and furnishings.

There is a fish ladder here that redirects the salmon from the main river through a tunnel that leads them to a ladder (a stepped up creek) to take them to the next level upstream. The salmon can weigh up to 40-50lb. Sometimes the fish jam is so great, they have to be lifted through. The staff shut a gate so that they can count how many go through, which is typically only about 1000.  A lot must get eaten along the way. They come from the Bering Sea down the Yukon River passed Whitehorse, where they spawn and die. One thousand doesn’t seem very much but when you consider all the fishermen, bald eagles and bears that catch them on the way, it’s amazing any survive. Unfortunately, they are still in the middle of their journey and won’t be at Whitehorse for another three weeks, so we didn’t get to see them.

We were told that a great place to fish and see bears is at Haines, just south of Haines Junction. While we aren’t interested in fishing, we are interested in photographing the fisherman and the bears, hopefully in the same picture.

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