Sunday, August 26, 2001

Hello from Dawson City, Y. T.!


Start time: 10261

Start odometer: 0710

An interesting town that sustained itself after the Klondike gold rush, there are many opportunities to learn the history of that event, as well as the life and times of the people involved The Canadian government has this town listed as a Historical Place, and over thirty buildings are maintained by Parks Canada, similar to our National Parks Service.  The town has gravel streets lined with boardwalks, which help carry on the image, and people working in many of the historical places wear period costume.  This includes the Can-Can shows put on at Diamond Tooth Gerties, the first casino in Canada, where period shows are presented twice a night.  Also, at the reconstructed Palace Grand Theatre, a live vaudeville show is presented nightly.  Both were very entertaining representing the times Dawson City had its heyday with the gold rush.

Very early in the morning, I had awoken for a trip outside (remember, no internal plumbing) and the sky was mostly clear.  A beautiful display of stars was seen, and I saw another satellite and a meteor.  Still, though, no aurora borealis.  After returning to bed, I got back up later in the cold morning and left Moose Creek.  It was 38 degrees, but the sky was mostly clear, and the rising sun was very pretty to see.  As I drove northwestward, however, clouds began moving in and rain started to fall.  Not too bad of a thing, as my car could use a little water to wash off the mud covering it!

I arrived in the vicinity of Dawson around noon, and remembered what a gentleman in Keno City said about two things to do before entering the city.  I took a left turn on the road he suggested, and drove down to Dredge Number 4, what is now a Parks Canada historical site.  This dredge is the world's largest wooden hulled dredge, and the Park Service was fortunate enough to have it to restore.  I took a tour of the site with a great guide, and finally figured out how those machines work.  

dredge1.jpg (20805 bytes) dredge2.jpg (20904 bytes)

I got back on the side road, and as I headed back to the Klondike Highway, I turned into the next place I wanted to visit.  It was a place that to pan for gold.  I paid my five bucks, then was shown how to work the pan.  While I did find some gold (guaranteed with the purchase of a pan) I also learned how monotonous it can be, and it is not easy on your back either!  But I have my little vial of Klondike gold!

I stopped at the visitor center when I arrived in town and was able to arrange for lodging, and got information on events and tours of the city.  After checking into my cabin and having lunch, I visited the old Post Office.  I met Doris Dunn, a lady in costume who has worked here for several years with the company running it for Parks Canada.  She was very informed of the area, and we had a nice, enjoyable conversation about many topics.  Doris is another one of the wonderful people I got to meet during this trip.

I followed the conversation with a walk along Front Street, and the Yukon River.  This led me to another tour, conducted by Barbara.  This was of the Commissioner's Residence.  In the early 1900s, the majority of people in this area were from the United States, as well as the companies with claims in the region..  The Canadian government felt many people here were feeling that this was part of the U. S.,  so they decided to bring a Canadian official, a Commissioner, to promote Canada.  The tour was given as if it was 1916, and Barbara did a wonderful job of presenting the lifestyle and emotions of the time.  Answering a question from the group about the difference between territories and provinces, she explained that since there are less than 30,000 people here, they would not be able to maintain the region on their own as a province, but as a territory, they would be able to get more support from the government.  There are two other territories in Canada, all for the same reason.  It was a very interesting tour, and obvious that Barbara loved her job.

After the tour, I walked long the Yukon River, seeing the sights, including the sternwheeler Keno, which one can also tour.  It was closed today, so I will stop by tomorrow.  

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I walked around the Moose Creek property before departing.

Someone had taken interesting pieces of wood and created "artwork."

Some of the work was rather large.

Glad I did not run into this guy last night!

I like the look of this old gas station and truck.

More beautiful views were available, as well as a layer of fog in some places.

This is a view of the Tintina Trench, as described in the next panel.

An explanation of the trench.

This panel describes some of the migration that occurs in this area.

"Welcome to the Klondike"!

The story of the men who started the Klondike gold rush!

A diagram of a dredge.

I took a tour of Dredge No. 4, now a Klondike National Historic Site.

It was quite interesting inside.

This was part of the arm that would lead the buckets, seen forward of the arm, into the bedrock to find gold.

The arm would carry the buckets inside the dredge.

Another diagram about the dredge.

This is where the non-gold dirt and rock are expelled.

The story of "Klondike Joe."

One last look at the Dredge.

The entrance sign to Dredge No. 4

I panned for gold here, and found a little bit in my pan.

An old cabin on the site of the "Claim 33" gold panning

Now in Dawson City, I began visiting several historical landmarks.  This marker tells the story of the Post Office.

For historical accuracy, the streets of the town are dirt, while wooden boardwalks provided relief from the dirt.

This describes the Commissioner's Residence, seen in the next photo.

The Commissioner's Residence.

Nice flower gardens at the residence.

This path follows the Yukon River.

Some buildings along the road in Dawson City.

Looking northwest from the park by the Yukon River.

The sternwheeler Keno.

A look at the stern of the ship.

The Palace Grand Theatre.  I took a tour of the theatre and learned some interesting stories of its past.

A short description of the history of the Palace Grand Theatre.

I thought to try my Sepia setting on my camera.  My cabin is on the street end of the third cabin.


Routes traveled today: YT 2

Hotel: Klondike Kate's -


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Copyright 2001 Igor N. Nikishin

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