Travels With Dave and Jane: Alaska Trip: Part 11



Click on the photos to see a larger picture.

This is probably a good time to look at a map of the Yukon. (Got your copy of "The Milepost" handy?) Whitehorse is about 918 miles from our formal start on the Alaska Highway at Dawson Creek..

Whitehorse is the biggest city in the Yukon with a populaton of about 24,000. It's a government and commercial center and represents a crossroads in our travels. The Alaska Highway passes through it on the way to Fairbanks. There's also a spur that leads over to Skagway Alaska on the coast and another spur that goes to Dawson City, the old capital of the Yukon. Please don't confuse Dawson City, Yukon Territory with Dawson Creek, British Columbia. They're different places.

We visited Whitehorse twice, once on the way to Fairbanks and then on the way back home. There will be a second set of Whitehorse images later on this web site.

Let's visit Whitehorse!

There are a couple of excellent museums in Whitehorse and it's worth a stop of a couple of days to visit them. There are some large stores too and we used Whitehorse as a resupply point too.

First, here's the transportation museum. This museum is not to be missed. We loved it. Naturally there was a lot of coverage of the building of the Alaska Highway in 1942. Note the historic mile marker at the museum.

Whitehorse is a major river port on the Yukon River so there were some riverboat exhibits. Whitehorse was a stop on the route the prospectors took to reach the gold fields in Dawson City. There's the S. S. Klondike, a restored riverboat, that is operated by Parcs Canada. This attraction gave us a good sense of what river travel was like 100 years ago.

The Yukon River is much tamer than it was before a hydroelectric dam was built in the 1950's. We took a little boat cruise upstream from the dam.

There are a couple of "the biggest" things to see. Here are the (maybe) world's largest weather vane (a retired DC-3) and the world's tallest (3 story) log cabin.

Depending on the year Whitehorse is at either the beginning or end of the Yukon Quest dog sled race.

We took in a tourist show called the Frantic Follies which was cute and fun. Dale Cooper, the prima donna, reminded Dave of Joan Morris.

On the left is downtown Whitehorse at about 11 PM after the show was over. Again, it barely got dark this far north. The restored building on the right is the Klondike Rib and Salmon where we had lunch on at least two days. Excellent food.

One of the best museums in town is the Beringia Museum. A long time ago there was a land bridge that connected Asia with North America and many animal species and people migrated across. The map in the second image below shows the bridge in green. After the water rose the land was flooded and the bridge is now under the Bering Sea. There were reconstructions of a giant sloth and a mammoth. You'll note that Dave is easily amused. The sheep in the last image are reconstructions from fossils.

We missed a few things on this first visit but we returned to Whitehorse on our way home. We'll have another page on Whitehorse later on.

We temporarily got off the Alaska Highway when we left Whitehorse and headed toward Dawson City. Dawson City was the end of the trail for the prospectors in the 1896 goldrush. That's our next stop.