Yukon Sights by Sue Thomas

North Klondike Highway, Whitehorse to Mayo

We arrived in Whitehorse on the 26th. After setting up in a very crowded commercial campground we headed out for some chores: oil change & groceries. I also wanted to visit my favourite native craft store in hopes of finding some hand-tanned moosehide moccasins. I was in luck! I grew up wearing moccasins and mukluks and continue to enjoy wearing moccasins around the house.

The evening was for laundry and checking email & road reports online.

27 June 2008

We could not wait to get out of the city! Our destination today was the Klondike Highway and the Silver Trail to Mayo. The scenery along this route isn't overly spectacular. There are also a few historical sites to check out.

Five Finger Rapids oozes history on the Yukon River. From the highway, it looks like any old bend in the river with a few rocky islands in the middle.

However, this passage presented a challenge for river pilots as they navigated their large sternwheelers between Dawson City and Whitehorse In the 1900s blasting work began and continued for many years to widen the channel more than 20 feet. As well, a cable was attached to the sternwheeler to help guide the boats through the area.

Five Finger Rapids, Yukon Territory
View of Five Finger Rapids from the Klondike Highway

Many stairs and a path takes visitors to an observation platform for a closer view. It is a nice hike on a packed dirt path. Wear some decent shoes as there is a bit of scrambling up and down rocks.

Five Finger Rapids, Yukon Territory
The rapids and rocks, up close

Five Finger Rapids, Yukon
Looking north along the Yukon River at Fiver Finger Rapids

Five Finger Rapids, Yukon
The very adventurous can stand out on the river's edge to get a good look; NOT for the faint-at-heart!

Of course, what goes down must go up ... I tried counting the number of steps as we climbed. The Milepost (a guide of northern highways) says there are 219, but I'm sure there were 222.

Stairs at Five Finger Rapids, Yukon
The second flight of stairs leading back to the highway; a test of endurance!

There was a tour bus load of people at the top oozing their congratulations as we 'bounced' back up. Jake, our dog, was not exuberant but he did it too! After catching our breath and having lunch at the rest area beside Five Finger Rapids, we continued north.

Pelly Crossing and Pelly River, Yukon on the Klondike Highway
The Pelly River and Pelly Crossing

On the north side of the Stewart River bridge, travelers can turn left to continue to
Dawson City on Hwy 2, or turn right on Hwy 11 for the Silver Trail and the communities of Mayo and Keno City. We turned right, towards Mayo and Keno City.

Sign at Stewart Crossing, Yukon

Our destination for the night was Five Mile Lake Yukon Government campground; an ideal starting point for our next day's drive to Keno City.

Five Mile Lake near Mayo, Yukon
Five Mile Lake on the Silver Trail

There is a good hiking trail around the lake. Other campers told us the fishing was not worthwhile. Steve grabbed his rod anyway and cast his line from shore. We enjoyed some nice Arctic Grayling for supper! Not many bugs here, so we had the fire going and enjoyed a pleasant evening outside.

The evenings are very long this time of year! Jake has not been feeling well so we are often strolling with him at 3 a.m. and a flashlight was not necessary! Thankfully other campers are sound asleep, otherwise they would wonder about the wild woman in fuzzy slippers and robe stumbling along behind a big red dog ... imploring him to get on with it.

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Next page - 28 June 2008