Travelling Solo in Dawson Metropolis and Whitehorse within the Yukon, Canada

I stood scouring the banks of Bonanza Creek, hopeful to set eyes on just a bit nugget of gold left over from the 1896 Klondike Gold Rush. I used to be on the precise spot the place gold was first found, however over 130 years of insatiable mining quashed any prospects I had. 

gold in the shops in dawson city

I used to be on a gold panning tour with Declare 33, simply exterior Dawson Metropolis within the Yukon, Canada. A ‘must-see’ exercise right here to actually perceive an important second in historical past for the world. Following the gold discovery Dawson Metropolis in a short time turned a bustling gold mining city crammed with hopeful prospectors. It solely lasted round 3 years however set the world on its path. 

Flanked by mountains, and the final metropolis north earlier than the Arctic Circle 240km away, Dawson Metropolis is now a peaceable sanctuary, in style with artists due to the gorgeous surroundings throughout.

I’d flown from London to Vancouver, then north to Whitehorse, and even additional north to Dawson Metropolis to make it for the Dawson Metropolis Music Pageant – ’Canada’s tiny, excellent pageant’. It was a beautiful time to be to this point north, with native music and bands taking part in to the small crowd of 1000 within the Midnight Solar – however I used to be additionally within the Yukon for an journey. 

Dawson City restaurant

Stopping in Whitehorse on the way in which up – the journey capital of the Yukon – I used to be answering my Name of the Wild, as native Yukon-adopted hero writer Jack London had completed in 1903 earlier than me. 

Adventures in Whitehorse 

Arriving into Whitehorse at 10am after 24 hours of journey, the welcome contemporary air pulled me in off the aircraft. This was northern Canada, it didn’t get a lot brisker. You don’t realise how dense the air you’re so used to respiration is till you fill your lungs, nostrils and soul up with clear, mountain air. The novelty of having the ability to stroll the 45-minute path into Whitehorse from the aircraft was attractive, however having travelled over 4000 miles, I obtained a taxi. 

As a substitute of ready for my room to be prepared on the Edgewater Lodge, I walked the Millennium Path alongside the Yukon River. Trying right down to the river I used to be wanting to see a run of salmon, so indigenous this space, however no luck. Simply flowing water, circling birds and the gravel banks. It felt superb after the restrictions of the aircraft. 

whitehorse in the yukon

A couple of hours later and I used to be on the most photographed spot in Whitehorse, Miles Canyon. Travelling solo I knew one of the simplest ways for me to see as a lot as doable in a brief area of time was a tour. 

My tour information, Toni, used to work as a director on the First Nations Centre, serving to create coverage. She was a implausible supply of data to introduce me to the First Nations tradition right here, and the problems and advantages of getting so many cultures and beliefs working collectively within the current day. There are 14 First Nations teams in and round Whitehorse, who’re consulted with each change within the metropolis.

miles canyon in whitehorse
cheese toastie on the millennium trail

The treacherous stretch of water we have been now admiring had foiled many a prospectors’ dream of reaching Dawson Metropolis again within the Gold Rush. In line with “Nearly 9 million years in the past, a rush of basaltic lava unfold over a pre-glacial panorama a couple of kilometres from what’s now downtown Whitehorse, A ribbon of fast-moving turquoise water runs between the cliffs that stay.” 

And that splendidly hued ribbon is Miles Canyon.  

I hiked a couple of km of it, envious of anybody who had the time to discover the complete 15km loop. In winter that is the place to be for enigmatic images of the Northern Lights. 

street art in whitehorse

Again in Whitehorse centre the colorful buildings and vigorous major avenue are surrounded by mountains – that is the purpose the place the three large Yukon mountains meet. Gray Mountain to the east (with its spectacular cliff partitions and sheer drop to hike to), Mount Sumanik to the northwest and Golden Horn Mountain to the south. Whitehorse is the most important metropolis within the Yukon, house to over 27,000 individuals (¾ of the inhabitants of the Yukon). And with 416km², Whitehorse is a metropolis with SPACE. 

Naturally, these lovely environment draw an adventurous crowd as I used to be to find the subsequent day with a bunch ‘Bucket Checklist Journey’ journey down the Yukon. Among the best issues to do in Whitehorse.

Canoeing down the Yukon River

Simply up early due to jet lag I headed to the canoe workplace and our group of six strangers arrange for a day on the river. Intriguing cool containers have been loaded, a paddle every, and a lifejacket too. We have been all set for 28km over six hours, with a BBQ cease for lunch.   

A guesstimate of 5km in and my higher arms have been drained. I used to be so determined to ask if ‘we have been practically there but’, however as a totally fledged grownup finishing a dream journey to canoe down the Yukon River, I knew it wouldn’t be cool. 

I seemed up for power from the solar and noticed a chicken circling, touchdown on a department close by. A bald eagle!

(Take a look at the department on the second pic!)

VickyFlipFlop in Canada
canoeing in whitehorse

With the rhythmic paddling enforced by my co-canoeist I fell into a gorgeous trance captivated by azure flowing water highlighted by the solar, unidentified chicken sounds and the slowly altering panorama. It was doable to paddle all the way in which to my subsequent vacation spot Dawson Metropolis from right here, however as enthused as I used to be by this truth after we began, I used to be equally glad we weren’t wherever close to the 460 miles required. With no gold on the finish there simply wasn’t the motivation the prospectors of 1896 had, plus we had planes and automobiles now. 

Cooking outdoors

We pulled over to an island and foraged for wooden to make the hearth for our BBQ. With the flames licking the Yukon air we indulged in sizzling canine and heat cookies looking over the river. Lunch is a lot extra satisfying if you’ve earned it.

Again in Whitehorse

In Whitehorse you’re solely ever 20 minutes away from wilderness. Winters listed here are canine sledding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice fishing and snowboarding. Glacier flightseeing excursions to the Kluane icefield and the huge Kaskawulsh Glacier are there for anybody who can afford it. Summer time is mountain biking, mountaineering and fishing – and canoeing. 

seaplane in Whitehorse

After simply three days right here it was time to go to Dawson Metropolis. I’d already booked into my window seat. Over 80% of the Yukon is untouched, pristine territory, and the views of pine timber and rivers are legendary. Even in Whitehorse nothing over 4 storeys is allowed, so its pure magnificence is open for all to see. 

Plus, the Yukon has 10 occasions extra moose, bears, wolves, caribou, goats and sheep than individuals. I needed to spy them from the sky!

Arrival into Dawson Metropolis

Touchdown on the tiny Dawson Metropolis Airport, the place baggage declare was a gap within the wall from the surface in, I knew I used to be actually on the verge of the wilderness like by no means earlier than. 

As a Nationwide Historic Website, Dawson Metropolis is all previous vibrant buildings and unpaved roads. On the top of the Gold Rush over 40,000 individuals lived in Dawson, now it’s simply over 1,000 who courageous the ‘beneath 40’ winters. 

READ MORE: Journey Information to Dawson Metropolis

Outside of the Pit

What I imagined to be the journey spotlight of my few days right here was the Tombstone Territorial Park – rugged mountains with permafrost landforms and uncommon wildlife. Sadly they cancelled the journeys that week because of the pageant so I missed the untouched forest and unbelievable mountains, however I did get to see Inuit throat singing and to expertise the Yukon by its tradition at a pageant.

I used to be disillusioned, however I obtained a smaller scale journey repair 5 miles up on the Midnight Dome. The 1700ft mountain has wonderful 360 views over all the Dawson space and past.

Apparently that is the place to be for New Yr’s Eve, and for the summer time solstice, when locals come to rejoice an important sunsets of the 12 months. 

Dawson City what to do

Again in Dawson Metropolis and I noticed the queue to strive the well-known Sourtoe Cocktail at Downtown Lodge. Ever since 1973 you get a certificates and kudos if you happen to knock again a drink with an actual life amputated toe rotting on the backside of the glass. “You may drink it quick, you’ll be able to drink it gradual – however the lips have gotta contact the toe,” so the saying goes. I declined. There’s an entire bunch of issues you would get from that in addition to a certificates and I didn’t need any of them!

As a substitute, I watched the cancan dancers at Diamond Tooth Gerties Playing Corridor, a favorite hang-out for the wannabe prospectors again within the day. Arrange as a manner for them to gamble away their cash.  

I took images of the ceaselessly dry docked SS Klondike on Entrance Avenue. A couple of determined prospectors had apparently as soon as timed their journey to Dawson improper, and have been caught on the boat within the ice of the Yukon River till it thawed in spring. I by no means fairly discovered why they didn’t courageous strolling the ice to get to the opposite aspect, as individuals do now come winter. I suppose it ruins the story. 

READ MORE: Fascinating Info About Canada

Leaving the Yukon

After every week of studying concerning the Gold Rush the plight of the prospectors minimize deep, and the uprooting of their households based mostly on a hope and a dream. As I flew out on the small aircraft I used the photographs I’d seen within the Dawson Metropolis Museum and Whitehorse’s MacBride Museum to think about the ill-equipped gold hunters desperately mountaineering over the mountains beneath. 

Canoe on the Yukon River

However now the Yukon is house to a distinct sort of gold. One that’s so priceless in right now’s quick paced world – the dear remoteness. The treasure right here is the wilderness, the image excellent rivers, the solace and the simplicity. 

Gold prospectors might not be as within the Yukon anymore, however that leaves it all of the extra open for us journey seekers to mine.

5 Issues to Know Earlier than You Go on a Solo Journey within the Yukon 

1. Be bear conscious

For those who’re doing something exterior within the Yukon you want to have the ability to defend your self from bears. That is much more vital if you happen to’re biking, mountaineering or tenting, particularly by your self.

Likelihood is you received’t meet a bear, particularly if you happen to stick within the centre of Whitehorse and Dawson Metropolis, however you might want to know what to do if you happen to do. 

The official steering from Parks Canada states that bears don’t really like individuals – our exercise stresses them out. So, one of the simplest ways to defend your self from a bear is to not see one within the first place. Make noise as you wander round, clap or sing or discuss loudly if you happen to concern there may very well be one about. Additionally discover contemporary bear droppings if you happen to see them, and go the opposite manner. Solely ever use official marked paths to stroll and if you happen to see any type of giant lifeless animal, don’t go close to it. It may very well be a bear’s dinner, and they won’t be completed but!

All the time have bear spray on you and know methods to use it earlier than you enterprise into the wilderness within the Yukon. 

For those who do see a bear, you might want to keep calm, communicate to the bear, again away very slowly (don’t run!) and make your self seem large. You’ll find out extra on how to react if you see a bear on the Parks Canada web site. 

up at the midnight dome in Dawson City

2. E book finances lodging properly upfront

For those who’re travelling the Yukon on a finances you’re going to want to account for each cent as it could actually get costly. There’s a backpackers lodge in Dawson Metropolis, however simply the one and it could actually get busy and booked up throughout pageant occasions. It’s the identical in Whitehorse, there’s just one hostel on the town. E book early to get in and get the perfect costs. 

In case you have a tent there are many campsites round Dawson and Whitehorse – if you happen to’re on a finances and need an journey tenting is a good choice!

READ MORE: The place to Keep in Whitehorse / The Greatest Festivals in Canada

3. Ladies travelling solo within the Yukon 

I’m a lady and travelled solo within the Yukon – it was nice! The realm does have a tendency to draw an older worldwide crowd, primarily due to the price of getting there, however there are many youthful home travellers round too. 

I didn’t really feel weak or in peril on any of the actions I did, or across the centres of the cities. The one time I felt nervous was due to bears on the way in which up the Midnight Dome. 

The Yukon is thought for being tremendous protected. 

Do keep avenue good round Whitehorse at evening although. There’s a comparatively minor downside with drug use, nevertheless it’s nonetheless there. 

4. Learn and analysis earlier than you go 

The historical past of the Yukon actually is fascinating. It was nice to study concerning the Gold Rush whereas I used to be there, however I believe it could’ve been even higher to have completed extra analysis earlier than I left. The Gold Rush left such a narrative to the world, and one which’s referred to in each expertise you do. Watch or learn Name of the Wild, learn Yukon Gold Rush and The Flooring of Heaven too. 

5. Prices of solo journey within the Yukon 

As I’ve alluded to, the Yukon isn’t low cost! 

Dawson City in the Yukon

The Yukon River canoe journey was round £70, a boutique lodge room is round £100 per evening, restaurant meals are round £25 a head and a flight from Dawson Metropolis to Whitehorse is round £250. 

In fact there are methods to chop down on prices. 

It’s enjoyable to choose up a couple of bits in supermarkets if you’re overseas, and the village store in Dawson Metropolis was nice. You may camp, or keep in a hostel. You may even meet individuals there who you’ll be able to share petrol and automobile prices with to go between Dawson and Whitehorse. In fact the actions needs to be the place you splurge, particularly one as distinctive and iconic as canoeing up the Yukon River. There are positively low cost methods to benefit from the Yukon although – mountaineering is likely one of the finest. Simply keep in mind to spend money on some bear spray!