First stop on Day 2 was the Braeburn lodge that my Dad told me had really big cinnamon buns we should check out. He wasn’t kidding!
The drive up to Dawson City is really nice. There were a bunch of pull offs with historic sites.
I could move to Dawson City today, if I could find a way for Jeff to do his job from 4 time zones away 😉 I fell hard for Dawson.
Dawson City and the Klondike region was the scene of the 1898 gold rush, and the gold rush is still going on in various forms there today.
The streets are all dirt, except for Front street, where special pavement without bitumen was brought in from France so it would look like dirt. It was only done because the dust from the dirt road was just too unbearable in the summer in the Front street shops.
The sidewalks are all wooden. Many old buildings, or rebuilt old buildings, are in Dawson City. It is a historical town where people are really laid back, and although there are many summer tourists, it doesn’t feel really touristy (like Skagway, Alaska).
The first evening we spent with my Dad’s cousin Veronica and her partner Rick. What a night! You should always greet a new town with locals 🙂
Here is “The Pit”. It is a famous bar that is open year round in Dawson.
We had dinner at Klondike Kate’s and I had the best plate of food I’ve ever had in my life. If you’re ever in Dawson City, or even within 3 days drive of it, you have to go to Klondike Kate’s and order the Chicken Little. It is a nice big hot sandwich with smoked chicken, cheese, avocado, bbq sauce, bacon, etc. So big and smokey and juicy you’ll need a stack of napkins handy as the juice drips up your arms to your elbows each time you take a bite. Make sure you wash it down with a Yukon Gold beer or two.
After dinner we decided to go look for the toe captain. It was time to join the Sourtoe Cockail Club. What’s that you ask? Well to join the Sourtoe Cocktail club, you need to take a drink with a toe in it. Yes a real toe.
“You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but the lips have gotta touch the toe”.
The original toe was found by eccentric Dawson sourdough Dick Stevenson in an abandoned cabin. It was apparently a self-amputated, frostbitten toe of a gold miner from the 1920’s. Using that toe, Stevenson created the sourtoe cocktail club in 1973. The toe has been replaced with donor toes several times over the years. The fine is now $2500 if you swallow the toe.
After the excitement, Rick grabbed a 6 pack of Corona for us from The Pit (off-sales are permitted here), and we headed up to the midnight dome overlooking Dawson City.
We went on a short hike with Veronica and Rick to another look out and they showed me all the plants that are edible in the area. Who thinks now-a-days of foraging for food? Why don’t we? I ate a spruce tip. Never thought of eating the new growth off a spruce tree before. It was really good!
It was probably 11pm or so in the above photo. The sun doesn’t set in Dawson except for a few hours after 1am, and even then, it isn’t dark at all. I really came to love the midnight sun!
We stayed at the Gold Rush Campground for a couple of nights. It is right in town. Really just a parking lot for RVs and vans and a few tents, but super convenient because you can walk everywhere. It had showers (that took tokens they sell) and had a nice laundromat.
On our second day in Dawson, we reorganized our plans to squeeze in a dinner cruise on the river, but not enough people signed up so it was cancelled 🙁
We did take an early morning walking tour of the town with Parks Canada. They own many of the old historical properties in town and preserve them for the future. They showed us a few of the old buildings and other notable buildings in town.
By lunch we were headed out of town to the old Dredge #4. It was the biggest wooden hulled dredge until the record was recently beat by a dredge in New Zealand. It was built in 1912 for the Canadian Klondike Mining Company and worked in the Klondike Valley on the “Boyle Concession” until 1940 and then was relocated to Bonanza Creek and worked until 1959. It was partially sunk in the mud for years, but was saved and partially restored by Parks Canada.
Beside the museum is a huge shed holding the old train engines. There was a short rail line in Dawson City back in the gold rush days that helped bring firewood to town. It was so efficient, they had enough wood for a couple years and shut down the trains.
That night we went to Diamond Tooth Gertie’s. It is a gambling hall, bar, with live entertainment. Gertie and her cancan dancing girls put on 3 shows each time, which each one becoming a little more risque as the night goes on. We caught the middle show and gambled a bit. It is a non-profit operation owned by the Klondike Visitors Association that reinvests all the profits into the community to preserve historic sites, produce local events and tourist attractions, and to promote the Klondike as a tourist destination. You need to buy a $12 membership card to get in, but it is good for the entire year.
After the show, and a couple of Yukon Gold’s, we each grabbed a slice of pizza from Big Al’s (inside Gertie’s) and walked back to the campground in the midnight sun.
Here’s a photo from inside our van before we cleaned up and went to sleep.