In winter, there really aren’t too many places to go here that aren’t in town. Unless you have a snowmobile to travel the wilderness and frozen rivers, the highway dead ends here in winter, and the highway south is going to take you down to Whitehorse, unless you turn north on the Dempster towards Inuvik (where their sun just set, not to be seen again for 30 days).
However, Jeff was on a snowmobile for work the last couple of days, and discovered the Bonanza Road is plowed for about 15-20km or so, out to the Klondike Visitor Association’s free gold panning location.
It was pretty warm this afternoon, varying from -7°C to -10°C. We took Monty and our new SPOT device to try it out.
Here is the restored Number 4 dredge. Isn’t it magnificent? This monster chewed up the ground back in the day, separating out the gold and leaving gravel piles in its wake. You can see its two full lines of buckets stretched out in front on the ground (they are pretty heavy to keep suspended on the dredge for decades).
If you are visiting in the summer, you can tour the inside of the dredge. I find it fascinating inside!
Here are a few more pictures I took:
There are a bunch of little bird houses along Bonanza.
The Discovery Claim is where gold was first discovered on August 17, 1896, which led to the legendary Klondike Gold Rush.
We saw lots of caribou tracks, and footprints of other small mammals, but didn’t spot any wildlife today.
It is never too windy, so the snow sticks to the trees which makes for a beautiful landscape!
I haven’t seen the sun in days though. When it is cloudy and snowing, as it has been this week, it feels mostly like dusk in town during the sunlights hours. Today the sun rose at 10:44am and set at 3:33pm.
We haven’t had a clear night sky much lately either, so I’ve been striking out on the northern lights photos I wanted to capture. Usually there is an ice fog layer hanging over town, mixed with the smoke from the wood stove chimneys, we don’t see the stars too often.
This next picture shows the canvas Jeff installed over the front grill of the truck to keep the engine warmer in the extreme cold. Although it hasn’t been -30 for a couple weeks now. Everyone is commenting on how mild it’s been this winter.
We wouldn’t normally turn the SPOT tracking device on for such a safe, short trip, but we wanted to try it out, and see how accurate it was. I turned it on when we left our house, and then turned the tracker feature on, which uploads your coordinates every 10 minutes, if it can get a satellite lock. I turned it off when we were almost back in town (and stopped at a RIDE program checking for drunk driving), but it looks like its last coordinate spot was still on the Bonanza Road. Overall, quite accurate though, with the points appearing on, or just slightly off, the road shown on the map.
If you aren’t familiar with the SPOT, it is this little device that you can use to track your trips, allowing people back home to see where you are when you are way far away from cell signals. It also has an SOS button that you can use when your life is in danger, which will summon a rescue. If you’ve ever watched that TV show “I shouldn’t be alive”, everyone of them wouldn’t be on TV if they just carried one of these. It looks like this:
SPOT has a deal on right now, that gives you the full purchase price back as a rebate once you sign up for the year service plan. Here’s how, if you are interested. (No, not an ad link, I’m just a happy customer.)