It may be fall, and only 4 degrees C this morning, but the weather forecast looked great for another ATV ride with our friends.
Last night we loaded my quad into the back of the truck and Jeff’s onto the trailer so we would be ready to meet by 9am at the ferry. Everyone must have been eager because we got to the ferry at about quarter to, and were the last in line to cross the river!
The fog was thick as we headed up the Top of the World Highway, until we moved further inland and away from the Yukon River.
75 minutes later we were right near the Yukon – Alaskan border where we all jumped right to work getting our machines offloaded and ready to ride!
I won’t mention names, but if you used to watch the Yukon Gold tv show, you will have seen all of this route and the creek and placer gold mines we visited today. And if you watch Gold Rush this next season, you’ll likely see a few scenes from here that were filmed here in the last month.
Our friend Gerry got a new side by side that was quickly broken in, muddy and wet!
What a lovely day it was shaping up to be! There were caribou hunters all over the Top of the World highway, camped out, driving on quads. We saw one who had hiked to the top of a big peak just for a better view. We didn’t see a caribou anywhere. Smart caribou.
It was muddy, since it has rained so often here this year. I wore my rubber boots and rain pants over them, so I could zoom through mud and water and not have to worry about wet feet.
I remember seeing these crosses last time we explored this hill.
You could drive this “road” with a truck the first bit, and then, well you can drive it with a truck but you are going to get pretty stuck in spots.
We knew our route wasn’t going to be too long today, so we had lots of time to explore. We stopped at the first camp to poke around.
This one has been used not too many years ago, but there were signs people have mined here for a long, long time.
And just like every other mining camp, it looked like they thought they’d be back the next year. Full of tools and welding rods and pails of hydraulic fluid.
Some of the cabins were used not too long ago, maybe by hunters or prospectors, or just someone out for an adventure. There were mattresses and sleeping bags, novels and deodorant. And clothes, always clothes!
The animals had been into most of the trailers and cabins. And I don’t know about this one. Did someone forget the key? Or did a grizzly bear help himself?
Look at the old lunchbox on this stove!!
Everything was wired up for a generator here. Most of the cabins had little electric space heaters.
There were two outhouses at this camp, both big and tall, wired for lights, and neither with a door.
This cabin and trailer that were connected stunk too much for me. Just wet rot and mold. I turned right around and dry heaved my way back out the door.
This next one may have been in the best shape, but still not somewhere I’d want to spend a night. It was full of clothes and the calendar on the wall was from July 2008.
So many boots, shirts, jeans, even underwear. It isn’t easy to haul trailers in and out of these gold mining creeks, so miner after miner uses the same old camps until they go bankrupt or move along. There was just one man mining along the river today. We passed him as he was driving an excavator up the hill.
How did this person leave so many clothes behind, mustard on the counter. Did the snow just get too heavy one fall and they raced out? Or did they think they were going to make one more trip to camp? Or maybe thought they’d be back the next spring?
As always, we are here just to explore. We aren’t trespassing, all of this should have been cleaned up when they stopped mining here, and the land is all public. We don’t wreck anything and make sure the doors are closed behind us.
Even every old truck left behind still has the keys in the ignition, although I think some of them haven’t moved in decades.
This next camp was smaller and the buildings were also rotten. The roof was caved in on one of them.
Gotta love an antler door pull!
It wasn’t too far past this camp that we were spending more time driving in the creek than beside it and there was no more sense of a road or path, so we turned around and explored everything we didn’t stop at the first time by.
It was crisp and cold and windy up top when we started our trip, but down here along Moose Creek, it was much warmer and one by one, we stripped our extra layers off.
Here’s an excavator that looked a bit stuck and seemingly forgotten. See the birds nest on the arm?
I don’t think fuel tankers have a very good life in the Yukon. They always look like they’ve rolled a few times.
Moose Creek wasn’t too deep, so it was fairly easy to cross it back and forth. Only once did we come to a super steep wall of dirt going down and to the left and I said “Nope!” and our friend Tim took my quad down for me and I walked. Yeah I chickened out. Maybe I wouldn’t have if he didn’t offer. And after he offered, the polite thing to do is to let him drive it down.
On the climb back out of the river valley, here is the view going up:
And here was the view behind me:
And here is me:
See the Moose River valley behind us where we were? This road has a bit of a switch back option for trucks and equipment. I sure wouldn’t want to take anything but a quad down there.
Up top the trees disappear and the open tundra spreads wide in its red autumn hue.
We walked up to see the crosses.
The remains of “Bill” W.E. McMillan (1923-1987) are here. From a web search, I learned Bill’s twin brothers mined for several years on Moose Creek and when Bill died in the area, he has asked to be buried above the river.
And then we were back to load back up our rigs.
Our friend’s are contractors who had a couple of their outhouses out here for a temporary job nearby. To save another trip out here, they loaded them in their truck to bring back to town.
A beautiful fall day spent with friends – there is nothing better! And the mud was just a bonus!