I landed in Whitehorse on Friday of the May long weekend. Nissan picked me up at the airport and took me back to their shop to retrieve my truck. Knowing that I woke up in the 5am hour, and that was 3 time zones away, I had reserved Friday night in Whitehorse at the hotel again. Smart move. I think I was in bed by 7pm!
Jeff has been so eager to go camping. For months! He packed up our camping trailer and headed to Five Mile territory park near Mayo, Yukon on Thursday after work to get a spot before the busy long weekend.
Of course it is still pretty cold in the Yukon, and there was still snow in the campground, and the lake was still frozen, so by the time I drove up on Saturday morning to join him at the campground, he was the only one there.
He tells me there were more people the two nights before, including a big group of grade 7 kids from Dawson on a school camping trip (brr!).
I was a little peeved when I got there, having just tested out my newly repaired air conditioner in my truck, to find out that is wasn’t fixed at all, still, a thousand plus dollars later. AHH!!!
I had a week of stories to tell him about my vacation so far, so he kicked back with some pretzels and I talked his ears off.
That night he barbequed some chicken while I fried up a stir fry.
Hank seemed pretty content with life in the campground.
We took a short hike and then got a fire going.
The mosquitos were awake during the warmest part of the day, but it took me a day to realize they weren’t actually biting yet!
I borrowed Jeff’s binoculars to start my Yukon birdwatching!
All weekend I chased around two birds, that the Merlin app told me were a yellow rumped warbler and a varied thrush and I was unable to find either of them, despite hearing them most of the weekend! But I did ID a few others to add to my list. Now up to 82!
Sunday morning I got up at 6 and got the fire going. I toasted a bagel and pop tart right on the fire grill. Mmmm
It was a COLD morning. Cold enough for a toque!
While we had been in Mayo before (it’s about 3 hours from Dawson City), we’d never been up to Keno so we took a drive!
An hour or so up the gravel road (which was a mess with frost heaving), we found ourselves in the old silver mining town of Keno. Keno is way off the beaten path. An unorganized town with no stores or really many services, it felt like a different decade, or century? Here’s some pictures while we drove the seemly randomly laid out streets.
The entire town feels abandoned, and lived in, at the same time. Like a movie set. With a village of unique characters. Wikipedia tells me just 24 people live here now that the old silver-lead mines closed down. I would have guessed many more. It felt like there were more than 24 buildings that were lived in? Maybe just seasonally?
There are more mines active up here again. Many have mobile camps set up though, with Atco trailers, so no one actually has to reside in Keno to work at the mines anymore.
The big old roadhouse/hotel/bar/lounge burned down last year, unfortunately. And the pizza place across the street from it is for sale (good luck).
I’d like to come back here some day, and spend some time in the Mining Museum, hike up to the butterfly hill behind town (still under snow this weekend), and take the Walking Tour of Keno.
South of Keno, is the town of Elsa. Well, is it still a town? It was a mining town of 700 residents, but when the mine closed, the people left, and now you can’t even go into the townsite. It has been absorbed by the mining company headquarters and there are signs and gates and warnings of security. Here’s the view of the old school from the road, surrounded with old core sample piles:
There are lots of relics in spotted in every direction when you drive between Mayo and Keno. Buildings, cabins, machinery, even old mining shafts and tunnels:
Today, Monday of the long weekend, it was so cold outside, that even with my coat and toque on, I ended up back in the trailer with the furnace for breakfast.
We packed up camp and tidied the trailer and headed back home to Dawson City.
Back to work tomorrow! What a great spring vacation. I didn’t even bring my laptop, and I’m almost done a THIRD book. I was reading! Felt fantastic.