Solitude reigned on the road today
beckoning me to stay
As Nature revealed her beauty
In a thousand different ways.
A clear blue sky was overhead
The air was crisp and clean
The mountains and rivers and lakes I saw
Were the loveliest ever seen.
It's almost as though the Yukon knows
I'm leaving its wild lands
And wants me to remember all
the wonders my eyes have scanned.
Fear not, wild North, for I have seen
the beauty of this place
and felt the quiet strength and peace
that will lure me back someday.
As you may have guessed, the ride today was sunny and beautiful. Very little traffic in my direction and I was already prepared for the slalom course of rough spots and pot holes. Today's mission was to return to Whitehorse, and maybe get as far as Teslin. However, as interesting and quaint as Dawson City is, it is also noisy into the wee hours on the long summer nights. Sleep eluded me for quite some time and I woke early anyway. So I got up early, bade farewell to all my new buddies, and headed out. Upon arriving in Whitehorse, my brain shut down and said "That's enough!"
I didn't stop too many times except for gas and a slosh of water. I had noted a few sites on my way to Dawson City that I wanted to return to on the way back, though. One of these was the Five Finger Rapids. Wow, what a beautiful sight. This tricky little bit of the Yukon River gave no end of grief to the gold rush stampeders, many of whom ended up in the water trying to negotiate it.
My next stop was Braeburn Lodge, where they have a reputation for gigantic cinnamon buns. Having been nibbling on landjaegger sausage and nuts, I decided to stop for lunch. The cinnamon buns are indeed gigantic, but I didn't actually have one, opting for "real" food instead of carbs. I also knew I didn't have room in my cases for a cinnamon bun the size of a dinner plate. Turns out the Braeburn Lodge doesn't have any "normal" sized anything with protein. The sandwiches and burgers are all the size of a dinner plate too, and the soups were protein-less. So I ordered a cheeseburger with no bun, thinking I might be able to eat it all. It wasn't great - kind of tough and chewy and underdone. Wouldn't bother stopping there again unless it was for the cinnamon bun. The coffee was ok too.
Not far out of Whitehorse is Lake Laberge, made famous by the Robert Service poem The Cremation of Sam McGhee (click that title to read the poem). I had to drive in to the lake and take some pictures as Mom and I were just talking about it recently. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is a really huge, beautiful lake. The shore is rocky, but the setting is lovely. There were some story boards near the boat launch and one of them told the story of a stern wheeler that had sunk there in 1901. I wondered if that's why Robert Service chose that location for his poem, as Sam McGhee was shoved into the shell of a grounded ship for the cremation.
Wildlife spotted today included one black bear, eyeing me quizically from the side of the road while munching leaves and plants, a red fox that didn't have the remotest use for me, two rabbits skittering away in their nervous way and three squirrels intent on committing suicide on the highway by being indecisive about what direction to take.
Arriving in Whitehorse, I settled into the Town and Mountain Hotel. It's very nice - clean, recently renovated and the room is spacious. Only thing is, if you have lots of gear to haul to your room (as I did), you might want to ask for something on the second floor. There are no elevators.
I was rewarded for my persverance by finding three beers in the little fridge, left behind from the previous tenant. Or at least it woudl have been a reward if I liked beer. But....when life gives you beer....add Clamato juice! I suspect when I've had it, I will be out like a light.