Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

16 July 2005

We spent the day on or around the Yukon River. This river has a lot of history and quite a bit of fiction written about it. The history most people are aware of is of the Yukon as the highway to the gold during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898. The gold seekers (also known as Stampeders) would come by boat to Skagway or Dyea, Alaska (about 100 miles south of Whitehorse). They were required to have 6 months worth of supplies and equipment in order to begin their journey over the coastal mountain range using the Chilkoot Pass and White Pass. They would then make their way to the Yukon and use it as a highway to the gold fields. It was a difficult journey and some of the most challenging stretches of the river were at the beginning of their encounter with the Yukon. The Stampeders would have to make it through Miles Canyon and the dreaded Whitehorse Rapids upstream of Whitehorse.

The Yukon related fiction that most of us are familiar with is the writing of Jack London and Robert Service. Many of us formed images of the Yukon was formed when we read Jack London's Call of the Wild. Our image of the river was largely satisfied by the reality.

We spent a good part of the morning hiking a trail on the right bank of the river. The trail leads from the Miles Canyon suspension bridge to the site of Canyon City and beyond (it is part of the Trans Canada Trail). Canyon City was the place where most of the gold seekers stopped before they proceeded through Miles Canyon and the Whitehorse Rapids (the town and its buildings have disintegrated). The afternoon was spent cruising the river on the MV Schwatka.

Yukon River Scenes
Beaver Lodge