Hanging around in Tok
Good morning Tok! Slept wonderfully! The Stooves Campground is next to a small airport so we hear some planes and helicopters go of. Quite funny actually. The supermarket is a little further back down the street. Arjan wants to have a nice breakfast here for us so he is going there to get something for us.??♂️
Tok is not a big place, actually pretty small, not more then a junction of two highways but the last place before we reach the Canadian border. Tok is the last place where we can get decent food for a while. Today we use our rest day to plan how many days we think we need for cycling it and how much food we think we need for this stretch. In addition, we will relax today and view the shops in the village. They have enough gift shops here. It will mainly stay with looking at the nice things they sell because we really do not want to take many things on our bike. We also want to save every gram of weight on our bicycle, especially when we ride uphill. Believe us! When Arjan is back from the supermarket we have a delicious breakfast. Now it’s time for Kim to repair some clothes and other small things. Arjan will edit photos so that we can easily add them to the blog later.
Later in the day we go shopping. For the coming part of what we are going to cycle towards the Canadian border and after that Whitehorse we already know that we will encounter few shops and supermarkets. We therefore decide to buy food for 10 days. That is quite a lot of food that we have to “just” carry on the bike. That is why in the evening we organize the panniers again.
The campsite is filled with new guests tonight. We have three motorbikers who drive with mini caravans where they sleep in very funny looking mini caravans that they have behind of their big motorcycles. There is also a pickup truck with a large caravan added with a family with three children a dog and a pig. The little pig does not really like to be lifted up when he has to be in the caravan so he gilds it as if his life depends on it. Arjan is completely surprised that there are people who take a pig as a pet. Well they really exist!
There is also a lady with her daughter. She tells the owner that they are hikers and they are looking for a spot on the campground. We are therefore very surprised when after a while they come back to the campground with their car!? Our idea about hikers is really that people are walking … but maybe this term will be defined differently in America.
We jump in the shower for a moment. In the ladies it is all of a sudden rush hour. Because the toilet and shower building only has two toilets and two showers. Two toilets and one shower is already occupied. In the toilet are “the hikers” and in the shower the lady of the big caravan with the pig as a pet. So Kim takes the only shower that is still free. Once out of the shower it is fortunately less crowded. The other lady who showered is busy styling her drenched hair with a hair straightener. She cheerfully begins a conversation. Asks where Kim comes from. Kim tells her that we are from Holland and she starts enthusiastically that a little further after the Canadian border is another lodge where a Dutch man has lived since 1967. A nice fact is that his car is also from that time she tells. He would love it if you go visit him as we pass by she says. She knows this, she says, because they will soon be moving from Denver Colorado to Alaska and has met him. If we are going to Colorado there is a cool bike route that goes towards a high mountain that all cyclists come to do there. We should look into that…. She offers Kim some mini shampoos and soaps and apologises that she talks so much, it is likely that it is a professional habit since she is a flight attendant and she is used to talking to a lot of people.
After showering we decide to grab something nice to drink from the refrigerator at the campsite. You can just take it like that and pay a dollar that you put in the money jar that is also inside the fridge. We read some in our e-readers and then go to sleep to be ready for the next chapter….Canada!
Up to the Canadian Border
We are awakened in time by the pig which is raging again because it is being lifted out of the caravan. What a wakeup call!
The sun is shining and the weather is lovely. We have a nice breakfast and pack the last stuff. If we have packed everything we have to refuel first, otherwise we can not continue cooking when we are on the road. Then we go to the local library to put one of our blogs online and to have contact with the home front.
We are not even out of Tok yet or it is already starts raining. Okay, let’s put on the raincoat again…..
The first miles are rather flat so it goes pretty fast. After a few hours of cycling it is time for lunch. It will be a short break because the weather is still not good enough to sit still for a long time.
Cycling is increasingly uphill so it does not go as fast as when we started. The upside of this is that it makes the landscape a lot more interesting though. We see a lot of lakes and because the air clears up we even get a nice view of the Est. Elias Mountains. If we have cycled 5 miles (93 km) we arrive at a state camp site. This one has the name Lakeview and is at Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge. That sounds already good! As we get there we are not let down for it is indeed very nice with a super cool view over the lake.
We are therefore not disappointed. Here are also food lockers so that this time we do not have to hang our food in the trees against the bears. However, it is stated on an information board that a brown bear was at the campsite a few days ago.
Arjan cooks while Kim does the tent. After dinner we are so terrorised by mosquitoes that we decide to sit in the tent and read something there before we go to sleep.
Friday, June 8.
It is again very nice weather this morning. The squirrels also have a great time around our encampment. It is incredible how much noise these little creatures make. If you do not know the sound you would think that it is a bird that makes the sound. In the Netherlands our squirrels are never so noisy. Arjan sees as he comes out of the tent that a squirrel is nibbling on one of the flags of Kim’s bike. There also seems to be a kind of dragonfly invasion here. Really very special. They come flying and settle somewhere. When you get close, they do not do anything and they just sit like they have to charge themselves to the sun. Occasionally they all fly up again and a little later they all settle down again.
We enjoy breakfast and enjoy the view and all the nice insects and animals around us.
We pump some extra air into the tires and are ready to leave.
It is quite a stepping through because we get quite some heights. We would like to have lunch at the visitor centre near the border and that means that we first have to cycle about 48km. We get a big rain shower on our heads again. The weather is still changing every few hours. Eventually we arrive at the visitor center where we decide to have lunch at the picnic tables outside. We wonder if the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge visitor center is open because it has been closed off with barrier tape on which says “keep out”. We see a young family arriving in a car that seems to enter the center. Arjan is going to check it out and indeed they are open. Nice! We’re going to take a look. Inside we are allowed to fill up our water bottles and we ask if we also can take a look around. That is of course allowed and the lady of the visitor center asks if we want to see the film that lasts 15 minutes. Of course we want that. We can also grab coffee and tea for free. After the film we take a look in the rest of the center. There are skins of all kinds of animals such as wolves, lynxes, beavers and so on. There is also an explanation of how the original natives (Atabaskan Indians in this region) can live here from the land and what they need to do in order to survive. There is a native woman who performs the original arts and crafts. And you can print paw tracks and view the tracks in a bin of sand. The lady of the visitor center gives us some tips for when we will enter America again. She is very enthusiastic about Montana and especially the Glacier national park. We buy a book about a legend of the Atabaskan Indians of Alaska.
Time to go again. It is just a few kilometres to the border.
Once we reach the border, we take some photos and take a look around here. We still have to cycle 27km before we get to Canadian customs. Because we cycle into Canada, we also enter a different time zone. We are going from Mountain time to Pacific time which means that suddenly it is six o’clock in the evening instead of five o’clock. An hour less difference with the Netherlands! When we finally get to the customs, we are separately interviewed and after a short time we can just continue. The first village 20km cycling from here.
Here in Canada they also use just kilometres instead of miles, which makes it a lot easier for us Dutch people. On our way south we see a beautiful American Bald eagle from very close flying by (black body and wings with white tail and white head with a yellow beak) and a little later we see two wolves on the road!! Wow, what a cool sight! It is a shame that there is just a car passing by that honks his horn to scare the wolves away.
We finally arrive in the town of Beaver Creek where at a motel with a campground behind it. We check in. It is a lot cheaper here than in Alaska we see. That is favorable! We cycle to the place where we can pitch the tent. From the motel we are greeted to our amazement by Adam. Denise also comes out to of the motel and we have a chat. We really did not expect them here since they had left Tok the day before. We thought they would already be a lot further on the route. Denise tells us she was not feeling to well and that is why they did not cycle to far these couple of days.
We pitch our tent and start cooking. After dinner we get some beer at the motel shop and put a new blog on the website since we have WiFi here.
Arjan is approached by Denise in the morning. There is something with Adam’s shifting what they do not get repaired themselves. Arjan helps them with that and in the meantime Kim clears up the tent. Denise’s birthday is also today so we congratulate her. Because they slept in the motel she says that we can take a shower there if we like to use it. Of course we want to take a shower! Very nice! She tells us that we can get an information form at the visitor centre about what can be done on what kilometer along the road to Haines Junction. Good tip! We always visit the visitor centers because we always like it.
We have lunch, shower and leave late. At the visitor center we go inside. Sid van der Meer works here. He tells us that he originally came from Friesland and when he was 16 he moved to Canada with his parents in 1967. Very nice to meet this man. He can still speak a bit of Fries and also a little Dutch. (He used to work at the lodge and he is also the man who the flight attendant was talking about to Kim in Tok!) We take a look inside the visitor centre and ask for the information form.
Adam and Denise are still sitting outside because they would like to use the WiFi here. We’ll probably see them somewhere along the route later and so we say goodbye to Sid and leave.
The weather is good and we actually have tail winds so we can cycle a nice few kilometres. We also have many beautiful views. Here we also see more and more flowers along the way. We notice that the temperatures are getting a little warmer here. When we have cycled two and a half hours we will take a break. We already did 44km and we want to try another 44km. We keep a short siesta and then look at our options for the route. We decide that at 88km we might be able to use the campground at the Pine Valley Bakery and Cabins. So we can be at the RV Campground the next day in Destruction Bay. But for that we first have to cycle a few kilometers. Also the cycling after lunch is fortunately fast and the wind is still at our back, so that is not too bad. We pass the White River Bridge. Here flows as the name of the bridge says; The White River. The color of the water comes from the volcanic ash of the pyroclastic eruptions of Mount Churchill in the Wrangler Mountain Range. This river flows into the historic Yukon River. We stay here watching for a while. It is a beautiful sight and again there a lots of small birds flying around here.
When we go on we cycle into the area of the Kluane First Nation people. There is a nice sign here with which they welcome us. The weather has been nice all day, but by the time we are at Pine Valley Bakery and Cabins it starts to rain a bit. We see two cars at the door, but no one seems to want to answers the door. The fences are also closed, including the fence which should clearly be the entrance to the campground. Arjan tries to find if there are people somewhere else on the property. He walks another round on, but no one is to be found here unfortunately. We have already seen a nice wild camping spot a little bit before we arrived here and decide to stay there tonight. We get a hailstorm on our head, after which we will set up the tent. Once that’s done Arjan wants to start cooking and Kim makes everything ready in the tent again. Kim suddenly a bit shocked because at only two meters from the tent a bear comes out of the bushes. Kim slowly moves backwards towards Arjan and says; “A bear! A bear!”
Arjan does not see him at all, but in the end indeed; a bear! He is still quite young. It is a Black bear. He sees us, but is not interested in us at all. Walks towards the road where a truck and a motorcyclist pass which he does not seem to be impressed by either. Then we see him disappear further down the road in the woods. For a moment we are stunned by what has just happened and we think of what to do now… We decide to stay here. We think if we go 300 meters away we will probably come back to find the same bear. Although we stay here we do decide that it is probably better not to cook dinner. So instead we eat some muesli bars and eat some bread. Arjan hangs all the food and all the stuff that smells in a tree. There is not more that we can do…
Sandstorm at Kluane Lake
When we wake up it rains regrettably, causing us to sleep long. Finally at half past ten it is still raining and we decide to clean up and leave our camp. We still have a lot of kilometers to cycle if we want to be able to reach the RV park in Destruction Bay. It is still raining. When we cycle past Pine Valley Bakery and Cabins we see that they are now suddenly open, although for the campground the gate is still closed. Well that’s too bad! We decide to continue cycling because we have just had a good breakfast in the tent.
Fortunately, the air clears up after a few kilometers and after a long time cycling, it gets so hot that we can cycle in our t-shirts. Today the cycling is a little less easy than yesterday.
We want to make a pasta for lunch, because yesterday we were forced to skip our dinner. Our water is only almost finished, so we look for a place where we have a pond or a lake or something. Eventually we find a suitable place and Arjan makes a delicious pasta with chili con carne. It tastes great and fills our stomachs for the next stretch of today. We hope that we can get something to eat in a village that is 45km cycling. After that we have to cycle another 16 kilometers to Destruction Bay where we would like to camp. Along the way we encounter a beautiful viewpoint of the Kluane River.
The road keeps going up and down and we keep getting headwinds. We seem to go slower and slower for us, so we decide to add a little bit of music to it. Arjan has speakers on the sides of his handlebar bag so that we can enjoy the music together. That feels better again. What a bit of music sometimes can do! It is not until around 8:30 PM that we finally arrived at Burwash Landing where we wanted her something to eat. Unfortunately the restaurant here closes at 6 o’clock. Meaning that they are already closed when we arrive here. There is nothing else to do than go to our final destination 16 kilometers away. Just like almost every evening it starts raining again. Soaking wet we arrive in Destruction Bay. Destruction Bay is at the Kluane Lake which we have followed the last 12km.
The first RV park where we arrive has no facilities, no toilet at all. Fortunately, there is another RV park; Talbot Arm Motel. Here is a gas station, small grocery and souvenir shop and even a restaurant! Nice! We go inside and it is nice and warm. Here we can eat something tasty and become dry and warm again. When we are satisfied, we are going to pay. Kim asks if it is possible that we can camp with our tent at the RV park. The man at the cash desk does not think that is a good idea for us to go camping with all those bears walking around here. He does not want us to camp at all. So Kim says that we are going to camp here anyway. “If we cannot camp at the RV park we will go wild camping somewhere”; she says. Eventually he knows a nice place for us. On the other side of the street there is a little information building with a green roof, we can stay there free of charge, he says. Okay fine, we will do that! Perfectly arranged again! We are very happy with our beautiful place to sleep and we do not even have to pay for it!
Monday, June 11
We wake up rested the next morning. In the night the wind has started to blow hard and we already know that we will get a lot of wind during cycling. When we have packed everything on the bikes and want to cycle away, a camper stops. They also turn out to be Dutch. Their names are Danny and Claudia. They are here on holiday for about four weeks. It is not their first trip in Canada. Danny shows us super nice pictures of all the wild animals that they have already seen. They give us the tip to go to the hot pool at Liard River. We already had it on our list, but now we will definitely go!
They have not been to Alaska before, but they are going there now. They tell us that a niece of them had been dropped there last year and went to walk from the middle of nowhere to the Dalton Highway. Danny and Claudia now want to see for themselves where she was been then. That’s why they are heading to Coldfoot, Alaska before they have to return to Whitehorse to return their camper.
We say goodbye and cycle a bit further to the Talbot Arm Motel to get a breakfast. On the table next to us is a Dutch couple. They also happen to be from the east part of Holland. They too are on holiday with a camper and are making a nice tour. They say that in Whitehorse we would be able to enjoy ourselves for a few days. That was already on the schedule, but it’s always good to hear that it’s fun there. In the end it is time to say goodbye and leave. Fortunately, we do not have so many kilometers on our schedule. Happily because we have heavy head winds again. We cycle as slowly as if we are constantly cycling up a steep mountain and that purely by the wind. Today we cycle most of the day (about 45km) along the Kluane Lake. We have planned to cycle around 51km today and hopefully we can pitch our tent at Kluane Bed and Breakfast at Silver City.
When we have just departed from Destruction Bay we have a driver from the up posit side of the road he sings at us to stop. He tells us that we have to be careful because a few yards away is a grizzly bear with her two cubs. They are also on our side of the road so we are advised to cycle on the other side of the road. We continue to cycle a little less relaxed. Continue to keep an eye on the sides. A bit later there is another car driver who also warns. We ask her about the distance. She thinks about 10km. Okay, a lot different than the first person told us. We decide to ask every driver who warns us about the distance. Somewhat later we are warned again by someone. This man thinks or 1 to 3 miles. Again this is different from what the first two persons where saying. Somewhat later someone says about 3 miles. Because we have cycled a lot further this should be the same are the person that said 10km. Anyway, we are cycling on … and what do you think? We do not see anything! ? We actually wanted to see which of the car drivers is right about the distance, but unfortunately we have to owe you that answer. We never got to see the grizzly bear with her cubs. Through the whole grizzly bears thing, we have already cycled a nice piece and we decide to go lunch near to the lake.The weather is nice and we are going to sit close to the water. This, however, is not such a good idea because we are being attacked by mini-flies. So we decide to sit in the wind a bit closer to the bikes and that is indeed a better idea.
The second stage of the day we go into we have to get through a kind of corner in the lake where the Slims River runs (see map) there we have to go through the bend. After that it is only a few kilometers before we are at our sleeping place. The wind blows so hard before the bend at Slims River so we almost do not get ahead. There is also a lot of sand that is blown up from the river bed. After all, the roughage is as good as dry during the time of the year.
On the way there is another camper with a canoe on the roof. They want to chat with us. They are called John and Jolinke and ask if we know “Warmshowers”. They are also members of it and if we come through British Columbia we would otherwise be able to stay with them. They can also speak Dutch what we just did not expect. They tell that they grew up in Canada but in a Dutch colony, so that is why they also speak Dutch. We are very sweetly offered a nice Cliff bar which we obviously do not turn away. Who knows, maybe we’ll stay with them later. You never know! We continue our heavy journey. On everything we do not cover, we get sand. So we put on sunglasses and scarves up over the nose and ears! We see that there is a visitor centre where we would like to take a look if it is only to be out of that wind. When we get closer we can see that the Tachal Dahl visitor center closed at 16.00 … it is now 16.45 …. a shame, too late. Arjan makes some videos during this part of the route so that you as readers get a little bit of an impression of what we have to endure. ? It is otherwise not really good to convey. It is a pity that you can not feel the sand that we get over us on the film. Arjan jokes and asks if it is already a taste for Patagonia? Well, you might think it. But we have to be honest it is a special experience and it makes our bike tour a lot more interesting today.
Eventually we are through the sharp bend with the super strong wind. Since lunch we have been cycling for almost two and a half hours. Fortunately, we now have more tail winds on this last piece. We are almost there. The B & B we see already indicated on a sign next to the road, but once we arrive at the point where this should be we are again disappointed. Unfortunately this information on the page with info that we received from the visitor centre in Beaver Creek is not correct. We decide to cycle a bit further and the first nice spot that we encounter we will go wild camping. A good opportunity arises a few meters away. We make the tent ready, eat and take our food to a safe place. It is enough for today and crawl into the tent to relax and read.
Hiking around Haines Junction
Today we have a short day of cycling ahead with hopefully not as much headwind as yesterday. The day starts well. When we have just packed the tent we spot a bear on the side of the road. A park Ranger just drove past. He sees the same bear as us and turns around and comes back to warn us. He asks us if we have already seen the black bear and we. We do indeed tell him that. He tells us you have to pay attention when you pass by. Knowing to cycle because a little further down is also a mother black bear with her boy.
He tells us that she probably will stay away from the other Black Bear with her two cubs, because the males are rather aggressive at the time against the mother bears with their young. But he says: “You look like you know what you are doing!” Well, that is reassuring. 😉
At the moment we leave, we no longer have a visual sight of the male. So we try to talk a bit harder with each other so that if the bear is still somewhere he will not feel surprised at all by us. Eventually, when we pass the spot where all the bears should be sitting around, we do not see any of them anymore and they all disappeared among the bushes. A while later we see a car that drives us first and then drives back a bit backwards … we are already on it … indeed a bear again. Eventually we stop at a safe distance and then the bear decides to cross over to the other side of the road and walks into the bushes. When we have passed safely, people in the car stick their thumb to us and wave. Still very nice that they help us in this way.
We cycle further and climb steadily. We are going back over a high stretch. We have to reach a height of about 1004 meters. It is expected to be fine again. Unfortunately we only have some headwinds again, although it is already a lot less than yesterday. Finally when we reach the top after about 33km, we decide to take a break here. It cools a lot if you are at such a peak for a while, so before we go further and go down a lot, we pull a jacket extra. It is actually a lot colder today which is of course partly because we are at a considerable height. We first measure 6 degrees as temperatures and a little later it gets warmer 9 degrees Celsius. Just before we cycle into Haines Junction we see another fox walking along the side of the road. He also sees us and quickly makes him come away, but still looks curiously in our direction when he is safely in the bushes. Because today we have to cycle a total of 58 kilometers to Haines Junction and because we go downhill the last few kilometers, we are already at 15.00 at destination. We decide to visit the Visitor Center first. Eventually we are distracted by a sign indicating “Wanderer’s Inn Backpackers Hostel“.
It draws our attention so that we decide to go here to ask if we can also camp there. Once we arrive at the Hostel we meet the owner Martin. He is super nice and gives us a guided tour. We can certainly camp there and have full access to everything inside the hostel. We can take a shower and use the kitchen and we can take free coffee and tea all day if we want. That sounds good to us. We first set up the tent and then we make coffee and tea so that we can enjoy one on the terrace in front of the Hostel. We have put on our shorts and t-shirts because down here in the village and out of the wind it feels like 24 degrees. I it is so nice to sit here on the porch and relax for a while!
Meanwhile, we get acquainted with Walter. Also a guest here at the hostel. He is Canadian and a very nice man where you can have good conversations with. He has seen quite a lot of the world.
After a while, Adam and Denise also arrive at the hostel too. -Link to the website of Adam & Denise- They have spent a while at the Village Bakery in town here they tell us and happened to find this nice hostel through internet. Still funny that we do not knowingly seem to make the same choices every time about where to stay. They also come here to camp. Martin has already said that he will light the campfire tonight so we are going to get some beers at the local liquor store. You can not get them here at the supermarket as you can in Holland. Then we walk back to the hostel and we meet a lady who belongs to the First Nations population (as they call it here in Canada and America) she sells something typically traditional what is called “bannock”. She also sells the dough in certain local shops. Arjan had indeed already noticed in Destruction Bay at the shop in the tank station. She tells us that after her day job she now tries to sell her bannock in the evening so she can promote it in the hope that people will actually buy it in the shops. It tastes really delicious and she only asks for $2 each. (= € 1.50) Arjan likes it so much that he takes a second piece.
Later in the evening we decide to have a meal at Frosty’s, an ice-cream canteen and eatery.
In the evening Martin has indeed made a nice campfire for the hostel. At the campfire it is very nice with Denise, Adam, Walter and Martin. We even eat some Smores (kind of marshmallow with two cookies and chocolate in between). In the end we go to bed at 1.00 am through all the fun and interesting conversations. That is special for us since we have been in bed since we are often at 10 am at the latest.
Wednesday, June 13
Today we have spontaneously decided to stay in Haines Junction for another day so that we can enjoy this place a bit longer. We have cycled a lot the last few days, which is a lot of fun, but it is also nice to see some of your surroundings in a different way. Otherwise it still feels like you cycle a little along everywhere, but nowhere really looks good. Occasionally stopping and taking a rest to enjoy your surroundings is also important.Walter is going to walk a trail in the neighborhood today and that seems a bit too. Denise and Adam stay here for another day and eventually we go with his five in the car of Walter towards a trail. Fun such spontaneous actions! We walk Auriol Trail in the Kluane National Park. It is still quite a big hike of 15km with quite a bit of altitude. It is between 4 to 6 hours of walking. We all have our bearspray to be sure. This has actually become quite a habit and det must also, of course we are in “bear county”. But we chat pretty well during the hike that the bears probably hear us from far away (luckily). We enjoy the views on the different points and the route is quite diverse which keeps it interesting. We all enjoy it. After about 4 hours we arrive back at the car and luckily none of us have to use our bear spray. Apart from two rabbits and some birds, we did not see any animals at all. Once back at the hostel we drink some coffee, tea and chocolate milk and we all do our own things again. We have to go shopping for the next two days towards Whitehorse. We expect to cycle for two days. And in Whitehorse we have already found Warmshowers address so that looks very promising. From Martin (owner of the hostel!) We got a super cool tip. At about 75km from Haines Junction we can probably camp at the first nations people. We have to go to the blue information board with the text “Long ago first nation peoples”. Then it will be a few kilometers where these people live and there can ask them if we can camp there according to Martin. This seems to us very interesting so that will be our goal for tomorrow. We are going to eat something and are still in the hostel. We chat, write and read before we go to bed.
On the bike again to Whitehorse
Today it is time to go on our bicycles again. Because it has been poring rain al night long the tent is soaking wet when we have to pack it. It is still raining actually. We both take a shower and we sit down in the hostel to drink some tea and coffee and have some breakfast. Walter, Denise and Adam are also having breakfast. Denise and Adam are probably also going to cycle again but they are not totally sure yet. Walter is leaving too and will be heading in the opposite direction from us to Kluane Lake. We say goodbye to everybody and we leave towards the visitor centre. We want to see it and we want to get a new information form for the road to Withehorse. The visit centre in Haines Junction is really nice. We stay here for over an hour. There is lots of information about the nature and wildlife here in this region and about all the First Nation people that live in this area. We could easily spend some more time here, but we have to get on our bikes because it is already late in the morning.
The weather luckily cleared up and the road is nice. Not to much high hills and we have some tail winds. Therefore we cycle very easily.
After lunch it seams like the direction of the wind is changed again into headwind for us. This slows us down again.
A little later we stop at Canyon Creek Bridge to take a look. It is a historical wooden bridge that was built for because of the gold strike at the Alsek River drainage. Therefore there where a lot of miners that came to the area to mine in several creeks around Kluane Lake. The bridge was built in 1904 by Sam McGee and Gilbert Skelly. This bridge survived heavy traffic and spring floods. It had to be rebuilt in the 1920s by the Jacquot brothers from Burwash Landing. During the construction of the Alaska Highway in 1942 the bridge was dismantled and rebuilt in 18 days by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
The little pioneer bridge was left in place when The Public Road Administration built a permanent bridge just down the river. That was the bridge we actually cycled over.
We see Martin from the “Wanderer’s In hostel” on the road coming from Whitehorse because he had to do some grocery’s there. He told us that he gets his groceries there because everything is much less expensive than in Haines Junction.
We have to get into a pilot car again because there is construction work on the road again. The girl who is driving the pilot car tells us the could not work yesterday because someone stole the ambulance and had an accident with it. The person sadly died. They don’t know what exactly happened and it was not someone who lives in this area.
The girl from the pilot car has two jobs and a little girl at home. Also she is studying still. This is just a seasonal job for her. We think it is incredible how she can have so many jobs and a kid at home and also manages to study! We say goodbye and go our separate ways.
A little later around 75km we arrive at the sign that says “Long ago people” where the Kwaday Dan Kenji people live. It is possible to camp here, but because we have to cycle about 12km extra before we will actually get there we decide to not take the turn of from the road we are on.
We deside to cycle a little longer to Mendenhall Subdivision where there will be a B&B and a restaurant that is called “Irene’s Place”. We arrive here an the sign of the B&B says that it is closed. Irene’s Place however is opened so we go in to get something to eat and ask if we can pitch out tent somewhere here too. Of course you can pitch your tent here anywhere Irene tells us. No problem. We can put it anywhere we like. The dinner we get here is really nice. Everything is home made and she offers more than only hamburgers witch is quite rare here.
We pitch our tent behind Irene’s Place at an old American bus. The weather is still so sunny and warm that we stay outside and read for a while.
When we wake up the weather is still great! We leave Mendenhall Subdivision and the day goes fast.
At the Takini River Valley viewpoint we stop to take a rest and to take a look around.
In this area we have to watch our for Elk on the road. They were first introduced in 1951-1954 from Elk Island National Park after they first had died out sometimes after 4000 years ago. The intent was to provide Elk for new hunting opportunities, which would eventually reduce procure on other big game. Still Moose outnumber Elk in Yukon by about 290 to 1.
We go on and later get some lunch. Kim for the first time is cycling in shorts after lunch. That really says something about how warm it finally is today!
When we are approaching Whitehorse more and more it also gets busier on the road and we find ourselves to have to adapt to this again. We are going to stay at Jeanette who is our “Warmshowers” host here in Whitehorse. She is not at home when we arrive but she left us a key so we can get into the house. Not much later Jeanette arrive’s too. She has put up a nice stew and makes us a very nice dinner. Wow, that is very sweet as we are always very hungry since we have been on the road. We shower and chat for a long time with Jeanette. Her parents were from The Netherlands and Belgium she tells us that is why she can understand Dutch too. That is also why she has a Dutch name. We show her our photos and she gives us some tips and advice for what to do and see in Whitehorse.
Before we know it it is already late in the evening.
We will hang around in Whitehorse for a couple of days before we’re off to Watson Lake. Have a nice day 😉