2019/06: Klondike River Campsite - Dawson City

  Stage 2019/06 [A068]
Klondike River Campground - Dawson City (Klondike Highway)
12 mi / 19 km
10 Hm (garmin edge 1000)

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Cycling Whitehorse, Yukon to Anchorage, Alaska via Dawson City.

Stage Klondike River Campsite to Dawson City.

One of the most epic cycling routes of the world.

 
Cycling from Whitehorse to Dawson City following Klondike Highway.
The weather didn't get better overnight, so let's start the day with rain. After all: The campsite offers a weather shelter, where we can have breakfast protected from wind and rain. We like don't mind the bad weather today: the stage is short, the destination offers every conceivable convenience and the dry weather announced by the weather forecast can be used much better in the coming days.
 
Cycling from Whitehorse to Dawson City following Klondike Highway.
The last kilometers to Dawson City are slightly downhill, as soon as the airport south of the city is behind us, the landscape turns green again.   
 

Cycling from Whitehorse to Dawson City following Klondike Highway.
Shortly before Dawson City, the appearance of the landscape changes again, this time dramatically: It is said that every stone has been turned over here in search of gold. Obviously, the stones were not only turned over: after looking under it the stones were simply unloaded again at the roadside. We drive endlessly through a desolate stone desert with piles of rocks, which nature is slowly reclaiming.

 
Cycling from Whitehorse to Dawson City following Klondike Highway.
Shortly before reaching the city limits, it became clear: Dawson City was, is and will always be the city of the great gold rush.   
 

Cycling from Whitehorse to Dawson City following Klondike Highway.
Dawson City has approximately 1400 residents, making it the second largest city in the Yukon. I am assuming that the number of inhabitants in winter is significantly lower, since the winter up here, about 150mi / 240km south of the Arctic Circle, is rather cold.

I'll tell you right away: Dawson City is one of the weirdest cities I've ever visited. All buildings are built in the historical style of the gold mining period, even new buildings are built in this style. Since gold is still being sought here today, it remains a gold mining town. You can tell: a gold rush is never really over. Unique is also: Dawson City is the only place where the annual Yukon Quest sled dog race stops, where proviant can be loaded on the sled. Keep in mind: the race is 1600 km long! So we do also replenish our supplies here, because in front of us are some lonely days on the Top of the World Highway and the next meal option for us is a few stages away. But before that, we dive into the weird world of Dawson City and take a closer look at it. In Dawson City you can experience something unique.

 

Cycling from Whitehorse to Dawson City following Klondike Highway.
The bar at the Downtown Hotel offers a somewhat special but unique drink: here you can taste the famous Sourtoe Cocktail, a drink that actually consists of only two ingredients: a schnapps and a human toe. The story of the toe is quite simple: around 1920, a resident lost a toe in the freezing cold of the winter months, got zhe toe amputated and kept it in an alcohol-filled glass. In 1973, the toe reappeared when Captain Dick Stevenson bought a cabin in Dawson City and together with the cabin he unintentionally bought the toe. Then, on a long night with some drinks, he had the idea with the toe in the drink, called it Sourtoe cocktail and offered it to guests. Since 1973 there is the Sourtoe Cocktail and the club of the same name, in which you become a member by drinking a Sourtoe Cocktail.  

 
Cycling from Whitehorse to Dawson City following Klondike Highway.
What should I say? The Sourtoe Club looks like a club I need to join. First thing we do is finding the bar, looking for the Sourtoe Captain and ordering the Sourtoe Cocktail. The captain takes the business very seriously, points out the rules and checks that they are being followed: the toe must touch the lip when drinking (You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow — but the lips have gotta touch the toe), but must not be swallowed. The latter has occurred frequently, but the captain and his drink are now so well known that there is no shortage of amputated toes. Here we come back to the sled dog race Yukon Quest, in which from time to time some participant suffers a mishape and donates one of his toes. 
 
Cycling from Whitehorse to Dawson City following Klondike Highway.
Diamond Tooth Gertie's Gambling Hall is the next institution to be seen in Dawson City. It is the oldest casino in Canada, combining gambling, alcohol and nightly Cancan shows. The main role in the music performance is played by Diamant Tooth Gertie, who, according to legend, wore a diamond in a tooth. The entertainment program is thus part of a long tradition of young, beautiful women who joined the successful gold prospector in order to participate in the wealth. Aptly formulated as "mining the miners".  
 

Cycling from Whitehorse to Dawson City following Klondike Highway.
In the hights of the gold rush around 1900, Dawson City had all the amenities you could imagine at that time. The Palace Grand Theater dates from this period and was built in 1899 by "Arizona" Charlie Meadows and was one of the largest dance and theater halls in the region. Shows with solo entertainers, theatrical performances and dancers were combined with gambling in one establishment. Arizona-Charlie presented himself in the role of the show master and personally led through the show every night, should the show sag a little and the audience got bored, he picked up his pistol to cut a cigar on the stage with one shot, while the cigar was between the lips of his wifeMs. Mae, or simply bursting a glass that his wife was holding in her hands. These performances found an end after Arizone-Charlie shot his wife's fingertip. From midnight you could dance with the present young ladies for a dollar, alcohol and music were on until the morning. In short: Here too, the gold was mined directly from the pocket of the gold-seeking lucky miner. Today, performances take place in the theater that introduces personalities of the Yukon to the visitor in an entertaining way. The show and the restored theater are well worth a visit.