Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Road Trip 2010: Day 50: Whitehorse

An easy day today. Very little group activity scheduled--just a leisurely boat ride on the MV Schwatka. Folks had time to finish up rig repairs, laundry and grocery shopping this afternoon or just laze around.

MV Schwatka can handle 40 passengers
with the captain & crew totaling two.

Schwatka Lake

The lake created by the power dam is approximately 60 feet deep at the dam and shallower as you head upstream. In Miles Canyon it is now approximately 25-30 feet deep. Before the dam, this--and the rapids just below the dam--were the most treacherous stretch of water on the way to the gold fields in Dawson City. Today, the dam has made this a relatively smooth piece of water...although it does do some swirling about in the canyon and the velocity there can make you pay for a mistake real fast.

Alternate means of transportation to be found on Schwatka Lake.

Entrance to the canyon as you leave the lake.

Miles Canyon from up on top.

Canyon walls are volcanic rock.

Volcanic rock makes up the canyon walls.

Volcanic rock makes up the canyon walls.

Foot bridge over Miles Canyon and the Yukon River

For a time in the early 1900s this was the ONLY bridge over the Yukon River. Today there are a few other foot bridges in Whitehorse, one auto bridge in Whitehorse (we took it to go to the fish ladder), one just north of Carmack on the Klondike Highway, and the one on the Dalton Highway we crossed last week. I believe that's the total: Three auto bridges and two or three foot bridges over a river that runs over 2,000 miles. And we've driven across two of the three Yukon River auto bridges during the last week.

"Captain" Hull commands the MV Schwatka

On the way back down to his dock, the Schwatka's captain passed the reins over to the youngest member of our party: Captain Hull.(What an appropriate name for a sailor!) We expressed full confidence in the new commander but were secretly pleased that the "real" commander 1) didn't pass on control until through the canyon and back on the lake and 2) remained nearby so as to retake control should our young man get a swelled head. (The questions about strawberries and palm trees, the playing with a handful of ball bearings, the repeated cries for "Mr. Christian!" didn't shake my confidence in Jonathon at all.)

And that was our morning. Terry and I spent the afternoon doing laundry and going into town to revisit The Canadian Super Store for a few grocery items.

Tomorrow we head back south toward Watson Lake to Nugget City. It will be a long 250-260 mile day so don't expect many photographs.

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