Whitehorse, YT south to Watson Lake, YT with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

Arriving late in Whitehorse, I insisted on returning to my benches on the Yukon River.

Sun setting on the Yukon River

This is my favorite evening place in Whitehorse.   And it is after 10:00 p.m.   This is beautiful.   In the morning we drive south, time to return to Colorado.   This is a rest area we visited on the trip north.

Rest area

There was a snow storm then.   Nicer with some sun today.   Continuing south we cross a Yukon River Bridge.

Yukon River Bridge

This is a really long bridge.   One of the longest we have seen on the Alaska Highway.   Another rest area appealed to us and to Chloe, our Colorado Traveling Dog.

Another rest area by lake

We wandered through the trees and admired the lake.   Chloe loved running and frolicking here.  Watson Lake is a town in the southern Yukon Territory.   We always stop here for food and a motel.   A main attraction on the Alaska Highway is the Sign Post Forest.

How Sign Post Forest began

We are fascinated with the thousands of signs here.   It was accidentally started when a worker was injured while building the Alaska Highway.   He was a little homesick for his home in Danville, Illinois.   While recovering, he put up a sign for his hometown of Danville.  Soon others added signs from their hometowns.

Sign Post Forest

You can see there are thousands of signs here now.

Sign Post Forest

It was impossible for mom to get a photo with all of them.   So many, and in every direction.

Sign Post Forest

We forget to make and bring a sign to add, but look under the second license plate from Wyoming.

Card for Colorado Traveling Ducks

The business card with a blue border is ours.   It is for The Colorado Traveling Ducks.   And there is more.

Card for Arlington Medical Transcription

Under Soapy Smith Duck, you can see a business card for Arlington Medical Transcription.   That is Soapy’s mom’s business.   No big signs for us, but we did leave some cards to tell others we were here also.   The Sign Post Forest is one of the major tourist stops on the Alaska Highway.   Just fun to see signs from all over the world.   If you go, maybe bring a sign to add to the forest.

Colorado Traveling Ducks Ride on the Yukon River

Captain Ken and his boat are on the Yukon River just south of downtown Whitehorse.

Captain Ken and our boat

Let’s get on the boat.   No other passengers, just 2 humans, 3 ducks and 1 dog with Captain Ken.

Heading down the Yukon

Heading down the Yukon.   The sun is sometimes out, but it is still cold.   Jackets and life vests keep the humans warm.  The wind from boating down the Yukon is cold, and rather strong.   We, the Colorado Traveling Ducks, are staying warm and safe in our travel bags.  That first picture is our only appearance on the Yukon River boat trip.

Entering Miles Canyon on Yukon River

Entering Miles Canyon, we are amazed at the green water.   Soapy’s mom and dog are in the front of the boat.

Historic Canyon City. Not much left now

This bench and sign is the only remains of Canyon City.   Canyon City was important as early miners waited here for transport through the canyon.

The Yukon River widens

We are now at a wider part of the Yukon River.

Eagles on the Yukon

These eagles did not pay much attention to us, but we noticed them.  Captain Ken docked the boat on the banks of the Yukon so we could get out, stretch our legs, and walk around.

Chloe on ridge along Yukon River

Chloe immediately climbed this steep hill for a better view.

Chloe coming down to Yukon River

Then decided to dash back down.

Chloe in the Yukon River

Climbing and running must have made Chloe thirsty.   The water is very cold and drops off fairly close to the edge.   But Chloe was careful.   Before heading back, Captain Ken had a contest about finding something that was not natural.   A little confusing, but Soapy’s mom found it.   A faint peace sign had been put on a mountain.  Not a good photo.   Soapy’s mom’s prize was a native blue rock.

We like native rocks. This is Soapy’s mom’s prize

It is pretty, but here it almost looks like and M & M candy.   The contest was fun and made us really look at the river bank.

Practicing for Yukon River Quest

We are heading back now.   These people are practicing for the Yukon River Quest.   That is the world’s longest annual canoe and kayak race.  Stand Up Paddleboarding is also included in the race, beginning in 2016.   They race 444.28 miles (715 km) from Whitehorse northwest to Dawson City, Yukon Territory.   The race began Wednesday, June 26, 2019, at noon.   The race will end 9:00 pm Saturday June 29, 2019.   This, the 21st year, there were 117 vessels, a new record, that competed.

Still patches of snow along Yukon

Back in Miles Canyon we again admire the green water and see the snow still on the canyon wall.   The canyon wall is basalt lava flows and cones that erupted and flowed across an ancient pre-glacial landscape in south central Yukon.   This was formed 8.5 million years ago.   Captain Ken said the lava seeped through the rock walls.   These balsalt walls are fascinating to see.  During the gold rush days, cruising this canyon was trecherous because of the White Horse Rapids.

Generating power on the Yukon

This hydroelectric power plant has tamed the White Horse Rapids, and provides power to the city of Whitehorse.

Almost back to our Jeep

Almost ready to dock and return to our Jeep.   We loved our trip on the Yukon River.   It was chilly, but we are so glad we went.  A great 3 hour trip!   You would enjoy a river trip also.

Kluane Lake to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

We are leaving the beautful Lake Kluane.

Leaving Kluane Lake

About an hour later we arrived at Haines Junction.

Passing through Haines Junction. With mandatory stop for gas

We stayed here on the way north.   This is really is a Junction.   You can drive to Haines, Alaska, a port city, or continue south on the Alaska Highway.  A rule of travel in the far north.   Never pass a gas station.   The next one may be closed or out of fuel.   So we stopped in Haines Junction for gas and fresh sodas.

Alaska highway heading to Whitehorse, Canadian Yukon

We are continuing south towards Whitehorse.   Arriving in Whitehorse, we walked along the Yukon River.

Evening on bench along Yukon River in Whitehorse

We appreciate the many benches along the river.

Totem Pole. Downtown Whitehorse

This totem pole downtown by the river, is such a wonderful reminder of the native Athabascan history.

Stools near Yukon River. Whitehorse

These nearby stools are dediated to the Whitehorse Mission School, 1947-1960.

White Pass & Yukon Route Train station in Whitehorse

The White Pass and Yukon Route train station was the end of the train between Skagway, Alaska and Whitehorse during the gold rush of the late 1890’s.  The narrow gauge train stopped running in 1982.   When my mom was younger, she and Soapy’s mom, her daughter, flew from Fairbanks to Whitehorse and took that train to Skagway.   They say it was beautiful!

Whitehorse train station also start and finish line for Yukon Quest dog race

This Whitehorse train station is also the Official Start/Finish line for the Yukon Quest.   That is a 1,000 mile dog sled race between Whitehorse and Fairbanks.   The race takes place in February and alternates starting and finish destinations each year.

Honoring firefighters

We liked this firefighter statue here in Whitehorse.

Firefighter’s Prayer. Whitehorse

And the firefighter’s prayer plaque.   We certainly appreciate firefighters everywhere.

Klondike Rib and Salmon restaurant. A favorite!

We enjoyed dinner at the Klondike Rib and Salmon restaurant.   This restaurant closes for the winter and just opened a couple days before we arrived.   Our moms ordered salmon and halibut.   Everything is delicious here.   Of course, desserts were ordered.

Huge brownie desserts

They each ordered brownie a la mode with caramel sauce.   These brownies are huge!  And so good.

Yukon Information Center Whitehorse

In the morning we visited the Yukon Information Center.   We got information on a tour that is operating in May.   We will show you where we went next time.

Discovery Riverboat Tour, Fairbanks, Alaska with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

I, Zeb the Duck, had a great surprise last night.   Soapy Smith Duck and his mom flew to Alaska to be with us.   That is wonderful.   Today, I, Zeb, Eider and Soapy Smith Duck, took our two humans on a three hour riverboat tour.   Before getting on the riverboat, we had to look through the gift shop.   In reality, the moms were getting cold.   It was about 50 F (10 C) and the wind along the river was rather chilly.   They had long sleeves and light weight jackets, but they were still cold.   We ducks think they just wanted new jackets.   But, even that is fine.   Of course they bought jackets and we looked around.   Alaska is famous for dog sled racing, and a woman, Susan Butcher was a famous racer.   We loved this display dedicated to her.

Dog sled with photo of Susan Butcher

We will tell you more about Susan later.   Well, time to get on our riverboat.

Riverboat Discovery III

This is Riverboat Discovery III.   One of the few sternwheeler boats in use.   We love the paddlewheel in the back.   The information says there are 20 paddles turned by hydraulic motors.   We will show you later.  Shortly after beginning our cruise on the Chena River, we watched a small plane take off on the river.   He circled the area and then, with pontoons, landed on the river.   In Alaska, and most of the Arctic, small planes are the way to travel.   The harsh climate makes building and maintaining roads very difficult.  Our first stop was the dog kennels now owned by Susan Butcher’s daughter, Tekla.   Sure a pretty place.

Tekla, daughter of Susan Butcher talks about her sled dogs

Susan Butcher won the Iditarod Race 4 times.   This is the famous dog sled race from Anchorage, Alaska to Nome, Alaska 1,100 miles away.  Susan passed away August 5, 2006 after a battle with leukemia.   Tekla explains that the dogs want to run.   They will pull that 4 wheeler around the kennel area.   We watch more of the run, but some is just too far out of our view.   We were not allowed to get off the boat.   And this is dog training?

Tekla and young dogs

Tekla says the young dogs are learning to socialize.   Also they are learning commands.   It looks like fun playing on the muddy riverbank.   It is nice that training can also be fun.  Continuing along the river, we come to the meeting of the Chena River and the Tanana River.

Meeting of Chena and Tanana Rivers

These rivers are tributaries for the Yukon River.   Isn’t this a pretty place?  In 1898 Charles M. Binkley hiked over Chilkoot Pass with other stampeders during the gold rush.   However, he was not particularly looking for gold, he wanted to chart and navigate the Yukon River and its tributaries.   Now, over 100 years and 5 generations of the Binkley family are offering very popular riverboat tours.   Our next stop, is Chena Indian Village.   While still on the boat, this lady, an Athabaskan Indian, shows us how to prepare salmon for the drying racks.

Salmon cut and ready for drying racks

Skinned, filleted, cut or scored, and ready for the drying racks now.

Salmon drying

She made it look so easy.   We get off Discovery III, our riverboat, and explore this village.   This is a fish wheel.

Fish wheel

The fish swim into the turning wheel and get caught.   This is easier that using an actual fishing pole.   The Athabaskans only catch and keep what they need.   During the long Arctic winters people may get lost or delayed while traveling.   This is a cache.   Notice that it is too high for animals to get inside.

Cache

It keeps necessary supplies for whom ever needs them.   Also, the cache is supplied by the owner for his own travels.   If you use something from the cache, try to replace it when you can for the next person.   Remember these winters have long nights and short days.   Temperatures of -40 (same for F and C) are not uncommon.   People help each other to survive these harsh conditions.   Of course in the summer, the days are long and the nights very short. In Fairbanks, in late June, there are 3 or less hours of darkness.   While in Chena Indian Village, we were taught some of the ways of the Athabaskan Indians.   We met the reindeer.

Reindeer

This reindeer are kept in a large enclosure for us to see.   They receive a healthy diet and are well cared for.   These are samples of fur pelts.

Fur pelts

These furs are very warm and necessary during the cold winters.   Here is a young lady wearing a very warm fur coat.

Athabaskan Indian girl in warm, decorative fur coat

Much work goes into making this coat and it is certainly well cared for and a prize possession.  Our last stop was the gift shop.  This is a statue of Granite.

Granite. Lead sled dog

Granite was the runt of the dog litter, but Susan Butcher saw great potential in him.  Granite became her lead sled dog and Granite lead her team to four wins in the Iditarod Dog Sled Race.   Discovery III is waiting to take us back to the starting point and to our cars.

Our boat, Discovery III, waiting for us

That is a great paddlewheel.   This a great boat tour.   When in Fairbanks we hope you enjoy this trip.   We loved it.