I wasn’t joking about that early start. 5 am saw a bunch of hotel guests huddled up catching the airport shuttle for Air Canada flights out from Whitehorse. I flew into Vancouver and Toronto and then split for Atlanta from the rest of my travel writing friends. Luckily this time there were no delays so it was smooth sailing from the get-go. Just one long day of travel before I got home and into my own bed. Picture galleries and more musings coming along shortly but this was a fantastic trip to be on and I enjoyed every minute. Funny thing is I was looking for an Indian place to try the whole trip and didn't see many then I go to the airport and see they have an Indian place right there. Unfortunately it was closed when I left so I will just have to add that to my list for next time.
Lucky to have a solo day thrown into the trip. A day for me to explore the things I want to and not necessarily what the hosts had in store for us. Took my time heading out and did breakfast at the Starbucks down the street, the first Starbucks I had since the one I got at the airport before I left on this trip. Pretty fancy looking venue too. I walked along the river and checked out the Kwanlin Dun cultural center, the Macbride history museum with the quirky clutterium downstairs, the visitor center and the SS Klondike. I even checked out the farmers market at the park in the evening, got a snack from Baked coffee shop and bakery and headed back to the hotel. I met with one of the other writers for dinner at a Mexican place called Sanchez followed by an unexpected but welcome dessert treat at Lil’s. It was an early turn in for me as the flight out in the mornings as equally early.
Up at 8 am for breakfast in light of the possibility that we could head out on a rafting trip down the Dezdeash but that didn’t work out as planned so we spent time at the visitor center speaking to a member of the first nations, John, who was a native of the crow clan. He spoke at length about the history of the area and the importance of the beading and embroidery on their clothes (each design denotes each family). Next up was Kathleen Lake where we walked around a bit a learned some of the salmon situation in the area. Would have liked to do a little kayaking expedition there but that will have to wait until next time. It was back to Whitehorse again. I did get to visit the wildlife preserve on the way as well as the hot springs. Bean North Coffee shop served as out pit stop before we drove into the city and checked into the Gold Rush hotel by Best Western. Dinner with our hosts was at the very stylish and chic Cork and Bull just a short walk down the street.
A big breakfast at Betty’s was followed by a drive around Beaver Creek with Sid. A sort of city tour if you will. And then we were off to Haines Junction, stopping along the way at Kluane museum of Natural History in Burwash Landing and Sheep Mountain interpretive center. Somewhere along the way here is where we saw some will bears and stopped to get a better look. One of the actually showed more interest in us and started advancing towards our car. Luckily, our host is much more experienced than us with advancing wild bears and jumped on the gas to have us safely on the way. The afternoon hd in store an experience I never knew I’d get to in this lifetime - flight-seeing over glaciers! At Kluane National Park, on an itty bitty 5 seater, my two travel friends and I trusted the pilot entirely with our lives as he expertly flew us over the park, its glaciers, mountains, wide expanses and breathtaking views at every turn. Although a little shaky to be on a plane that little, the weather was fairly stable and once in the air I was able to enjoy the vistas much more. I started out trying to take a picture at every sight that instilled awe but soon ran tired of that effort and just chose to enjoy nature’s beauty with my own eyes. Truly grateful for this one experience more than anything else on this entire trip. BTW fund act thrown in here - Kluane is home to Canada’s highest peak - Mt Logan, and to the world;s largest polar ice fields. The park is a UNESCO world heritage sight and the first that I have struck off my bucket list. Checked in at the Alcan Motor Inn (fantastic morning views of the mountain peaks covered in snow) and dinner was at the Northern Lights restaurant.
A bit of a relaxed start today so the team drove up to the dome fro some nice views of the city before heading back to Eldorado for brunch. I even managed to sneak away to Woolly and Wild for a few trip knickknacks. We did our farewell with the folks at the visitor center who were really nice to us during this trip, providing all the information needed for our stories. Took the ferry across the river and drove on Top of the World highway into Alaska. Stopped at border patrol at Poker Creek with population of two - one Canadian and one American agent. The drive itself was kinda crazy - sometimes we had good roads but mostly it was gravel with lots of bumpy spots due to permafrost and construction work. Stopped at Chicken in Alaska for a snack and lots of Chicken (the place not the bird)-related photos, and then drove through Alaska Highway into Canada again at Beaver Creek, which is the most westerly point for entry into the country. Here, we were fortunate to meet with Sid from the visitor center, who was quite the welcoming host. We checked in at the Westmark - a hotel with very basic rooms, nothing fancy. No internet or phone service except in the lobby. We did dinner at Betty’s nearby and then drove to Sid’s place to check out his personal museum of eclectic collections of everything under the sun from comics to stamps to magnets to whatever else. If you get a chance to meet with Sid when in Beaver Creek, I highly recommend it. He’s a nice guy with a lot to share about the place.