This section of river continues to have remnants of history on both sides. We read historical accounts as we take turns paddling the canoe. It is another morning of a red sunrise.
A sign on the left bank lets us know that we have arrived to Fort Selkirk .
A map showed the many areas that they came from to trade.
Fort Selkirk has a large space for camping surrounded by numerous buildings that are being restored. One can once again walk thru the buildings and imagine life in the 1800's here. We approach some younger campers and hand over the jacket that we had been given yesterday. They immediately know whose jacket it belongs to. With that task done we take some time to check out the buildings.
Two small churches were located here. One was a Catholic Church and the other one an Anglican one. Neither held many people.
Behind this church was a First Nation cemetery.
Our last highlight of this day was a mountainside filled with mountain goats.
After leaving the Fort, Don begins to feel ill and we are glad to find a nice place to camp. He retires to the tent. I spend a quiet evening enjoying the sun, sitting in a chair that most likely has stories to tell.
Miles paddled 57
Fortunately Don woke up rested and after a pancake breakfast was ready to go paddling. The current was moving us right along today. We passed a large grizzly bear sunning itself on a rock, and a moose cooling off in the river. We saw signs for a bakery, but missed the opportunity to pull off. One needs to plan ahead or stopping where you want to be may not be an option.. The river continues to pick up side rivers and the color of the water is a true coffee color.
We pass by two men camped by the shore. They invite us in for a cup of coffee and some good conversation. We learn that they have camped a couple of nights with the men from Germany that we had met on the Chilcoot trail. In fact they are not too far ahead of us. These men plan to take several slow days in order not to make it too soon to Dawson, where they are ending their trip. We, on the other hand have barely begun our trip. Lots of miles still to go! When the White river joins the Yukon, the wind picks up and we fight our way to the shore. Rain starts falling and we set up our tarp and then as suddenly as it picked up the wind dies. It is still early so we take down the tarp, pack up and continue to head down river. The river widens and we find ourselves choosing channels. Campsites are harder to come by and we start looking for large gravel bars. Eventuallly we find an ideal one that has no bear tracks. This is our longest paddle of the trip.
Below is a typical river vista.
Miles paddled 78
We were up by 5 and were greeted by calm weather. If the weather pattern holds we should be to Dawson by mid afternoon.
It is quite calm and the current swift. Don and I switch places every day which is good for our relationship. More rivers join the Yukon and route finding becomes more interesting. Every channel will get us to Dawson, but some are quite a bit longer. We are glad for the guides that help choosing which channel. Soon we can see a large slide in the distance which indicates that we are nearing Dawson.
Just above Dawson is the Klondike River which is where the miners were heading to make their fortune. The First Nations called this river Thronduick which meant hammer-water. A name derived from the First Nations hammering stakes into the water to make salmon traps. By the time the miners got here most of the claims had been staked and they began looking for ways to return home.
Today Dawson is a tourist town and the take out for the majority of canoers that are coming from Whitehorse.. There are three main large boats on the river, the first one is the replica of the steamboat Keno.
The second one is the ferry which during the summer runs 24 hours a day. This enables drivers and walkers to be transported across the river. This connects Eagle Ak to Dawson via the Taylor highway.
The last boat on the river was the paddle boat taking tourist up and down the river for a taste of history.
We camped at:
As soon as we had the tarp set up, several rounds of thunder and lightning were followed by a massive downpour of rain. We were quickly able to fill all of our water droms with rainwater. After the rain storm Don headed over to Dawson while I stayed back to organize our food. We will be getting resupplied in Eagle and since we are traveling quite a bit faster we have an excess of food. Most likely we will be sending some back to Palmer..
Dawson is the last major town on the Yukon that we will encounter with road access.
Miles paddled 54