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Dawson City

May 24, 2022 – Dawson City, Yukon

2022 Yukon & Double Denali Alaska land/cruise

I go over to the hotel’s restaurant for breakfast. It is a buffet, so I have some insipid scrambled eggs, toast, a bit of bacon, some fruit and yogurt, and of course coffee. The staff are still learning their jobs, since the restaurant has only been open for a few days. It costs me $29 – these breakfasts are expensive!

I spend the rest of the morning doing a walking tour of the city, taking photos as I go. There are lots of funky buildings to see – some very old and some new. Some of the historic locations include Jack London‘s cabin and the Robert Service cabin, both of which are closed, so I see them from the outside. The Klondike Mines Railway Locomotive Shelter has several steam engines on display inside, but it is closed too, so I take photos through the dirty windows. They also have some derelict tracked vehicles outside that I speculate (despite missing dozer blades) were probably used for hauling goods through the bush, building roads and moving gravel and dirt.

Robert Service cabin
Robert Service cabin

A condemned St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church – 1901 shows how a building foundation can be destroyed by permafrost heaving. The memory of the O’Brien Brewing and Malting Company is now reduced to a single beer wagon on a back street behind the Yukon Hotel. I walk back along the dyke on the Yukon River and approach the SS Keno sternwheel paddle steamer on display in a dry dock beside the Yukon River. This historic site is also closed, a recurring theme today! I pass by a former bank building where Robert Service once worked, the Flora Dora Hotel, another former “dance hall” in its heyday (Lulu Mae Johnson) and Klondike Kate’s restaurant & cabins.

The Dawson City Museum has some very interesting artifacts representing much of the rich history of Dawson City during the Gold Rush. The museum also houses an active Courtroom. The Riverwest Bistro on Front Street comes recommended by our tour director as the only place in Dawson City which offers espresso, so I enjoy a cappuccino and some lunch before resuming my walking tour this afternoon. Brown’s Harness Shop, 3rd Ave Blacksmith Shop, Red Feather Saloon, Ruby’s Place (historic brothel), the Downtown Hotel (home of the infamous Sour Toe cocktail) are all on my way back to our hotel.

Holland America arranges COVID-19 tests for the whole group late this afternoon in the hotel. We all test negative, so we are ready to enter the USA on our charter flight to Fairbanks tomorrow. Our hotel has a steak and salmon dinner buffet this evening. I avoid the steak since it looks like shoe leather, but the salmon fillets are nicely done in a light sauce. It makes a nice meal with rice and veggies.

Dawson City
51 photos, 1 video
Klondike River and the highway below with snow-capped mountains in the distance
Klondike River and the highway below with snow-capped mountains in the distance
Snow-capped mountains in the distance
Snow-capped mountains in the distance
Klondike River below with snow-capped mountains in the distance
Klondike River below with snow-capped mountains in the distance
The Klondike River from the air - final approach
The Klondike River from the air – final approach
Westmark Inn rooms
Westmark Inn rooms
Joe, our guide and others outside Diamond Tooth Gerties
Joe, our guide and others outside Diamond Tooth Gerties
Show lounge and casino
Show lounge and casino
Stage
Stage
Diamond Tooth Gertie
Diamond Tooth Gertie
Dancing girls performing the Can Can
Dancing girls performing the Can Can
Dancing girls performing the Can Can
Dancing girls performing the Can Can
Dancing girls performing the Can Can with Gertie
Dancing girls performing the Can Can with Gertie
Diamond Tooth Gerties Can Can Show
Diamond Tooth Gerties Can Can Show
Photo taken at midnight of our hotel with a bright sky
Photo taken at midnight of our hotel with a bright sky
New salmon-coloured house
New salmon-coloured house
Sign: Robert Service Cabin
Sign: Robert Service Cabin
Front of Robert Service Cabin
Front of Robert Service Cabin
Back of Robert Service Cabin
Back of Robert Service Cabin
New log-style house
New log-style house
Jack London Museum, Square and Cabin
Jack London Museum, Square and Cabin
Artifacts inside of Jack London Cabin
Artifacts inside of Jack London Cabin
Roof and log construction Jack London Cabin
Roof and log construction Jack London Cabin
Derelict home
Derelict home
Classic 3-gabled house with a front porch
Classic 3-gabled house with a front porch
Derelict tracked vehicle
Derelict tracked vehicle
D.Y.M.C.O. steam engine
D.Y.M.C.O. steam engine
No. 3 steam engine
No. 3 steam engine
No. 1 steam engine
No. 1 steam engine
Rebuilding a street with underground services
Rebuilding a street with underground services
A condemned St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church - 1901
A condemned St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church – 1901
Old beer wagon
Old beer wagon
Historic Yukon Hotel
Historic Yukon Hotel
Souveniers and cafes on Front Street
Souveniers and cafes on Front Street
SS Keno  sternwheel paddle steamer
SS Keno sternwheel paddle steamer
Stern of the SS Keno  sternwheel paddle steamer
Stern of the SS Keno sternwheel paddle steamer
Derelict Flora Dora Hotel
Derelict Flora Dora Hotel
Klondike Kate's restaurant & cabins
Klondike Kate’s restaurant & cabins
King Street with shops, boardwalk and dirt street
King Street with shops, boardwalk and dirt street
Tired-looking old house
Tired-looking old house
Dawson City Museum
Dawson City Museum
Post Office artifacts
Post Office artifacts
Active Courtroom inside the museum
Active Courtroom inside the museum
Food and drink wooden boxes
Food and drink wooden boxes
Brown's Harness Shop, 3rd Ave Blacksmith Shop, Red Feather Saloon
Brown’s Harness Shop, 3rd Ave Blacksmith Shop, Red Feather Saloon
Derelict log cabin with tin roof
Derelict log cabin with tin roof
Sign: Ruby's Place
Sign: Ruby’s Place
Ruby's Place
Ruby’s Place
Downtown Hotel
Downtown Hotel
Sign: Home of the SourToe Cocktail, Toe Hours: 7-9 Thu-Sat
Sign: Home of the SourToe Cocktail, Toe Hours: 7-9 Thu-Sat
Dawson City on the Yukon River with the Klondike River
Dawson City on the Yukon River with the Klondike River
Gold dredge tailings along the Klondike River, Bonanza Creek & Dawson City on the Yukon River
Gold dredge tailings along the Klondike River, Bonanza Creek & Dawson City on the Yukon River
Divide Mountains
Divide Mountains
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Vancouver to Yukon

May 23, 2022 – Fly Vancouver to Whitehorse to Dawson City

2022 Yukon & Double Denali Alaska land/cruise

I wake up around 7:30AM, get dressed and cleaned up, and then go down to the restaurant for breakfast. I have regular coffee and a seafood frittata, which costs $35. I go for a walk along the same path as I used last night – it feels good to walk the 1 km loop, and get some fresh air this morning. When I return to my room, I pack my things and sit around for awhile before rolling my bag downstairs to check out. I will be wearing my mask all day, which I’m not used to when I’m at home.

I walk the full length of the airport to the Air North gate, but I’m too early for the afternoon flight, so there are no gate agents yet. The Holland America check-in lane is marked, so I find a seat and watch the people entering the security lines. Once the Air North agents arrive, I check in and get my boarding passes for the two flights: Vancouver-Whitehorse and Whitehorse-Dawson City. The security process is relatively painless, and the procedures are exactly the same as pre-pandemic. I find my gate and settle in to wait for the flight. The notice board says the flight is delayed an hour, now departing at 2:30PM, so we’ll see how our connecting flight to Dawson City works out. 

Snow-covered mountains, the highway and river through the windows as we approach Whitehorse
Snow-covered mountains, the highway and river through the windows as we approach Whitehorse

There is an incident as we board the aircraft, where a young male passenger refuses to wear a mask and eventually leaves the aircraft. The captain announces they will be starting engine 1 using the power cart, and then starting engine 2 from engine 1 after push away, which takes a bit longer. We take off from Vancouver at 2PM, so the flight isn’t seriously delayed. I’m stuck in an aisle seat, since I didn’t have a choice of seats when I checked in, so other than taking a couple of zoomed in photos through the window across two seats from me, I don’t get to peer out the window like I usually do on flights.

Our Holland America Tour Director Cassandra Joy is waiting for us in Whitehorse airport. She gives us name tags on lanyards to help her remember our names, and she also hands out some information sheets covering the Dawson City portion of our tour. I chat with a few of our group, since this is the first time we’ve gathered together. Our chartered flight aboard an Air North 737-400 Whitehorse to Dawson City is delayed a bit, but eventually we are lead through a “gate” to board the aircraft waiting for us on the apron. There is an actual wire fence gate we are checked through outside, just like the old days! There are 16 of us, so the Boeing 737-500 cabin is nearly empty. Our route follows the Klondike River as the 45-minute flight takes us over the Tombstone Mountains.

Diamond Tooth Gertie
Diamond Tooth Gertie

Once we arrive in Dawson City and get settled into our rooms at the Westmark Inn, I join our Tour Director and two other people from the group to see the dancing girl Can Can show at Diamond Tooth Gerties gambling hall and saloon. We have a slice of pizza and a beer, since we will otherwise miss dinner. The show is quite good, but costs a $20 entrance fee per person. There is also a small casino in addition to the stage show and bar. Two RCMP officers walk through the establishment while we are paying our admission and showing ID. 

After I return to my room, I settle in for the night. The Wi-fi is too weak from my room, since I’m across the street from the router, so I make use of my mobile LTE service, hot-spotting to my notebook computer. At midnight, I go outside to take a photo of the hotel at midnight, since the sky is still bright blue – the midnight sun at Dawson City, located at 64° North latitude.