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