We need to backtrack a bit to what we’ve been doing since we got off the ferry in Skagway, just so that we remember it later. It will probably read a bit like a ‘What I did on my holiday’ composition, but we saw a couple of things that I want to get ‘on paper’ before I forget about them.
It rained most of the morning while we checked out of the hotel in Skagway to head north across the US/Canadian border into the Yukon. I wanted to visit Jewell Gardens, an organic garden on the outskirts of town, & they had a café so we decided to have an early lunch there. As we drove through the town, I noticed that most houses had a huge patch of rhubarb growing in their yard, and there were even a few patches growing wild along the edge of the footpath! Then when I went through the 4 acres of flower and vegetable gardens at Jewell Gardens, there was rhubarb everywhere! It was used as a border plant around garden beds, and had self-seeded around the place, and there were 5 or 6 long rows in the veggie garden area. The whole 4 acres was incredible – a Lilac Walk, with lilac trees in a variety of colours growing on each side of a footpath, a peony garden with loads of buds just about to burst into flower. I’m sure if I stood there just a bit longer, they would have started flowering. It will look stunning in a week or so. And so many flowers that I have just given up trying to grow at home, but at least now I understand why my attempts to grow them have not been successful. They probably need 4 months under a thick layer of snow, which is never, ever going to happen at home. I was amused to see some tiny little nasturtium seedlings being coaxed to grow in display wheelbarrows …. those things grow like weeds at home without any encouragement at all.
It rained the whole time I wandered around the garden. Greg stayed in the car ‘cos it cost $12 to walk through, which I thought was well worth it, but he probably would have been happier to pay money NOT to have to walk around in the rain. Before we went to eat at the café I asked to see the menu to make sure there was rhubarb-something on it, and there were 2 rhubarb desserts – ice cream with rhubarb sauce, and a slice with a rhubarb crumble topping. So we had one of each, to brace ourselves for the drive across the mountains through White Pass to Whitehorse. Gold seekers and First Nation people before them all used a similar route to get further north. It would have been really, really hard on foot or horseback, and I read or heard somewhere that the Canadian government at the time made everyone take 2 tons – ie, a year’s worth – of supplies with them. A narrow gauge railway was built and completed to Whitehorse in 1900, by which time the Yukon goldrush was pretty much all over, and the ‘next big thing’ was Nome, in the very far west of Alaska. If Sarah Palin lived in Nome, she really would be able to see Russia from her house … but not from Juneau/Wasilla/Anchorage where she lived while she was governor and McCain’s running mate.
We saw a bear! Driving along the Klondike Highway near Carcross, there was a black bear ambling along the side of the road, munching on greenery. We stopped to take photos from the car with the window down, with him on the other side of the crash barrier about 2 metres away. He was far more interested in whatever he was eating than in us, thankfully. We have bought some bear spray, though, in case we get really up close to one while we’re walking or camping.
We found a lovely little sourdough bakery in Carcross – breads, scrolls, cakes & other baked goodies, and free coffee. Then into Whitehorse to get a few things & fill our water containers. We stealth-camped just off Highway 1, The Alaska Highway, on an access track to the power line. Nice little campsite, and we’ve saved the GPS coordinates in case we drive back that way, although we’re hoping to go via Chicken and Dawson, which are further north.