Sunday, June 3, 2012

June 3 – Dawson City, Yukon

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The forecast called for rain this afternoon so we did outdoor stuff in the morning. We went for the Parks Canada guided tour of downtown Dawson. Parks Canada has taken over a lot of the building in town and restored them. There is a strict code for the other buildings, in that they must reflect the proper period in time.


The radio station reminded me of the show Northern Exposure.


The bank.


Post Office.


There is a famous picture of the saloon (in the lower right) that they used to restore this place.


Some of the building have suffered from the melting permafrost.




After lunch we went to visit one of the dredges that have sucked up and spit out the landscape. This was also a Parks Canada tour. The things is massive, 8 stories tall and about 200 feet long. It floats on a pond that it literally takes along with it. As it digs at the front, it dumps at the back so the pond and it move forward. Jennie is just below the exit chute in the picture below.



We were the only ones on the tour so we got the personal touch. Its seems like a lot of people here have lived in Ontario at some point. Our guide was born in Elliot Lake and lived in Blind River, which are very close to our cottage. Whenever I says I am from Toronto people always ask, “What part?” and seem to know the city.

The cover over the front is where the restoration is still taking place. Before Parks Canada took over it had been abandoned for many year and had sunk in 18 feet of silt, ice and muck. The guide said there are very few places that can make the large beams they need. These come from southern BC.


Lots of large gears and machinery. This part raises and lowers the bucket boom. There were 60 very large buckets on a revolving belt.



The buckets.


The control room with all the winch brakes and clutches and the electric motor controllers.


The dirt is spun and washed in this tube full of holes to get rid of the large rocks.


The dirt then flows into these sluice boxes which are washed with water. They have canvas mats and mesh grids placed in them so that the heavy gold will settle to the bottom. Once a day they take the mats from the top section, because that is where most of the gold end up, take them away and burn them to get the metal out. At this point she said that most of the impurities are actually silver. Once a month they clean out then entire sluice box.


The leftovers go out the back.


Then we went to the site of the original Klondike gold discovery and walked a small trail.


Just checking.



The dredge is 13 km up a dirt road. Our map said that farther up the road was a scenic lookout and that the road eventually looped back to the highway. I forgot to look at the map scale. After what seemed like a long way I turned on the GPS to make sure we were going the right way. It turns out that it was about a 60 km loop of mostly fair but some very bad dirt road. We persevered and it was worth it.




We made it to the top for some more great views. We were in a sunny spot but it seemed to be raining all around us.





While we were staring a guy roared up on a ATV and said we were in for a treat. It seems that a New York to Alaska classic car rally was using this road for a timed section. Now, I had been worried about the clearance of the CRV in some of the ruts but first up was a Rolls.



We saw several old Mercedes, Jaguars, Porches, Datsun 280Z,  MG, Ford Coupe and this old one.


Very cool.


By the time we made it back to the RV it was pouring rain. The people in the open cars must have been freezing.

It seems that an episode of the TV show Murdoch Mysteries was filmed here a while ago. It is to be televised this Wednesday at 10 on CityTv but they had an advance showing in the town theater tonight. A lot of townspeople were used as extras so the theatre was pretty full, with everyone hoping to see themselves. We recognized a lot of the places and even some of the people. It was a lot of fun. If you watch the show, near the end, Murdoch is standing in the spot where I took the picture of Jennie yesterday on the top of the Midnight Dome.


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