Western Canada Trip D2: Whitehorse

Day 2

This morning I woke up feeling relaxed, knowing that I have nothing scheduled until 13.15. I woke up at 7.15, then checked my emails and news to have an update on the (financial) market. A cultivated habit my father and I have after arriving in a new city is to go by foot around the area surrounding our hotel. But first, I asked the receptionist on whether breakfast is included in my booking, hoping to find eggs and bacon to feed my starving stomach. Apparently not. Disappointed, I decided to watch the sunrise instead of looking for breakfast, since the sunrise in Whitehorse at Winter occurs around 10 am.

PSX_20181217_193615Bison at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve

The sky was still pitch black, with a trace of clouds quite visible if you observe the sky carefully. Whitehorse is a small, square city that has an ambience of being in the U.S. Wild West, probably because the city was being established partly due to the gold rush in 1896-1899. A slow walk from one end to the other takes only 30 minutes, with three story buildings along the road, which functions as restaurants, hotels, shops and cultural center. The night before, when I was studying the map I took from the hotel’s lobby, one thing that caught my attention is the availability of McDonalds and KFC at the northern part of the city. There are also several Japanese restaurants that are managed by Chinese families.

PSX_20181217_193813Yukon Wildlife Preserve
After slightly less than two hours wandering around, I went back to “the strip” or the busy part of the city nearby Best Western Inn, and ended up in Starbucks. There is a comfortable corner sofa next to a window, where I sat, allowing me to observe people walking on the street and cars passing through the intersection. I spent few hours there writing and editing photographs that I took yesterday.

PSX_20181217_194047Yukon Wildlife Preserve

The plan for the afternoon is to go to Yukon Wildlife Preserve and Takhini Hot Spring Spa. I didn’t bring my bathing suit with me (to be exact, I didn’t have one in Canada), so I bought one for a discount in the Sports Express counter located at the strip. Time flies really fast when you are busy doing stuff, even during holiday, that I have to went back to my hotel not long after.

PSX_20181217_194322Yukon Wildlife Preserve

Before the rendezvous with other guess and the tour guide, I had my lunch in Gold Pan Saloon, a restaurant and bar inside the Best Western building. Little did I know at the time that I will spent quite some time there in the next few days. It was nominated as one of the best bar in Canada by Globe and Mail few years back.

PSX_20181217_194512Bambi at Yukon Wildlife Preserve

Our tour guide called Kirstin, a very funny and talkative German girl. She drove us through the Alaskan Highway heading to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve. It is a large natural park with fences partitioning the animals so that they do not eat or fight each other. I really recommend going there, as the landscspe was majestic and the animals were quite active as well. I felt a very strong connection with the nature when walking through the place, observing the clouds blown by the wind and the animals wandering around the wonderful landscape. At the time of my visit, there was some clouds and the sunlight diffused through it, resulting in a very soft light reflected by the snowcapped mountain.

PSX_20181217_194713Sunset Hour at Yukon Wildlife Preserve

PSX_20181217_195144Sunset Hour at Yukon Wildlife Preserve

We got to see arctic fox and Canadian lynx, among others, but they are too active running across their territory and it was very difficult for me to photograph them. The rest are pretty static, like the bison who welcomed us by dropping a massive poop and the moose who kept on eating after our arrival.

PSX_20181217_195408That’s Me at Yukon Wildlife Preserve

PSX_20181217_195521Road Alongside the Park

After two hours of the tour seeing various Canadian animals, we headed to the Takhini Hot Spring to take a dip on the 40 degrees water. It was a pleasant and relaxing experience, but to me, the water is not as hot as it should be. The hot spring is equipped with bathroom and two pools, one with 30 degrees water and the other one with 40 degrees. Both pools are facing a mountain, giving you a really wonderful time to just gaze at the landscape and ease your muscle.

PSX_20181217_195803The Sun Going Down Behind the Mountains, Yukon


Takhini Hot Spring Spa

We got back to the hotel at 5.30, which means that we have less than four hours to take a nap, dinner and shower. I took my dinner at a Japanese restaurant three blocks away from my hotel, a quite fancy restaurant serving various sushi and donburi. Not long after waking up from my power nap, an Australian girl I met on the tour invited me to join for a drink before the aurora sightseeing tour at 10 pm, which of course I obliged to. We went to the same bar where I had my lunch earlier and drank a glass of red wine.

PSX_20181218_014121Aurora Borealis Seen from North of Whitehorse, Yukon

PSX_20181218_013550Aurora Borealis Seen from North of Whitehorse, Yukon

We went about 30 minutes north from the city, where the company I hired for have 5 cabins facing a lake up north. Although the magnetic fields were not visible to my naked eyes, my camera could capture it decently. We spent 3.5 hours there, most of the time staying nearby the fireplace or inside the cabin. It has long been the ultimate challenge for me to capture aurora borealis as a photographer and here I am, witnessing the nature at its finest.

PSX_20181218_084429Starry Sky and the Aurora Seen from North of Whitehorse, Yukon

The best shots I got were during the first 30 minutes of arrival, when the sky was do clear that you could see the stars and the aurora far away north. Then slowly the clouds creeped in and covered much of the sky, leaving us no option but to spend time around the fireplace or inside the cabin. The kids are sleeping by midnight while the adults were sipping coffee and hot chocolate. And finally at 2pm we headed back to the city. I was pretty sleepy when the guide dropped me at the hotel, and knowing that I have a city tour tomorrow at 10 am doesn’t make it any better. But that’s another story for the next post.

PSX_20181219_082028That’s Me Again with the Aurora

PSX_20181218_084607Cabin in the Woods, Congregating Around the Fireplace



About Journeyman

A global macro analyst with over four years experience in the financial market, the author began his career as an equity analyst before transitioning to macro research focusing on Emerging Markets at a well-known independent research firm. He read voraciously, spending most of his free time following The Economist magazine and reading topics on finance and self-improvement. When off duty, he works part-time for Getty Images, taking pictures from all over the globe. To date, he has over 1200 pictures over 35 countries being sold through the company.
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1 Response to Western Canada Trip D2: Whitehorse

  1. Aj says:

    Hello there!
    Beautiful photos. Sounds like an amazing place. Will be looking as possible next destination for me as i never been to that part of Canada. Thanks for sharing and enjoy your your awesome trip.

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