After five hours of sleep, well below my normal hours, I was actually waking up refreshed and feeling ready for today’s activity. By waking up at 8 am, I have two hours for preparation, in which I spent 1.5 hours reading my emails and updating Instagram. The rest thirty minutes was spent on showering and getting ready.
S.S. Klondike National Historic Site in the Early Morning
I have a city tour on 10 am, guided by a Japanese guy in his 30’s. First, we went for a drive around the city while he explained the history of the city and its various buildings. He continued by taking a scenic highway route that leads back to the outer ring of the city, to a park where a ship named SS Klondike was located. The landscape surrounding Whitehorse is truly magniﬁcent; the snowcapped mountain at every corner of the city, the soft winter sunlight diffused through the clouds and the fresh air that ﬁlled my lungs. I was lucky that during the last two days, the temperature was very mild, hovering around -4 to 0 degrees Celsius.
Me at the S.S. Klondike National Historic Site
At the SS Klondike site, we took our time in capturing the vista nearby the river while our guide explained the history of the boat and the city. He also shows me a jogging route circling the river that is about 5 Km long, telling me that usually it took him around an hour to jog through the whole track. The view around it was truly magniﬁcent.
Landscape Nearby the Electric Dam
Next, we drove for another 10 minutes to the other side of the river and stopped at an electric dam and a salmon ﬁshing center, at the end of the hill there was a marvellous panorama if you hike to the top. I became acquainted with a Brazilian family because the father of the family and I were the only one crazy enough to hiked the steep rocky terrain reaching the top. To me, the view was worth the effort. On the way down, we slide through the rock with our shoes and gloved hands, something that my mother wouldn’t approve if she was there.
Sunset from the Yukon River
Around 11.30 am, we were already within the city border again, headed toward the tourist information center. Inside the building there were many minerals being displayed and we watched a 15 minutes movie about Yukon in the summer, which was probably ﬁlmed in the 80-90’s. There, I learned there is a very cool train ride from Skagway to Carcross in the summer that is passing through the mountains, offering a magnificent view.
Frozen Part of the Yukon River
On the way back to our hotel, our guide showed us a deli that is selling bison and elk sausages in case some of us wanted to try roasting it at the ﬁreplace later at night. It was still 12.30 when they dropped us at the Best Western Inn and I got plenty of time before the pickup later tonight at 10 pm for the aurora sightseeing. My idea? Have a quick lunch and go for a walk circling the Yukon river.
Yukon River and the Mountains
After weighing my options, I ended up in another Japanese restaurant called Tokyo Sushi that is located in the strip. I ordered a chirashi don and found that the sashimi was really fresh and served in cold, much better than the regular sashimi I had in Montreal. With my stomach full, I walked from downtown to the SS Klondike site for about about 15 minutes, passing through a less busy area in the southern part of the city.
View from the Jogging Track Circling the Yukon River
After crossing the bridge nearby the SS Klondike, turning right would lead you to the start of the jogging track. During the walk, I saw a beaver dam, few people jogging and walking, the frozen part of the river and several raven ﬂying by. It was a truly pleasant walk after lunch, which took me three hours to ﬁnish due to the frequent stops I took to take photographs. For me, the landscape on the way back was much better than the ﬁrst half because you have snowcapped mountains as the background of the river.
A Bench Facing the Yukon River
Tired, I crashed on the Starbucks again and worked on my photographs while sipping a cup of English breakfast tea. I watched local people passing by on the street, a group of teenagers making a mess and people working on their laptop. That is until Tamara, the Australian girl I met yesterday invited me for a dinner at the Gold Pan Saloon next to our hotel. We drank wine and I had my seafood platter while she had her bison meat burger.
After some due diligence, we learned that the chance of seeing aurora tonight was slimmer than yesterday, not due to weak magnetic ﬁelds, but rather due to the cloudy sky. We knew that spending 4 hours at the lookout doing nothing is not the kind of fun we were looking for, so she popped up the idea of buying two bottles of red wine to drink on the site. I agreed despite the fact that I have a ﬂight to catch at 12pm tomorrow (to be fair she had a ﬂight at 7 am the next morning, so she will be sleeping for only two hours).
The Majestic Landscape of Yukon River During the Sunset
We were proven to be right. The visibility was very low and it was cloudy the whole night because there was no wind. After two hours of congregating around the ﬁreplace and chatted with two Australian families and the Brazilian family, I went to a vast open space with my bottle of wine and sat on a bench nearby. I was in a trance, staring at the dark landscape ahead of me, listening to my “chill” playlist on my Bose headphones while drinking a bottle of red wine. I could only remember listening to “I Dreamed a Dream” and “My Heart Will Go On” that night.
It was only when came back to the cabin that I realized I had drank four ﬁfth of the bottle. Luckily, my higher reasoning capability was still intact and I started drinking a lot of water to dilute the alcohol. I didn’t even turn on my camera during the night. At 2 am we headed back to the hotel and then I took a hot shower before sleeping. I was pretty restless and concerned that I will have diﬃculty waking up tomorrow morning to catch the shuttle to airport at 10.30, so I set two alarms, one on my Timex travel
watch and the other one on my iPod.