Day 24,25. Dawson to Tombstone Territorial Park


We woke up to the sound of rain falling. The good news is that with the RV we don’t have to worry about putting away wet things, and packing up a wet tent; just enjoy our breakfast and hit the road. With a couple of stops left on Dawson, gas & spare spring water, we would be off to the Dempster highway. We’ve heard from one couple that it’s been wet and the highway is very bumpy… we’ll see.

Dawson has been an interesting experience.  While Parks Canada does not operate a park, they operate three historical sites: 33 buildings in the town itself, the SS Keno and Dredge No 4.   The town has an interesting quality as if it’s part “Upper Canada Village” and part working town.  But I digress.

The days have been cooler here, coupled with the dampness we’re glad to have a) an RV with a heater and b) clothes for all seasons. 

Soon we were off on our first leg for the Dempster.  After filling up with gas in town we drove the 40kms back towards Whitehorse to the turn off for the Dempster.

Getting ready to drive for 550 km one way on a dirt road!

We had paved road for about 1 km, and then the shale roadway took over. While short sections were ‘OK’, and majority of the road was potholed and washboard. We kept it at a snail’s pace and the 72 km travelled to our campground took about 2 hours! We’re hoping for better surfaces north of here, but we won’t hold our breath! We had originally planned on 3 nights here in Tombstone, but the road conditions dictate that we need to plan on shorter drives. So, instead of going to Eagle Plains for our next stop, we’ll plan on hitting Engineer Creek which is about half way.

Wet and bumpy! Glad they put new heavy duty tires on the RV before we got it!

When we got to our campsite, we were lucky to get a site backing onto the Klondike River. Lovely site, and great campground all round. They have a cook shelter which has plastic over the “windows” and doors to keep the weather out. It’s pretty overcast with a fairly low cloud ceiling, so no long hikes today. Instead, I made us a hot veggie soup to help us warm up!

Our campsite at Tombstone Territorial Park
View out our back window after 72 kms of driving on the muddy road!
Klondike River near its headwaters – just 10 M behind our site.
Covered cooking shelter, complete with a large wood stove for warmth! My heart went out to the tent campers here!
Amphi theatre at Tombstone Campground.

Our next stop was the .5 km hike through the woods to the Visitors Centre.  What a beautiful building and setting!  Once inside we chatted with staff about recommended hikes etc, and found they were making fresh bannock!  Hot out of the pan drizzled with homemade wild berry jam, chased by a mug of Labrador and berry tea, life seemed pretty good.  The large stove in the middle of the facility made for a warm refuge for us as we scanned the books for information on anything you could find in the area!  We also signed up for an interpretive walk the next day as well as their evening program.

Heading to the Visitor’s Centre
Bannock and fresh wild berry preserve!
Hot tea ( herbal) is always on the stove!

We headed back to the RV and had a little reading time before a championship cribbage game!  Lots of fun as Dan and I trade the leads day by day…. Today was Dan’s day!

 

While we had lots of wood, the weather outside was just to wet for us to enjoy a fire.  It’s too bad as the cool temps ( low of 6C tonight) meant that there were very few bugs.  We opted to stay in and enjoy a home cooked meal in the RV and then get some cozy reading in before bed.  Tomorrow is another day to explore this park before we head out!  Until then, stay safe!

 

Day 25, Tombstone Territorial Park

It rained on and off throughout the night, but we were snug as a bug with our little propane furnace!  We got up around 7 and had a light breakfast of oatmeal and fresh BC fruit.  Then, I took my sourdough starter which had been fed the night before and made the dough for English muffins.  The dough needs about 8 hours to rise, so a morning mix on a day we weren’t moving was essential.

After our chores were done we headed out to explore the campground and catch up with a staff person who gives updates and campsite news.  Not much to report on.  Thankfully she said there has been no bear activity here for a while.  Unfortunately, the campground at Rock River ( just on the Yukon side of the NWT border) where we intend on staying in a few days has been shut down due to a bear incident.  She said the rangers were going up there today, and it might be 72 hours before it reopens.  We should know before we leave Eagle Plains whether we’ll be able to stay there.  It will be our one and only campsite north of the Arctic Circle for us!  The other thing she said were that blueberries were in their peak season right now, with lots of opportunities to pick along our drive.

After our chat, we headed along the Klondike “upper” river walk.  A beautiful short walk that took us through prime “Sub Arctic “ vegetation.

Klondike River walk
Spruce and Trembling Aspen are the dominant trees with bushes of willow and dwarf aspen

It started to rain once again, so Dan and I headed back to the RV to warmup with a hot tea and then a hot lunch.  We have an interpretive talk at 2, so we’ll warm up and hopefully be ready to head out if the weather clears!

Well, the weather didn’t clear so we skipped the talk. Rain and 13C didn’t inspire us to explore the fungi of this land! We opted for some reading and relaxation. As I prepped our supper, pasta bolognese, the rain stopped and we decided to head to the interpretive centre and then do a short hike. It was beautiful terrain, with a lovely outlook over a beaver pond. As we turned back, the rain started again and we hurried home for our dinner.

Klondike River flowing towards the beaver dams
One of several beaver ponds.

After dinner we headed up to the cook house ( a covered cabin with a large wood stove to hear a talk about the park.  More talk of the Beringia area we are exploring here and further North.  An interesting fact was Camels originated in the Yukon and crossed to Asia vis the land bridge!

They were then going to do a watercolour session, but it was pretty crowded and we opted to head back the the camp.  I needed to cook my English muffins!!!  Another exciting adventure in sourdough and I think they turned out pretty good!  Egg McMuffins for breakfast tomorrow!

A dozen in total! Tasted delish!

After the cooking and clean up was done, we sat down for another round of cards. Tonight, I take home the championship!

Warm drinks on a cool night!

 

Well it’s been a full day, and tomorrow we are going to brave the Dempster once again. Ideally we’d like to make it to Eagle Plains, but it may be Engineer Creek at about the halfway point. Fingers crossed for a smooth ride tomorrow. In the meantime , it’s starting to clear so I’ve set and alarm in case the clouds stay away long enough to see the northern lights… will update tomorrow. Until then, stay safe!

Categories: 2021 C2C2C Exploring Canada from Coast to Coast to Coast - a 40th Anniversary Tour

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