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The Mighty Yukon - Phenomena, Frost, Fido, Flights and Fun.

CANADA | Wednesday, 20 October 2010 | Views [1291]

We were lucky enough to spend about a week in the Yukon, we'd have loved more. We were staying in an awesome little hostel called the Beez Neez, in Whitehorse the capital of the Yukon. Whitehorse has a population of around 25,000 people, about 80% of the Yukon's total population, but given how many people live there, there is a bucketload of things to do.

Our first couple of days, we got some hikes in, went down to the Beringia Museum (sabre toothed tigers and wooly mammoths and Jefferson's Giant Ground Sloth - too cool...) before getting screwed by a taxi driver to head out to the Takhini Hot Springs. After an hour in the warm water, we were feeling so good, we even called the same taxi driver to give us a lift back! It was Canadian Thanksgiving that night too, and Nancy, who manages the hostel, cooked us up an absolute feast, and our French Canadians fed us Sortilege, a maple whiskey. You must drink Sortilege.

After dinner, we got a call from a local Aurora tour company offering us a free trip out to view the northern lights if we agreed to model in their promotional photos. It was a clear night, and the lights were due to be out, so we jumped at it. On our way out, we first saw the lights. Grinning like idiots we were - they've been a must do on my list of things to see for years. They did not disappoint.

The Yukon has a mighty impressive brewery too - excellent porters, IPAs and stouts. We were going to do a tour, but they'd just painted their floors, so we drank their beer insteads. Their slogan is 'beer worth freezing for' - fair call.

Whitehorse has one of the worlds biggest dog sled races in the world, and another cool thing we got to do was head to Muktuk kennels, home of around 130 mostly sled dogs. Being shoulder season there (and therefore mostly below 0 degrees C), we were the only tourists there, and after meeting all of the dogs, Franks pulled together a team that are being prepared for the sledding season. Frank's completed the 1000 mile Yukon Quest loads of times in the past, and held the record for around 10 years, with a time of just over 10 days. He hooked the dogs up to the ATV (the rivers haven't frozen over yet) and his team of 12 dogs, led by Banshee and Falcon, towed us around for an hour. Incredible!

The next day, the weather was clearing up nicely, so Bron, Alan and I (I think I explained about Alan in our last blog - a chance meeting of an ex-uni class mate of Bron's - we arrived at the hostel within minutes of each other - the Perth effect world wide) hired a car and drove out to Haines Junction for a glacier flight over Kaskawulsh glacier in the Kluane National Park, about 150 km out of Whitehorse. The drive was a little foggy but cleared into a bright blue sky about 50km from Haines Junction.

The flight was one of the most incredible things I have every done. We got to see converging glaciers, melt lakes, Canada's tallest mountain and all manner of incredible landscapes over the 40 minute flight. The sky was clear blue, and the experience will stay with me forever.

Our stay in Whitehorse was incredible, I could have easily spent another 4 or 5 days. We had great luck with the weather (we seem to be doing that everywhere...), met awesome people, stayed in a fantastic hotel, and had a freaking ball. Thanks Whitehorse.

Oh, and we saw some more Aurora on our last night, after waiting 2 hours in the cold for the clouds to clear. This time it had red too.

Woohoo!

Tags: flights, glaciers

 

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