Published: July 28th 2011July 28th 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 Galena Park, Mayo, YK 55 degrees, cloudy, but some blue sky can be seen.
Need to get a loaf of bread today. Drove through the community of Mayo to the grocery store---it doesn’t open until 10.00!!! We have discovered that the Yukon govt. helps these small, mostly First Nations communities/villages/towns publish a “walking tour” of the town. Two color printing with drawings and not expensive photos, but still?? It would be like publishing a walking tour of Tucker or Clarkston----here is Aunt Susie’s house whose father fought in the Civil War; here is the fire station that was built in 1955 after the original structure burned in 1954; Fred’s gas station is located here where there was once a house of ill repute----you get the idea. Anyway, we drove around and looked at the school and very neat motel with flowers planted everywhere. This community is like a County Seat in the US with all the services for the area---police, heath center/nurse, First Nations Administrative offices, etc.
Drove back to the highway and at this crossroad [Stewart’s Crossing—bridge over the Stewart River] got gas. 12285 mileage, $87.00 for 60 liters. No bread at the tiny store
at the station—frankly, not much of anything in it but a bored teenager taking gas monies.
Drove on to Pelly’s Crossing and stopped at a First Nation’s Cultural Center/tiny museum—another “program,” I believe, of the Federal Govt. to have a showcase for community art/crafts for sale and to promote some pride in the local tribe/clan’s heritage. We have found them all over the Yukon. This one was nicely done with artifacts from places down the river that had once been the Hudson Bay’s trading post/river landing before the road was built and by-passed it. Valerie bought a loaf of bread at this small store---only groc store for miles. Valerie said, that the store owner said, that it cost him 30 cents a pound to have the goods he sells trucked up from Whitehorse.
Drove along the Yukon River again---it just keeps popping up along our route. Looking for a place to camp at a Provincial Park for the night, we drove out a gravel road to one on a lake that a Ranger in Dawson City said was a pretty lake with loons. Campground was nice, but couldn’t see the lake from camp spots and no loons or
any wildlife that we could see---including any humans. Pulled back out and stopped at the boat landing area and ate lunch and rested a bit. Lake was pretty---so many pretty lakes in this part of the world and no cabins, water skiers, boats or anything like there would be in the US on this size of a lake. Most of the lakes seem to be completely deserted most of the time, as far as we can see.
Continuing on down the road after our rest, Valerie caught sight of the front half of a fox as it started to move out of the brush and onto the road. Saw another skinny, mangy looking fox along the highway as we headed further south. Lots of ground squirrels about so not sure why the fox looking so bad. We continued driving through pretty country with mountains, forests, ponds and lakes, often driving along or crossing rivers. Signs posted every so often warned us about caribou and moose, but again, none were seen.
A clear ash line can be seen in this area along the cuts for the road bed. This ash is from a volcano [they are not sure what
volcano, possibly one in eastern Alaska], but 1,250 years ago it coated 1/3 of the southern Yukon area or about 125,000 square miles. Archaeologists use this to date artifacts; any find above the ash line is postdated AD 700 and anything below is considered to have been deposited before AD 700.
We continued to look in all the wetland areas along this highway section for ducks and birds. Lots of these areas are used by waterfowl in the spring and fall for “staging areas” to gather together before migrating. Of course we are here at the wrong time, but looked anyway to see if any waterfowl thought this lake/pond/puddle was a good place for a nest and that it was silly to fly further north.
Toward the afternoon, about 20 miles north of Whitehorse, we saw what we thought were ducks down in a pond that had a sort of pull-out area in front and along side of the pond. So, Valerie drove Rosie II down onto the gravelish road. I am not sure if I have told you about the 3rd classification of ducks that we have coined---the rest of the world has two: dabbling ducks and diving
ducks---our third kind are called “debris” ducks. So often what looks like a duck in the water, turns out to be sticks, tree stumps, a rock etc---hence our invented “debris duck” category. Well these “perfectly” looking ducks [Valerie and I both saw them as such] turned out to be debris ducks so Valerie backed Rosie up to turn around. We were still on what we thought was the “gravel” surface but her back tires began to slide and we realized we were sinking into sticky, silty, MUD!!! The back tires were not getting any traction to come up and out of the hole they dug themselves into. We both stepped out to see what the situation looked like, and promptly sunk about 2-3 inches into the mud and it was sure sticky! Neither of us thought to put on our rubber clogs. The back left tire was in quite a hole and the right back tire was better, but still a problem. Looking around and thinking about what to do to get us out, Valerie remembered the carpet we had put away in the outside bin. We also found some boards from a sign that had been up along the
highway. We both dug under the tires and put the carpet pieces under each tire with a wide board over the left back “hole”. Valerie got in and Rosie pulled herself right out. Just as we pulled her up and out a couple in an RV, who had driven by on the highway, came back to offer to pull us out. We thanked them, as we really may have needed the help.
So, if you drive by a pond about 20 miles outside of Whitehorse and see four pieces of muddy carpet, several boards and a pair of brown shoes beside it, you know where we were. What a relief to get out of there and we thanked Dad for showing us what to do in this kind of situation!!
Drove into Whitehorse, my muddy, caked, new for this trip, tennis shoes in a plastic bag, and pulled into the Wal-mart parking lot to find Jim and Diane Houchin from Kansas parked there. We both got an excited welcome with lots of kisses from Rocky, their long haired dachshund. They had arrived earlier this same day having driven down to Haines and back after leaving us in Fairbanks
while we headed to Dawson City.
We decided to treat ourselves and had dinner at a nearby restaurant. We settled in for the night after talking with Jim and Diane and deciding to travel together as the 4 of us are going the same way for quite awhile. I think we like to travel at the same “speed” looking at the natural environment and hoping to see wildflowers, birds and, wildlife of all kinds.
There are more photos below