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Published: June 30th 2017
Old buildings not in use
You can see the damage the buildings suffer when built on the permafrost.
Day 6 – Dawson City
Today started out with a tour in the morning, of Dawson City, the Gold fields and Robert Service’s cabin.
Our tour members consisted of the two of us, and a film crew of 4 people that were going to a spot along the way we were going, to a place called Claim 33, after the tour of Dawson City.
The town of Dawson City, which came to be because of the Gold Rush in 1896, was built on the permafrost. The town was all wooden, and with oil lamps, you can imagine if one building catches fire, what would happen to the rest. The town has burned about 3 times. Now, all of the buildings are metal. Some of the older buildings you can still see. They don’t stay level because of the permafrost, that freezes and thaws. Even some of the newer buildings you can see that the store fronts aren’t level compared to the next building.
Claim 33 is where we let the film crew out. They have a collection of old equipment used during the gold rush. They also have two water troughs that you can pan for gold.
I guess it would have been better if it had burned in one of Dawson City's fires.
They don’t guarantee you will find anything. They sell you a bag of dirt to pan, and good luck. Just like in Fairbanks, when they started, the people came because someone went back and said there’s gold there, and everyone came. The biggest benefactor was the people selling the goods and supplies, and guess who said there was gold. Yup, the guy with the goods store.
In Dawson City gold fields, there were 3 people that are credited with finding the gold, they said it was by accident probably, and it was probably his wife that found it while cleaning up in the river.
We saw the Gold Dredge No. 4, which was bigger than No. 8 that we saw in Fairbanks, and it worked the valley getting out the gold. The tailings, which are the rock that is dumped out the back after it was sorted and shaken down for gold. The rock piles left, were just left there, and are a reminder of what you can do to the land, and what it will look like if you don’t take care of it and put it back. The tailings piles really are not pretty, and some
The old church
It isn't used any longer. There is another new one instead.
private land owners have remediated their land, and it looks like it is natural. I’m not sure how they did it, but do know it looks more natural than the piles of rocks.
Dawson City sits on gold obviously, but they have a law that no one who owns land within a 1 mile radius can mine or dig for gold, to avoid the mineral rights squabbles that would ensue.
One of the stops on our Dawson City tour, was the cabin of Robert Service. I have to admit, I didn’t pay close attention in English class while in school. Some poetry I had to read and report on, and there was a bunch taught as side line poets. Some of the poems that Robert Service wrote, I have heard, but didn’t connect to Robert Service. Our tour guide for the cabin, is an employee of the Canadian National Parks. Her name was Franz, and she was terrific in presenting his life and works, and was extremely passionate about his poetry. It was one of the nicest stops on our tour.
After lunch, we had a tour on the Klondike Spirit
, one of the paddle wheelers from
This is where the film crew came, so we had to stop in as well. Got to look around, saw lots of old equipment, but nothing that I would come pay money to see.
the period. It was a newer edition, not made of wood, burning diesel instead of wood. The old paddle wheelers, used 120 cords of wood to go from Dawson City to Whitehorse, which was going upstream. That was more wood than they could carry, so they had several stops along the way to get wood. As you can imagine, the banks of the river were clear cut of the trees, so they could get wood to the edge of the water for the boats. The banks are replanted, and are on third growth. They are much more sensitive to keeping it green.
Two rivers come together in Dawson City. The Yukon River comes in from the South, and the Klondike River from the East. The Yukon River is a glacier fed river, which contains a lot of silt and other stuff washed down. Other rivers combine with it as well, but the Klondike is melted snow, and is crystal clear. When these two rivers meet in Dawson City, you can see the water from the Klondike as it combines with the Yukon. It mixes in quite well, so that ½ mile downstream, it is all brown, no
After our ride on the Klondike Spirit
, we had time for supper, and got ready for our trip to the Top of the Dome. A large hill, where you can see up and down the rivers, the gold fields of the Bonanza Creek and the town of Dawson City. It was also hazy, since there are several forest fires burning. These were started by lightening, and they usually are handled before CNN gets word that there is a fire.
While we were at Claim 33, we saw a helicopter, carrying a bag of water to drop on the fire. In the Territory, the guide told us there were about 50 active fires, but they don’t last long.
Of course, you might think that a trip up a mountain to see a nice view at 9PM at night would be a waste of money. But, not here. It was beautiful!
A long day, but a very pleasant one.
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