Navigating to Alaska: Klondike Loop

Navigating to Alaska: Klondike Loop

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Our Tiny House, in the Yukon!

Guillaume and I waved goodbye to British Columbia, a province that wetted our appetite for glacial lakes and bear viewing, as the Yukon greeted us with a dusty smile. We immediately began by comparing the Canadian neighbors. Fishing licenses were cheaper in the Yukon and government campgrounds were plentiful. Groceries, beer and restaurants were more expensive and WiFi was almost non-existent.

The sun refused to set at a proper bedtime, which is great for our solar power, but not for our daily routine. Often I found myself sitting around the campfire well past midnight, believing it was early evening. I struggled for awhile, attempting to maintain a schedule. This only further confused my body. Caffeine couldn’t wake me in the morning; black curtains couldn’t fool me at night. Eventually I allowed myself to adjust naturally, no matter how absurd the hour.

I threw out the clock and timed myself with the wild north.

Klondike Loop (Yukon Highway #2 & #9, Alaska #5)

The Klondike Loop is famous for following the trail taken by gold prospectors during the Klondike Gold Rush through the Yukon and Alaska. The road is partially paved, but the majority is gravel and dirt. Some of it is really rough and we ended up needing some maintenance on the trailer (we’ll do a detailed maintenance post later this year).

HIGHLIGHT: TATCHUN LAKE (for fishing)

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Guillaume tried his luck fishing in British Columbia, but the only bites he received were from mosquitos. Luckily we struck up a conversation with a Yukon ranger at one of the campgrounds we visited. Eric (the ranger) mentioned that they were holding “Family Fishing Weekend” at Tatchun Lake, only a few miles north. We packed up and decided to go to the event. Through the guidance of the rangers, and with the help of their boat, Guillaume was able to catch his first Canadian fish – two Northern Pike! We filleted them ourselves after the ranger demonstrated his technique.

Did you know that a fish’s heart can beat for up to an hour after it has been removed from the carcass? I watched as the ranger held a tiny beating heart in his palm. He poured cold water over the beating organ and it pulsed vivaciously. It was morbidly fascinating. I remember watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom as a kid, verbally opposing the ludicrous scene when the tribal leader removes the beating heart from his screaming human sacrifice. “It’s not possible,” eight year old me declared! And I still don’t believe it’s possible… but that fish heart is a head scratcher

HIGHLIGHT: DAWSON CITY

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I have so much to say about Dawson City, it deserves its own post. Click here for details on this unique Yukon town that proudly flaunts its Klondike heritage.

CROSSING THE YUKON RIVER – BY FERRY!

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The Klondike Loop continues after Dawson City with the famously scenic “Top of the World Highway.” But first, we had to cross the Yukon River and the only way to do that is by boat! This is the second time we’ve put the tiny house on a ferry, the first being when we crossed the Bay of Fundy. The free ferry service carries pedestrians, cars and RVs across the Yukon river 24 hours a day.

The Klondike Loop has become so popular that the wait for the ferry can be 3-4 hours in peak season. We waited 3 hours, loaded our tiny house onto the ferry and floated across the river in 15 minutes.

Top of the World Highway (Yukon #9)

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Top of the World Highway – Smoky Conditions

Many locals warned us about the conditions on the Top of the World Highway, but we refused to double back. The day we traveled was hazy from nearby forest fires, creating less than spectacular scenery (which is why we don’t have any photos). We took it slow and shimmied our way to the border crossing. No tiny houses were injured in this crossing!

Wildlife. We spotted a family of red foxes on the Top of the World Highway! The mother is a “silver fox,” which means she has black fur with silver tips. This variation of the red fox was highly sought after for women’s apparel in its heyday. Her four pups are a “cross foxes” with a mixture of red and black fur. Daddy was probably red/gold, the most common color variation.

Crossing the Border – WE MADE IT TO ALASKA!

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Top of the World Border Crossing

Our tiny house has crossed the border into Canada three times and twice into the United States. This border crossing was unique in that there WASN’T A LINE!  The officer let us pass without an inspection, and the anti-climatic crossing took about three minutes. Afterwards the highway became smooth and paved.

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Taylor Highway (Alaska Highway #5)

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THGJ on the Taylor Highway

Remember that smooth paved highway at the border? FORGET IT! That was just the United States trying to show off. I can see it now: some American engineer laughing maniacally, shaking his fist towards Canada: “In America, we have paved roads! Take that Canada!”  Well this fictional engineer obviously lost his steam (or budget), because gravel and dirt finish the Klondike Loop with the Taylor Highway.

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Fireweed – A Prominent Alaskan Flower in Summer

Next: We spend Independence Day in Chicken, Alaska (population 15)

Related articles:

*Dawson City: Gold Rush & Sour Toe

*Tiny House Camping in the Yukon

*Navigating to Alaska: Stewart / Cassiar Highway

*Navigating to Alaska: Yellowhead Highway

*Navigating to Alaska: Sea to Sky Highway

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6 Comments

  1. Karen chaudiere
    July 22, 2015 / 8:33 pm

    I really look forward to your posts – informative, funny and not too long

  2. July 17, 2015 / 3:51 am

    Great post…I love following your adventures.

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