Day 16: Reading in Dawson

Day miles: 2
Trip miles: 4788

Yukon RiverI was a day early for the Dust to Dawson events. There were plenty of bikes already in town, including a few people I had met or seen over the last week in Alaska. Everyone was arriving though.

I spent most of the day wandering around, exploring, and reading. Dawson City is sandwiched between the Yukon River and the hills. There are trails up the hillside and there I went with by bear spray at the ready. You always have to assume the locals laugh at people who have any concern about bears, but these trails had no shortage of signs warning you about bears and providing recommendations for proper caution. I wandered around the communication towers at the top, and down another road where I found old cemeteries.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police had other names prior, such as the Royal Northwest Mounted Police (RNWMP). They had been sent up here during lawless days of the gold rush to create order, at a time where the really wasn’t anything in the Yukon. The river had brought riverboats full of people in search of gold and now someone had to make order out of it. The gravestones represented the RCMP’s long history here, which I found quite interesting. Also, there was a habit of planting trees on graves that seemed to have gotten eventually out of hand; some of the older sections of the cemeteries had large trees that had fallen down and broken many gravestones. I also found it interesting that many of the newer graves had many personal items around them. A bit eerie under the circumstances, but I felt compelled to completely explore the cemeteries there.

I wandered the city and saw a small museum of its history. I found historic cabins that belonged to Jack London and Robert Service. Eventually I settled down by the river and spent the rest of the day reading. I finished “Double or Nothing: The Flying Fur Buyer of Anahim Lake,” a book I had picked up at a restaurant near Cache Creek, BC. The book was a collection of tales written by a man who had done many things in remote areas of Canada, including many flying tales. I started reading “Wager With the Wind,” a book about Don Sheldon, who was infamous for his flying around Denali and landing on glaciers there. Flying, of course, was a theme on this trip, as I spent a lot of time thinking about my father’s career as a airline pilot and the recreational flying we did.

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