Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Silver Trail-- Mayo & Keno

A community of 400 people, Mayo is situated at the confluence of the Stewart and Mayo rivers. It was established in 1902 as a service center and lead, zinc and notably, silver ores were shipped south. It is still a service center for mineral exploration today.

                                       St. Marks with St. Mary's Anglican Church

This building, built in 1936, has had many uses over the years. Liquor store, dress shop, library, kindergarten, hardware store and some others.

Many buildings in Mayo have been remodeled and resided to cover their original look. This is one of the only original log structures remaining today.

 Keno City, with a population of about 12, has a lot more character to it. Enormously rich discoveries of silver made it a boom town in the 1920's.

               Two miners built this unusual double log cabin to share in case
                                  they had a "falling out".

This house was lined with 32,000 beer bottles for added insulation. It is said to be very warm, probably helped by two feet of mortar.

                           Rust colored Blazo cans cover the front roof of this cabin.

 We took a trip up Keno Hill to the signpost at 6,000 feet. We use our GPS almost every day and find it to be extremely helpful for our type of travel.

                    The road was steep with ruts but the view was well worth the trip.

                          Mining artifacts from bygone days are strewn about.

                      Looking down on a modern placer mine on Lightning Creek.

                        View northward of the Yukon Plateau and McQuesten Valley.

                             Signpost shows distances to points around the world.

                                Ice in the creeks tells us it's time to move on.

                    We head out of town on Duncan Creek Road, the original Silver Trail.

 First used by horse teams and later by caterpillar trains to haul the silver ore from Keno city to Mayo.

                          Many old timbers from the original road break the surface.

                                    Five finger rapids on the Yukon River.

Waiting for dinner at Pelly Crossing Campground on the Pelly River. This free camp also came with water and firewood. As our friend Bob Tirk would say, "What a hoot". Judy is so good at finding these.

 We wake up in the morning with"Termination Dust" on the hillsides and lots of dark clouds overhead.

We are not in any hurry but as far as we are concerned winter is in the air.

 As we near Haines we pass the government fish wheels on the Chilkat River. We had been here on our way north earlier in this trip but no fish were here then.

 Now Sockeye and silver salmon are here and workers are busy tagging and releasing these fish.

                                      Notice the tag in the dorsal fin of this fish.

                                     Careful handling as this fish is released--

                                   -Under the watchful eyes of this hungry Eagle--

                                                         --and this Grizzly.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dawson City--Heart Of The Klondike

From Eagle we make our way to the Top Of The World Highway and head East to the Canadian border and Dawson City.

                          We have many panoramic views along the way.

                     Our camp for the night on top of the world.

We wait for the border to open early the next morning and are on our way.

 Gold was discovered here in 1896 and the rush to the Klondike was on.

                                    We are late in the tourist season now--

                                                 --as we take the free ferry--

                                             --across the Yukon River.

 In 1898 this was the largest city west of Winnipeg and north of Seattle. By 1900 it had become a refined city with stately homes, and civilized amenities-- running water, electricity and telephones.

It was the "Queen City of the North". In 1904 the Klondike was the highest gold producer in Canada, and 88% of all gold mined in the Yukon today still comes from the Dawson area.

 Robert Service was a bank teller here and rented this cabin from 1909 -1912, during which time he wrote many famous poems including "The Spell of the Yukon", "The Cremation of Sam McGree" and "Good-Bye Little Cabin". He is the most widely read poet of the 20th century.

Writing blog notes on the steps of Robert Service's cabin. He would be impressed. Judy said, "Your nuts".

 Legendary author Jack London built his original cabin south of Dawson City before the gold rush. It was discovered abandoned in 1936 and in 1965 two replicas were made from the original logs. This one is here in Dawson and the other is in Oakland, California, London's hometown. He is best known for two very successful novels about the north, White Fang and Call of the Wild.

Although many modern buildings have been added and some have been lost to fire, flood, time and neglect, Dawson City, with it's wooden boardwalks, continues to have a handsome collection of buildings dating from the early 1900's.

 These buildings, built on "discontinuous" permafrost, conduct heat downward, melting the permafrost- leaving a slump in the ground.

Judy looked over the late season sales and took this much needed break.

This long mortuary was added on to a number of times. The frozen ground in winter prevented burials so bodies were kept in the additions until spring.

There were many sternwheeler and sidewheelers on the Yukon and Dawson City was a major supply center.