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Sunday June 30- Dawson City YT

We left at 9 AM to head over to the Visitor Center. I turned in our Yukon Passport. This is a little book that if you get the passport stamped at 10 or more Yukon  participating sites, you win a Yukon pin and are entered to win some gold. It was fun and makes a nice souvenir. I had 12 stamps.

We went on the 9:30 Dawson City walking tour. There are three different walking tours, one at 9:30, one at 1 PM and one at 7 PM. They are part of the Parks Canada ticket we bought yesterday.

We crossed Front street from the Visitor Center and this truck was sitting there. Do you think the Dempster Hwy. is dirt?  This is not on our itinerary.

Dawson City Walking Tour

Dawson City Walking Tour

We walked up onto the dike. The dike was built in 1981 and there has not been a flood since. We are looking to the south.  Gabriella, our tour guide, spoke to us about living in Dawson City. She lives across the river, as she has sled dogs. The city only allows 2 dogs in a household, so if you have sled dogs, you live across the river. This presents it’s own challenges. There is no bridge. In the summer, you can use the free ferry. In the winter, the RCMP add water on top of the ice on the Yukon River, to build a bridge to drive across. Of course, in the spring, this melts unexpectedly…..

Once the tourists leave, there are only two hotels open during the winter, and most everything closes. There is an indoor swimming pool. They had pizza and beer parties on Friday evening, until that little pub decided to close during the winter. Then everyone started a rotating beer and pizza night, which has turned into a large pot luck supper every Friday evening. There are about 1200  folks who stay here each winter. Many of the folks move into town from out in the wilderness in the winter.

Dawson City Walking Tour

To the right is Gabriella, our Park Canada tour guide. We were joined by Paula, who was the history person. Paula spoke to us about crossing the Chilkoot pass and coming to Dawson City- she was in costume and was doing a historical speech. We hear a lot about the Gold Rush and the crossing of the Chilkoot pass during the Gold Rush.

We walked past the Keno, another Sternwheeler. Since we had seen the Klondike, we decided not to take this tour.


Dawson City Walking Tour

Dawson City Walking Tour

This is part of  front street before the stores open.  Our next stop was the bank.

Dawson City Walk

Dawson City Walking Tour

It was also a beautiful building, built in 1899. The miners would have their gold weighed here and exchanged for money.

Dawson City Walking Tour - Protitute crib

This is one of the prostitute’s”cribs”.  The “ladies of financial affection” lived and worked in these little buildings. Because, during the gold rush, the hospitals were running out of money, the RCMP decided to tax the “Ladies” and to have them undergo monthly medical exams, which they paid $5 each month. This, in 6 months, paid down the hospital debt. The RCMP kept the ladies on “Paradise Alley”, which was between Front street and Second Street.

Dawson City Walking Tour

Our next stop was the Red Feather Saloon, where we had been on Friday. Paula told us a little more about the bartenders. They would not wash their hair for weeks on end. Then if any gold fell onto the bar, they could hide the gold in their dirty hair! They also kept a bottle of colored water behind the bar. It a miner became friendly with the bartender, he would offer to buy them a drink. They would then drink from this bottle, get the miner drunk, and fleece him out of his money. The saloons were between the mines and the homes, so the miners we would drink on the way to the mine and on the way home, usually getting fleeced of their money and gold.

Dawson City Walking Tour - Yukon News

This was the office of the Dawson City newspaper. These machines were carried over the pass to Dawson.

Dawson City Walking Tour

The outside of the Palace Grand Theater.

Paula and Gabriella

Our final stop on the 90 minute tour was the Post Office, which we had visited yesterday.

Once the tour was over, we went to the bank to use the ATM, as the ATM last evening at the Saloon had rejected our check card and we needed some Canadian cash. We were able to use the check card at the bank to get some cash.

From there we went to lunch at Klondike Kate’s.

Dawson City Walking Tour

Klondike Kate was the wife of George Carmack. He and her brother had discovered the gold which started the gold rush. Then George dumped her and she died without money.

All of the Canadian restrooms are called washrooms.  Each ladies room that I visited, had one of these. Freebees!

In every bathroom

The restaurant was having brunch and we both had breakfast. I had the Eggs Cocotte which was two eggs baked with maple bacon and mushrooms, with a croissant and home made jelly and  a fruit kabob. Bob had an omelet, with potatoes and rye toast. Both were really good!

We left there and went to Husky Bus to use the internet. $2.50 for 10 minutes. I used 20 minutes to pay Verizon, order medications, and post the blog. Jesse, who owns the Husky business also was guiding the tour of the Dredge #4 at 2 PM, so we bought our tickets.

We returned to the motor home and walked the dogs. We left with Wayne and Margie to go to Dredge #4 for the 2 PM tour.  Jesse is a history teacher during the winter, so he was an excellent tour guide.

Dredge #4

This is the largest dredge in North America. Bob and Wayne were very impressed with how this was built. It was designed in Chicago and the parts were floated from Chicago, taken by train, floated again, went by train etc until they arrived here and were put together. This meant that every piece had to fit perfectly. The rich folks, spent 1/2 million to build this and 1/2 million to get the dredge to the Yukon. They made the money back the first year.

The dredge floats in its own pond. It creates the pond by digging in the front and putting the dirt out the back. The brown bucket line to the right, on the front, dug up gold bearing gravel and deposited it to the hopper. The hopper fed gravel into the trommel. The trommel was a revolving tube-like metal screen, constantly rotating. Varying size of holes proceeded  along the 50 ft. length.  Water was sprayed through the trommel, washing off the gravel. The gold would settle in the sluice boxes for collection. The waste gravel moved along a stacker belt. The resulting tailing piles would be deposited out the stern in a scalloped pattern.

This was horrible work! It was very loud, very cold as they worked until the water froze, with the temps of  –40F, with no heater. There were 4 workers in the dredge. Two made $4 per day and 2 made $6 per day. Those might have been good wages in the 1920’s but those wages continued into the 1950’S. There was a lot of danger in the job also, with workers losing limbs and lives. The work continued 24 hours a day, with 8 hour shifts, and they worked 235 days a year.

1959 was the last year for this dredge. When they returned in 1960, they found that there had been a flood and the dredge had fallen over. The company, which went out of business in 1966, and just abandoned the dredge.

In 1980’s Park Canada cleaned it out and righted it. It floated! They fixed it up and opened it to tourism. Up until this year, Park Canada had done the tours, but with budget cut-backs, tours have now been turned over to private contractors.

Once we completed the tour, we went about another mile up the canyon to where the Gold Rush started.

On the way, Wayne and I both spotted this dark animal on a bridge to our left. Wayne quickly backed up and turned the other way. It was a porcupine!


We continued up to the Bonanza creek gold strike. This is the spot where the Klondike Gold Rush started. The problem with the gold strike was that the gold was all found in 1896-7. The Klondike Gold Rush was in 1898.  All the claims were staked before the folks from elsewhere arrived. When people wanted to enter the Klondike, the Mounties, who were sick of picking up frozen bodies, made them bring 2,000 lbs. of supplies, each. To hike up Chilkoot Pass, you had to carry 100 lbs. at a time. So it took numerous trips, and that was before you had to build a boat to get yourself and your supplies to this point. All for nothing, as the gold was already claimed. The money was made by the first miners and the people who ‘mined the miners’.  Most of these men stayed and worked for others, never getting rich, and losing their money at the gambling tables or to the ‘ladies of financial affection”.


We left this area and went to the top of Dome Mountain. This is a mountain overlooking the river and the town.

View from top of Dome Mountain

Dawson City from top of Dome Mountain

Yukon river

We returned to the motor home, ate dinner, watched TV and went to bed early.

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