Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Yukon/Skagway - Staff trip by Bolanle

Executive First class seats on the way out- definitely worth the extra money -the service, comfort, quality etc is just great

10mins max drive into downtown Whitehorse- stayed at the High Country Executive Inn- rooms are lovely, large- as the name already gives it away- all rooms have Jacuzzi's, wireless internet connection, fitness facility and a business centre which is all complimentary.

Drove up to Carcross (world’s smallest desert)- took about an hour and a half, then another hour from there to Fraser still on the Hwy 2 to board the White Pass & Yukon train to Skagway- this train takes about an hour and a half and you'll experience views of the mountains, glaciers, historical sites, tunnels and many more which are of course very well narrated so that you can follow the map.
Arrive in Skagway and you need your passport for US immigration and $6 US- they will NOT accept Canadian dollars although it states so on literally all their magazines etc.
Skagway- small but busy, alot of restaurants and expensive souvenir shops and that’s all you've got there
Drove down to the Inn on the Lake (Whitehorse) from Skagway stopping off at the Suspension Bridge on the way down on the South Klondike Hwy which is only about a 30minute drive from Skaway- guides are there to give you some history about the place and the best place to see some bears.
Continuing through the Southern Lake circuit (Tagish Road and Jakes Corner) to the Inn on the Lake- 2hrs drive from the Suspension bridge but only 35minutes away from Whitehors. Inn on the Lake- absolutely lovely. Rooms in their main lodge are all ensuite but the cabins which can fit up to 5people (2rooms and a loft) only has one shower to share. Another cabin which sleeps up to 9 has ensuite but is one of their newer buildings. All rooms/cabins come fully equipped with access to BBQ, balcony etc. Rooms can get cold as there are no heaters in the cabin except for the log wood fire in the living room. Room rates include breakfast and pretty much all the water activities. They have 2 lovely dogs who meet you with the Owner Carson- you can take one of the dogs out for walks if wanted as it can fight off bears and people feel safer with that although they do give you pepper spray too. Dinner price is additional and there is only 1 sitting- 7pm- this place is definitely worth it

Depart on the Alaska Hwy to Haines Junction Airport (Kluane National Park)- 2hrs drive from the Inn on the Lake. Took a 45minute Glacier Flightseeing trip and although the views were great- advice you not to sit at the back- unfortunately being the smallest, I had to & I felt sick! Whilst at Haines, 20minutes away, we took the St Elias Mountain Trail- where we hoped to see bears- (no such luck I’m afraid and definitely too many mosquitoes)

From Haines, an hours journey to Uncommon Journeys in Whitehorse- Uncommon Journey are a company that offer premier guided dog sledding, canoeing and hiking adventures and just like a lot of places in Whitehorse, also offer packages to include the Northern lights. This is a lovely place and the family are great- so are the dogs!
Another 45minutes drive back to Whitehorse

Sunday- Air North flight Whitehorse to Dawson City- takes about an hour but the plane is grubby & old. We were met at the Airport by a tour group taking us on tour of the Dempster Highway- 1.5hours from Dawson City- we drove just beyond Tombstone Mountain- the drive was awesome- traveling across Northern Yukon to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories and is the only public road in Canada that crosses the Arctic Circle (I’m sure you all knew that)
Back to Dawson City - Klondike Gold Rush- stepping back into the 1890’s at the height of the Goldrush, when Dawson City was the largest city north of San Francisco and was known as the “Paris of the North”. It only has a population of about 2,000 people. The streets are still unpaved and lined with wooden boardwalks and historic buildings – most preserved and restored to their original state. I loved this place- was the highlight of the trip for a lot of us- place was so old, colourful and so historic! Diamond Tooth Gerties Casino definitely worth a visit (OH and you have to try the sourtoe drink- SORRY)
We stayed at the Aurora Inn- lovely place- you must take off your shoes before entering but they do provide slippers, rooms are spacious and offer free internet and breakfast. They do lock the doors after 11 so you have to ensure you take your keys with you!
Dawson City- we were given an historic walking tour of the Goldrush times etc- it was a fun tour and again worth going on.
Transfer back to Dawson City Airport- 15mins drive. When we arrived at Whitehorse, we were met by Tom’s Touring service for a transfer to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve- about 30mins- nothing special at this reserve I’m afraid, but if you’re into birds, then this is for you! Continued for another 30minutes to Takhini Hot Springs where there’s also a Campground and a new place being built for people to see the northern lights. Took about 40minutes to get back to Whitehorse after the tour around Takhini. Stayed at the Gold Rush Inn- although this Hotel was very central- it was basic, small and definitely had a lot of characteristics going back to the Goldrush days as the name would imply- but still- not for me!

Loved this area - sad to go home

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