Sunday, June 18
In most parts of Canada, you can only buy beer, wine and spirits at a government operated shop or a private shop dedicated to selling alcohol. The availability of those shops is highly restricted and almost all are closed on Sundays, Mondays and holidays.
Our plan for Sunday was to do a little grocery shopping and visiting a liquor shop before starting our journey up the Klondike Highway towards Dawson City.
Our first stop was at the Wal-Mart. The parking lot was full of RVs and campers. Some of them appear to have been there for a long time.
The Wal-Mart was as disappointing as the other ones we’ve been to in Canada. The shelves were half empty and the prices were much higher than expected, even considering the location. There weren’t very many customers either.
We went to the President’s Choice Grocery Superstore. It looks like everyone goes shopping on Sunday. The store was packed and the fresh produce was seriously depleted. We bought what we could.
After another couple of stops, we started the next leg of our journey. We drove north on the Klondike Highway towards Dawson City.
The Klondike Highway from Whitehorse to Dawson City is a 321 mile paved highway with very limited services along the way.
Even though the road is paved, frost heaves often appear without warning. You are driving along and suddenly the highway drops for a short section, kind of like very large reverse speed bumps. Sometimes there are cones or flagging along the side of the road, but usually the only thing you see is the tire marks from cars slamming on their brakes. And then you’re in the middle of it.
We passed this accident which was probably due to a combination of speed, frost heaves and a slight turn. Everyone seemed to be ok, the vehicle was not.
We stopped at the Watson Lake Territorial Campground to see what kind of amenities we could expect in Yukon Territorial Campgrounds. It was already quite full.
Northern Canada is subject to wildfires.
We picked up a guide to the forest fires along the Klondike Highway. The section of road from Whitehorse to Dawson is part of the Fire Belt.
It is part of the natural cycle of forest growth and rebirth, but this far north, it takes a long time to recover.
Most of the trees are dependent on periodic fires for the health of the forest. Fireweed is a treasured flower in the northern climes because it is one of the first plants to bloom after a fire.
We planned on camping at the Pelly Crossing Territorial Campground. It seemed to be at a good halfway point along the highway.
When we got there, we didn’t find a Territorial Campground. We found a mostly derelict campground. There were no signs. Most of the campsites were overgrown and even the road through it hadn’t seen much traffic. It wasn’t a place we wanted to stay for the night, so we continued driving north.
Even though we were tired, we stopped to look at the amazing view at Five Finger Rapids.
We found a promising territorial campground at Moose Creek.
It looked like a really campground. It had signs and a place to pay for camping there. We found regularly maintained vault toilets, shelters with seasoned firewood, and a water pump.
Fortunately, there were several empty campsites to choose from. We found one that worked great for us.
There were fire rings and picnic tables at each site.
The rest of our drive along the Klondike Highway was uneventful.